Unlike Masters champ Bubba Watson, who would like to bust some moves on “America’s Got Talent,” newly crowned Byron Nelson champ Jason Dufner harbors no illusions about his off-course waggle skills.
“Yeah, dancing -- not my strongest point,” Dufner, chuckling, said while viewing a video replay of the first promenade he and his new wife shared at their May 5 wedding. “That’ll probably be the first and last time I dance in 2012. Hard to fit in dance lessons while you’re out here playing on the road trying to win tournaments.”
Inside the ropes, of course, Dufner -- who’ll go for his second win in a row at this week’s Crowne Plaza Invitational -- is renowned for bringing the waggle back to the game. Calling himself a “throwback” to the days of Nelson, Ben Hogan, and Sam Snead, the laid-back Dufner said during a Wednesday sit-down session with PGATour.com’s “Direct Connect” interviewer, John Swantek, that he had no idea when he began waving his club over the ball at set-up. Just don’t look for any hidden messages in his motion, he suggested, because there aren't any.
“It’s totally subconscious, no thought process about it, doesn’t have any meaning or swing thought before it goes,” the somewhat concise and tousled Auburn University grad said. “Maybe I picked it up from some of the ... older generation players. ...There’s no special reason for it but it’s kinda taken on a life of its own these last couple of years.”
About the electrifying last few weeks, during which Dufner grabbed his second tour win in his last three starts and wed his long-time sweetheart, Amanda Boyd, the self-styled “quiet guy” seemed in danger of lapsing into a coma.
“It’s been a pretty exciting four-week stretch,” Dufner said in his characteristic monotone, “to get my first win in New Orleans at [the Zurich Classic], then to get married, and then to come back two weeks later and win at the Byron Nelson.
“You can’t really dream up something like that,” added Dufner. “So hopefully looking forward to continuing here at the Crowne Plaza.”
Before notching his first two tour wins this season, Dufner’s previous claim to fame was losing the 2011 PGA Championship to Keegan Bradley in a four-hole playoff after holding a five-stroke edge with four to play. Bouncing back and forth between the Nationwide and PGA Tours before earning what would appear to be a permanent spot in the big leagues in 2009, the 35-year-old knows just how tough it will be to knock down back-to-back wins.
All he has to do is check with opening-round playing partners, Wells Fargo champ Rickie Fowler and Players Championship titleholder Matt Kuchar. They were the most recent golfers unable to become the first since Tiger Woods in 2009 to nab victories in consecutive weeks.
"It’s pretty difficult. It’s difficult to win one week in a row out here,” Dufner told reporters. “[There are] a lot of great players in the field this week. We are on a really nice golf course, a really tough golf course. You’ve got to do a lot of good things with your game on this golf course, shoot some low scores."
Dufner, who’s missed two cuts and shared 59th in three career starts at Colonial, will be amped (though you won’t know it from his demeanor) to take his best shot at overcoming the two-in-a-row jinx.
“For me,” Dufner said, “the best part will be on Thursday when I step up to the tee and can actually start to play some golf and see where my game is at."