There are six major champions on the USA team at the 2013 Presidents Cup, and the latest, Jason Dufner, may be the most reliable ball striker of the bunch. It's a huge advantage in these team competitions, where the pressure is on to keep yourself in the yard and give your partner a chance.
Dufner is back again after making his team competition debut last fall at the Ryder Cup at Medinah, a recent PGA Championship added to a list of accomplishments that's rapidly expanded over the past two seasons. There aren't too many guys who don't want to play with Dufner, as he's one of the easygoing, avuncular members on a team of mixed personalities. It sounds like the Duf, however, will be paired with his partner from the Ryder Cup, fellow ball-striking ace Zach Johnson. The two have a lower profile than some of the other members on the team, but given their form and consistency, it's almost an unbeatable pair.
While Dufner is technically a Presidents Cup rookie, it's really in name only given his experience at the Ryder Cup -- a luxury of reps the Internationals do not have. Dufner's steady tee-to-green game is sometimes thrown off by shaky putting, an issue he has mitigated a bit recently. He avoided the nervy putts at the PGA mostly by sticking approach shots so close that only tap-ins were needed. Putting is the difference in match play, particularly from those moderate distances that lead to par saves and hole halves to dampen the spirits of the opponent.
The first half of the season for Dufner was a bit spotty, but his record since early August is impressive. He's another example of the depth Fred Couples has to work with that simply doesn't exist on the other side. Dufner will probably play all five sessions, and a majority of them with Zach. Those two were some of the standouts last year at Medinah, and it's hard to imagine them not putting more points on the board for the USA this year.
World Ranking: 10
Qualified: Automatic spot No. 5 of 10
Presidents Cup Match Play Record: This is his debut