Jason Dufner returns this week to the HP Byron Nelson Championship in defense of his second PGA Tour title. It’s what the 36-year-old Ohio native did earlier this year off the course while promoting the Nelson tourney, though, that earned the stone-faced golfer a sure-fire spot in the social media hall of fame.
Dufner, who entered last year’s event just three weeks after chalking up his first tour win, returned to Dallas-Fort Worth for media day and unintentionally launched the “Dufnering” craze that took off on Twitter like a Tiger Woods stinger.
While Dufner has yet to make it into the top 10 in 2013 and hobbled into the clubhouse with a final-round 80 and a T62 finish at last week’s Players Championship, he should like his chances on the TPC Four Seasons Resort course where he finished in a tie for eighth in 2011. But he’ll have to stave off other hungry golfers, including Keegan Bradley, who captured his first tour victory at the Nelson in 2011 in his Rookie of the Year season.
Bradley, who will play with Dufner and fifth-ranked Matt Kuchar in the first two rounds, is coming off two consecutive missed cuts but has five top-10s this year. Bradley and Dufner famously went toe-to-toe at the 2011 PGA Championship, when the former overcame the latter in a stunning come-from-behind playoff win.
Another player who grabbed his first win at the Nelson, Jason Day, would like to leave Texas with his second tour W. Day has made 14 straight cuts and owns four top-10 finishes in 2013.
Also teeing it up this week will be Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old who in April became the youngest golfer to play in and make the cut at the Masters. Guan, who also made the cut at last month’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans, accepted a sponsor exemption to the Nelson.