Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Jason Dufner kisses the Wanamaker trophy after winning the 2013 PGA Championship (Mathieu Belanger/Reuters)

Jason Dufner kisses the Wanamaker trophy after winning the 2013 PGA Championship

(Mathieu Belanger/Reuters)

Jason Dufner wins his first PGA Championship title Add to ...

PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Jason Dufner finally cracked a smile, and gave a slight pump of the fist, saving all that emotion for a big occasion.

He won the PGA Championship.

Dufner played the kind of golf that wins majors Sunday with a steady diet of fairways and greens that made it too tough for Jim Furyk or anyone else to catch him. Making bogeys on the last two holes at Oak Hill, Dufner closed with a 2-under 68 to capture his first major and atone for a meltdown two years ago in Atlanta.

"It's been a tough day. It was a long day. Tough golf course," Dufner said. "It probably hasn't hit me yet. I can't believe this is happening to me. ... I just decided that I was going to be confident and really put my best foot forward and play aggressive and try to win this thing. I wasn't going to just kind of play scared or soft.

"I'm happy to get the job done. It's a big step in my career."

Dufner wasn't sure he would get another chance after the 2011 PGA Championship, when he blew a four-shot lead with four holes to play and lost in a playoff to Keegan Bradley. He wasn't about to let this one get away. Dufner won by playing a brand of golf that matches the expression on his face. It wasn't exciting, and it didn't need to be.

The turning point at Oak Hill was the final two holes - on the front nine. Dufner made a short birdie on the eighth hole to take a one-shot lead, and Furyk made bogey on the ninth hole to fall two shots behind. Furyk, a 54-hole leader for the second time in as many years in a major, couldn't make up any ground with a procession of pars along the back nine. He finally made a 12-foot birdie putt on the 16th, but only after Dufner spun back a wedge to 18 inches for a sure birdie.

Furyk also made bogey on the last two holes, taking two chips to reach the 17th green and coming up short into mangled rough short of the 18th green, where all he could do was hack it onto the green. Furyk closed with a 71 to finish three shots behind.

Dufner finished at 10-under 270, four shots better than the lowest score at Oak Hill in five previous majors. Jack Nicklaus won the 1980 PGA Championship at 274.

Henrik Stenson, trying to become the first Swede to win a men's major title, pulled within two shots on the 13th hole and was poised to make a run until his tee shot settled on a divot hole in the 14th fairway. He chunked that flip wedge into a bunker and made bogey and closed with a 70 to finish alone in third. In his last three tournaments - two majors and a World Golf Championship - Stenson has two runner-ups and a third.

David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., finished the tournament in a tie for 47th place after a round of 72.

Jonas Blixt, another Swede, also had a 70 and finished fourth. Masters champion Adam Scott never made a serious of move and shot 70 to tie for fifth. Defending champion Rory McIlroy made triple bogey on the fifth hole to lose hope, those he still closed with a 70 and tied for eighth, his first top 10 in a major this year.

Dufner two-putted for bogey on the 18th from about 10 feet and shook hands with Furyk as if he had just completed a business deal. He hugged his wife, Amanda, and gave her love tap on the tush with the cameras rolling.

Asked if he had ever been nervous, she replied, "If he has been, he's never told me."

Among the first to greet Dufner was Bradley, who beat him in the PGA playoff at Atlanta and was behind the "Dufnering" craze from earlier this year. Dufner went to an elementary school in Dallas as part of a charity day for the Byron Nelson Classic. A photo was taken of Dufner slumped against the wall in the classroom next to the children, his eyes glazed over, as the teacher taught them about relaxation and concentration techniques.

The pose was mimicked all over the country, giving Dufner some celebrity. Now he's known for something far more important � major champion.

Dufner became the sixth player to win a major with a round of 63, joining Tiger Woods, Greg Norman, Raymond Floyd, Nicklaus and Johnny Miller.

He is the third first-time major champion of the year, and the 15th champion in the last 19 majors who had never won the big one. Woods is responsible for the latest trend, mainly because he's not winning them at the rate he once was.

Woods extended his drought to 18 majors without winning, and this time he wasn't even in the hunt. For the second straight round, Woods finished before the leaders even teed off. He closed with a 70 to tie for 40th, 14 shots out of the lead.

"I didn't give myself many looks and certainly didn't hit the ball good enough to be in it," Woods said.

WINNER'S BAG

Driver: Titleist 910D2 (Mitsubishi Diamana Ahina 60 X shaft), 9.5 degrees

3-wood: Titleist 913F (Aldila VS Proto 70 X shaft), 13.5 degrees

5-wood: Titleist 913Fd (Mitsubishi Diamana ilima 80 X shaft), 18 degrees

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (True Temper Project X PXi 6.5 shaft), 19 degrees

Irons (4-PW): Titleist 714 AP2 prototype (True Temper Project X PXi 6.5 shafts)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM4 (54 degrees; True Temper Dynamic Golf Spinner shaft), Titleist Vokey Design TVD K-grind (60 degrees; True Temper Dynamic Golf Spinner shaft)

Putter: Scotty Cameron by Titleist prototype putter

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

---

ACE IN THE HOLE: South African Tim Clark recorded the first ace at this week’s PGA Championship when he holed out with a hybrid three-wood at the 220-yard, par-three 11th in Sunday’s final round.

Clark watched in amazement, then smiled from ear to ear after his ball landed on the green and bounced three times before disappearing into the cup.

The 37-year-old, whose only PGA Tour victory came at the 2010 Players Championship, shared high-fives with both caddies in his pairing and also with playing partner Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain as he walked off the tee.

Clark’s ace was the first at the PGA Championship since Tom Lehman turned the trick on the 17th hole during the third round of the 2010 championship at Whistling Straits.

---

GOOD VIBRATIONS: Rory McIlroy is happy with his golf game after the PGA Championship, and one unfortunate shot won't change that.

The defending champion tied for eighth, seven strokes behind winner Jason Dufner, by far his best showing at a major this year.

In a season without any titles, he gave himself an outside shot at victory with two late birdies Saturday. And as McIlroy stood on the fourth green Sunday, that chance didn't look so crazy. He had a 4-foot birdie putt that would have moved him to 5 under, but missed it.

Hope wasn't lost as he hit his drive on the par-4 fifth hole into the fairway. All it took was one swing of the club for that to change.

McIlroy's second shot hit the green, but it trickled back down the slope and onto the rocks. In a hazard, McIlroy had to take a penalty drop, and things didn't get any better from there.

His fourth shot from 80 yards sailed over the green. His chip reached only the collar. His putt from 20 feet just missed, and when McIlroy tapped in, he had a triple-bogey 7 and had tumbled back to 1 under.

McIlroy briefly returned to 4 under with birdies on the ninth, 10th and 13th before bogeying No. 16. He had made a 15-foot birdie on the third hole to first get to 4 under.

McIlroy finished with a 70 to close the tournament at 3 under.

Considering McIlroy was in danger of missing the cut midway through the second round, the PGA could go down as the moment that he rediscovered his game and his optimism. The FedEx Cup playoffs will offer a chance to prove this week was a turnaround, not a fluke.

---

KOEPKA'S NEW NEIGHBOURHOOD: Brooks Koepka lives down the road from Tiger Woods, though the two don't usually run into each other on the course.

The 23-year-old American chose Europe's Challenge Tour as his route to golf's top levels. He earned promotion to the European Tour in June.

With a special exemption from the PGA of America, he teed off in this week's PGA Championship and made the cut at a major for the first time in three tries. Grabbing a bite to eat after his third round Saturday, he saw on TV that Tiger Woods was at 4 over, the same score as Koepka. He hoped it stayed that way so the two could play together in the final round.

Sure enough, Koepka got to meet Woods for the first time on the putting green Sunday before they played 18 holes together. Koepka shot a 7-over 77, while Woods had a 70.

"I think everyone my age admired him growing up," said Koepka, who went to Florida State. "He's the reason I'm playing. It was a bunch of fun to play with him. Nice guy. Hell of a player."

New to the experience of the large crowds hovering off every shot of Woods' group, Koepka bogeyed three of his first four holes then made a triple bogey on No. 5.

"It's hard that first tee," he said. "That was pretty neat. Just hearing everybody, it was unbelievable the people shouting his name. Obviously, I have seen it growing up and things like that, but when you are actually out there it was definitely a little different."

Koepka made the turn at 8 over for the day, but he settled down on the back nine with two birdies and just one bogey.

"Obviously I didn't play the way I wanted to, got off to a little bit of a shaky start," he said. "A little bit of adrenaline going."

Koepka lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and is considering joining Woods' home club, The Medalist, a topic they chatted about on the course Sunday. Koepka had seen the world's top-ranked golfer at the club a couple of times in the past, but "obviously he had no clue who I am."

Now he knows.

"Really talented. Good kid," Woods said.

"It's good to see," he added about Koepka's ascension to the European Tour. "Good, old-fashioned work pays off, and he should be proud of it."

---

MICKELSON WRAPS UP: Three weeks ago, Phil Mickelson was introduced as the "champion golfer of the year" after winning the British Open. On Sunday, he finished the PGA Championship with little fanfare after rallying for a 72 to finish at the bottom of the pack.

"I didn't play very well the last two weeks. I'm not going to worry about it," Mickelson said.

Mickelson was thrilling as always. During a six-hole stretch on the front nine, he had one par, one bogey, one double bogey, one triple bogey and two birdies. He played the back nine with two birdies and no bogeys.

Lefty was headed home to San Diego to tinker with his short game, otherwise take five days off and then start hitting balls to get ready for the FedEx Cup playoffs. They start at Liberty National and TPC Boston, and Mickelson said he would have a driver in the bag for both tournaments. He had been using only a strong 3-wood.

 

In the know

Most popular videos »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most popular