No golfer has recorded a round lower than 63 in a Major, but as Jason Dufner’s ball rolled toward the 18th hole on Friday, it had a chance to be the 62nd and last stroke of Dufner’s day. The ball stopped a foot short.
Dufner’s countenance — lips together, shoulders drooped and eyes watchful but impassive — did not change as the ball dodged history.
Nor did he look impressed when he tapped it into the hole moments later to become the 24th player to shoot a round of 63 in a major. He had also taken the lead at the midpoint of the PGA Championship and had set the competitive-round course record at venerable Oak Hill Country Club.
Dufner was aware of the consequence of the moment. He was only being himself. As only he could, he later explained.
“If I had that last putt over,” he said blankly, “I would have hit it harder.”
Understatement is Dufner’s most demonstrative method of expression, something he has turned into an Internet sensation that began with Dufner slouched and inert against the wall of a children’s classroom. It has made Dufnering a popular verb, with his torpid pose imitated worldwide, and it has won him legions of fans who line the fairways as he plays, slumping against trees in tribute as he passes.
In a community of pro golfers known for their fitness regimens, beaming smiles and spotless clothes, Dufner is the shaggy-haired cousin with a paunch and a brow as wrinkled as his shirt.
It is hard to keep a crease when slouched against a wall.
Asked about his cult hero status Friday, Dufner almost smiled and said: “People have kind of latched onto my personality and how I play golf and carry myself. It’s great to have people identifying with you in whatever way they seem fit. For me, it’s neat for people to want to come to the golf course and watch me play golf.”
New York Times