By Alex Myers
We all know who won golf's major championships in 2013, but there's still a lot to be learned from sifting through the stats from the game's four marquee events. How much did distance matter? Did anyone gain an edge from accuracy off the tee? Was greens hit in regulation or how players fared when they missed greens a better indicator of success?
Thanks to our new interactive tool, you can sort through the data yourself to get a better understanding of why the leader boards turned out the way they did. For instance, everyone focused on Jason Dufner's performance from tee to green at the PGA Championship, but did you know a big part of why he took home the Wanamaker Trophy was because he led the field at Oak Hill in scrambling?
A cold putter was a big reason why Woods didn't win a major in 2013.
Did you know that only 13 players made the cut in all four majors? Did you know that Martin Kaymer was one of those players? How did Jason Day tie for the lowest score in relation to par and not collect a first major trophy?
And what about Tiger Woods? The World No. 1 has five tour wins in 2013, yet his drought in majors grew to five years. The 14-time major champion didn't excel in any of the statistical categories we tracked. And while a wayward driver got most of the attention from his critics, it was the shortest club in his bag that really let him down.
Visit our special section to do your own investigating of those who made the weekend at the majors. Who knows, the research you do now might just come in handy when you enter next year's office pool.
By Alex Myers
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we regret not taking our grandfather's advice and incorporating a waggle into our pre-shot routine. Ben Hogan did it and now a guy who hit a golf ball like Hogan for four days at the season's final major does. Sigh. Why don't I waggle? Why don't we ALL waggle?
Jason Dufner: We'll forget about those closing bogeys and focus on the ball-striking clinic Dufner put on all week at Oak Hill. How do you win your first major when everyone can practically see you shaking when you stand over your putts on Sunday? Simple. By hitting approach shots so close that even his wife could knock them in. Speaking of Amanda Dufner, between her, a Wanamaker Trophy and an appearance on the Howard Stern Show, this guy is doing pretty well for himself.
Yes, honey. That's your name on the trophy.
Henrik Stenson: How good has Stenson's last month been? Two thirds and two runner-ups, including one of each at the season's final two majors. "Hank the Tank" is here to stay.
Oak Hill: We only got glimpses of how the Rochester, N.Y. track could play in firmer conditions, but so what? A softer Oak Hill made for a lot of close approach shots and at the same time, the historic track still had extra-juicy rough that could swallow errant tee shots. Last November, Jason Dufner tweeted that Oak Hill was one of his five favorite courses. Maybe others could have benefited from similar positive thinking.
Adam Scott: The critics will say he could have won three majors this year. We say he's still the first golfer since Padraig Harrington in 2008 to finish in the top five of three majors in the same season. And with with a swing that Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee described as "maybe the greatest ever," the Aussie isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Scott entered 2013 as arguably the best golfer to have never won a major. He'll exit as arguably the game's best player.
Tiger Woods: A week after blowing away the field at Firestone, Woods looked like a different player -- that guy who dresses like the 14-time major champion but doesn't play like him in majors. Woods continued his conservative strategy in golf's big events, even with a soft Oak Hill there for the taking. He made just 10 birdies for the week and finished T-40 to match his worst performance in a major where he's made the cut. The wait until next year's Masters could be the longest eight months of his life.
Matt Kuchar: Others who had worse weeks, but the world No. 6 deserves to be singled out for how he handled a weekend in which he had a chance to win his first major. Kuchar birdied the first hole on Saturday to pull within a shot of the lead, but played his next 19 holes in 10 over to end his title chances.
People complaining about a lack of drivers: This has been a common complaint this year, especially in the majors. Well, guess what? No one is stopping ANYONE from hitting the big stick and those who do it well can still gain an edge. Look no further than Jason Dufner, who pulled driver time-after-time on Sunday. Dufner spun a wedge into the cup for an eagle on Friday and nearly did it three times during the final round. Why did he have such a short club in his hands for those approach shots? You do the math.
USGA/Fox Sports deal: Starting in 2015, the U.S. Open will feature no Johnny?! And no Yanni?! It's enough to make a grown-man cry. Geoff Shackelford called out the USGA's timing, Ron Sirak broke down the stunning deal and Tim Rosaforte reported Greg Norman might be Fox Sports' answer to Johnny Miller in the booth. OK, I'm starting to lose it again. Where did I put those tissues?
The PGA Tour heads to the Greensboro for the Wyndham Championship, aka "Glory's Last Shot," if you want a shot at the end-of-the-season money grab known as the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Only the top 125 players in points after this week will be allowed to tee it up at next week's Barclays, the first of four postseason events.
Random tournament fact: Since this event moved to Sedgfield CC in 2008, the average winning score has been 19-under par. In other words, don't expect a grindfest out there.
WEEKLY YAHOO! FANTASY LINEUP
Think no one won two majors this year? Think again. With my brilliant pick of Jason Dufner in the second round, I won our PGA Championship pool, adding to the Masters pool I won thanks to Adam Scott. I should probably quit while I'm ahead, but I'd be doing you a disservice.
Starters -- (A-List): Bill Haas: A disappointing weekend at the PGA Championship doesn't change the fact that the North Carolina native has gone T-4, win, T-9, T-7 in his last four non-major starts.
(B-List): Webb Simpson: We'll keep the Wake Forest/good guy vibes going with the 2011 champ fresh off a week in which he tied Oak Hill's course record on Friday -- at least, until Jason Dufner broke it a few hours later.
(B-List): Zach Johnson: After a rough start to the season, ZJ has been on a tear, with four straight top 10s, including two in major championships and a runner-up at the John Deere. We say he gets his first win of 2013 here.
(C-List): Hideki Matsuyama: His three major championships this year resulted in a T-10 at Merion, a T-6 at Muirfield and a T-19 at Oak Hill. Oh yeah, he's only 21.
Bench: Brandt Snedeker, Graham DeLaet, David Hearn and Roberto Castro.
VIRAL PHOTO OF THE WEEK
A no-brainer this week:
#DufSqueeze #Dufnering, #DufTown, #DufDaddy, #Dufsanity. You get the point. It's Jason Dufner's world right now.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- A struggling pro will approach Jason Dufner and ask him for a lesson in waggling: 5-to-1 odds
-- Jason Dufner won't be given a lot of short putts at the Presidents Cup: LOCK
THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
The two lovebirds are back in mid-season form (DJ looks to be back in form as well, with a T-8 at the PGA) when it comes to posting pictures. Here are two that caught our eye. Of the second one, Paulina writes: "Burger Barn w. My Baby." Hmm. We wouldn't have pegged her as the burger-eating type. . .
THIS AND THAT Sunday TV ratings for the PGA Championship were up 13 percent from last year. The lesson learned? We need more final pairings of Jason Dufner and Jim Furyk! . . . Andrew Svoboda, a PGA Tour member this year, won his first Web.com tournament. My first big golf assignment was shadowing him at the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, where he was a member. Good times. . . The PGA of America announced news that Bethpage Black will host the 2019 PGA and 2024 Ryder Cup during the U.S. Amateur, but said the timing wasn't done as a retaliation for the USGA announcing its TV deal with Fox Sports on the eve of the PGA. Sure it wasn't. . . .
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Does Jason Dufner play poker?
Does Jason Dufner have a dip sponsor?
Is it too late to learn to waggle?
From the August 12 edition of Golf World Monday:
If he were alive today, you'd have to wonder what Ben Hogan would've thought about the art of Dufnering. Out of respect to the 95th PGA champion, would the Hawk have sat with his back up against a wall, legs straight in front of him, and sent out a Twitter pic in celebration of Jason Dufner's victory yesterday at Oak Hill?
"Absolutely not," Dufner said when we sat down Sunday night. "And if he did, he wouldn't let me publicize something like that on Twitter."
Notwithstanding Duf's tousled mop of hair and the social media craze he invented, chances are Hogan would have admired Dufner for being respectful of his mystique, and most of all, for the way he can strike a golf ball. After he had broken Hogan's course record 64 on Friday, I asked Dufner about his reverence for the Hawk, and he admitted, "You feel like you're fighting him a little bit, trying to not let it happen."
Dufner told me he admired Hogan because of the adversity he went through. Hogan came back from a near-fatal car crash, Dufner from his parents' divorce, walking on at Auburn because no D1 schools were offering a scholarship and, later, losing his father to cancer when he was in his mid-20s.
And although his swing isn't a carbon copy of Hogan's, it is pretty close in the eyes of Chuck Cook, his 68-year-old instructor. "If you look at it in slow motion, it's pretty flat," Cook said. "Personally, I think it's the most efficient swing out there."
The toughest part about shooting 63 and tying the 18-hole major championship record is that there were two rounds to go. And with a shaky putter, knowing he let the 2011 PGA slip away to Keegan Bradley, the tough part lay ahead. As Dufner's wife, Amanda, told me that day, "Too bad it's not Sunday night."
Come Sunday, Dufner was Hoganesque, knocking down flagsticks, doing what Valerie Hogan once told Ben when he was struggling with his putting, "Hit it closer." Dufner did, time and time again, striking the ball about as well as you can hit it over the final 18 holes of a major championship. He followed the words of Cook, who told him Saturday night, "Go ballstrike the heck out of them tomorrow."
Never has there been a more unassuming flat-liner to win a major. Remember, this is the same unassuming Jason Dufner who stood at the podium on Friday and said, "I don't think I've been the first to do anything in my life."
Well, this was a first. No golfer from Auburn had ever won a major championship. And, of course, nobody ever shot 63 at Oak Hill before, or finished a major on the East course at double digits (-10) under par. In the 1956 U.S. Open, Hogan missed a 30-inch putt on the 71st hole to miss a playoff with Cary Middlecoff by a stroke.
"I didn't practice many four-to-six inchers to win a tournament," Dufner said. "But you know, it was the perfect ending for me."
Just like the Hawk, understated.
By John Strege
For a man who is -- choose your word -- inscrutable, stoic, laconic, comatose, Jason Dufner was fun to watch on Sunday. Equally amusing were descriptions of him and his occasionally unsteady hand on the greens.
Only Golf Digest's Dan Jenkins declined to shy from the word that came to mind. "That just won the tournament for Dufner," he wrote on Twitter, after Dufner hit it stiff at 16. "Unless he yips it."
Dufner, who won the PGA Championship, had been threatening to do so for a couple of days from distances barely longer than tap-in range. We heard jiggle, twitch and jumpy from the CBS broadcast crew, but not the word "yip."
"Little jiggle on 10," Nick Faldo said. "I tell you what, that woke us, didn't it?"
At the 14th hole, Faldo noted that "there are definitely five people who are scaring Dufner now. There's Furyk, Stenson, Blixt Scott and...Dufner. After that little twitch we saw maybe he's still scaring himself."
Dufner pulled another short putt at 17, this one for par. "Little jumpy," Ian Baker-Finch said.
"Watching @JasonDufner putt from inside 2 feet gives me the same feelin' I get right before the roller coaster goes upside down," Golf Channel's Charlie Rymer Tweeted.
"Words Duf Daddy would never hear if this were match play. 'That's good dude, pick it up,'" he wrote.
Rymer, conversely, praised Dufner's ball-striking, calling him "a ball-hittin Jesse," while attributing the phrase to Mark Lye.
Then there was this Tweet from Geoff Ogilvy: "Best ballstriking display we have seen for years. @JasonDufner incredible"
And, finally, this from Jason Gore: "@JasonDufner looks like he just got out of a speeding ticket rather than winning the PGA Championship! #congratulationsJason!!"
Dufner is known for his admiration of Hogan. Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee hinted that he may have channeled Hogan on Sunday.
"I never got to see Ben Hogan play golf," Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee said, "but I can't imagine that it would have looked too dissimilar to what we got to see today, a series of gutted drives, stuffed iron shots and clutch putts."
Last add Tiger
Golf Channel's Frank Nobilo on Tiger Woods:
"I always thought the hardest one was going to be 15. At times he's become the human pinada. He's three PGA Tour events from tying what I believes is the second greatest record in golf, 82 wins by Snead. Snead and Nicklaus never had to perform under this scrutiny and spotlight. For him before 2008, 2007, 99 percent of the people around wanted to see some magic. Now they sit on the fence. There are as many people clapping for him as there are throwing darts."
Ian Poulter: "This baba boo [bleep] & mash potato crap shouting wouldn't happen at Augusta, The Open, nor would it happen at Wimbledon. Tazer the thrushes."
Howard Stern: "it's spelled Baba Booey"
(Getty Images photo)
By Ashley MayoROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Welcome to Oak Hill Country Club, where Jason Dufner finally broke through to win his first major, and he did so by a commanding two shots. A complete PGA Championship experience involves eavesdropping on spectator chatter. Below, some of the odd exchanges we overheard in the gallery on Saturday and Sunday.
After Englishman David Lynn birdies the 13th on Saturday: "GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!"
Spectator after seeing Furyk's ball settle in the right rough on 18 on Saturday: "What'd he do, whiff? Cue the final-hole blowup."
Spectator, pointing to the manually-updated leader board on the 18th hole: "In this age of electronics, there's something about that original board that gets me jazzed." Man standing next to him: "Oh stop. It sucks."
After Furyk saves par on 18 on Saturday, woman yells: "JIMMMMMYYYYYY! JIMMMMMYYYYY!" She pauses and turns to the man standing next to her: "I got LUNGS."
As Tiger approaches his putt on the eighth hole on Sunday, man whispers: "It's amazing how this many people can be this quiet." Man standing next to him: "Stop talking."
After bottle necking occurs once Tiger walks off the eighth green: "We're trapped in the Tiger Den. I WANT OUT!"
Fan watching Tiger, who was five over through eight holes (14 shots back): "He's gonna have to do something incredible to win this thing."
As Jason Day makes his way to the 14th tee, woman declares, "Oohh. I love him!" Man asks, "You love Day?" She responds: "It's my thing. Back off."
After Rickie Fowler pulls driver on the 14th hole and launches it straight at the green, man yells, "Yeeaaaaa, Rickie! Get outta the bunker!" He pauses and watches Fowler's ball land in the greenside bunker. "Right in the bunker."
Fustrated fan yells through his phone: "Are you on the same 13 I'm on? Like, at Oak Hill?"
As Kiradech Aphibarnrat approaches the 15th green, man asks, "What's that name? Ah-fee-barn... Is it Jewish?"
After marshals finally open the ropes to let hundreds of spectators walk behind the 13th green, fans start mooo-ing because they feel like a herd of cows.
As Day and Luke Guthrie walk off the 18th green, man says, "Alright fellas, your work here is done. Go home and enjoy your millions."
We should be allowed to take 10'000 volt tazers onto the course and tazer ever muppet who shouts out something stupid. I would laugh then.-- Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) August 11, 2013