Featured Golf News
Dufner in Australia
Jason Dufner is in Australia for this week's inaugural Perth International. The $2 million event, co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia and the European Tour, starts Thursday at Lake Karrinyup Country Club in western Australia.
The 35-year-old Alabama resident is no stranger to Down Under, having played in several events there over the years. "I always enjoy playing here in Australia," he said on the eve of the tournament. "I've played in Adelaide four or five times. I played the Aussie Masters in Melbourne a couple years ago. So I've always enjoyed coming over here and the opportunity presented itself to come over here and play during this time period when our tour is a little bit slower now with the FedEx Cup being over and our regular season being over.
"I'm going to play in Malaysia next week, so that's a closer journey to Malaysia than from all the way in the States, so it was just a nice fit for my schedule and a good opportunity to come over here and play and show the fans of Australia my game and play some golf over here."
Those Aussie golf fans will be treated not only to Dufner - a three-time winner on the PGA Tour and member of the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup team - but other top players as well. The field boasts 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and American Bo Van Pelt.
Dufner will be paired in the first round with Aussie Greg Chalmers - a PGA Tour regular - and Italy's Edoardo Molinari, a stalwart on the European Tour.
On Wednesday, Dufner sat down with reporters and discussed his chances this week in Perth. Here's what he had to say.
Q. How many rounds have you actually played? How many practice rounds?
JASON DUFNER: I've played the front nine yesterday and then the back nine today, and then Pro Am tomorrow. So I'll have a total of two rounds on the golf course by the end of the day tomorrow. It's very similar to a lot of the courses that I've played over here in Australia. A lot of fairway mown areas around the greens, run offs, bunkering is very similar. A little bit of room to play off the tee. I think they give you some strategy as far as finding angles and hole locations. Green complexes are pretty difficult. Got a lot of slope, a lot of different little humps and bumps on the greens, a lot of greens seem to slope from back to front. So I think the challenge this week will be kind of knowing where hole locations are and developing a strategy depending on wind conditions and where you can get in the fairway to be able to attack.
JASON DUFNER: A little bit of elevation change on the longer holes makes them play a little bit shorter could be a bit of a tricky thing as far as club selection, trying to navigate how much to play uphill or downhill. A little bit of everything on the golf course. A lot of the players will be using their full bag off the tees and into the greens, and then a little creativity around the greens definitely.
JASON DUFNER: Obviously the big names, Schwartzel is here, Paul Casey, Bo Van Pelt. A pretty strong field - on The European Tour. You have a lot of guys that can play some good golf. This is becoming a major event here in Australia and I think it's good for the Australian tour and good for The European Tour. Pretty strong field for the first year and anybody can have a great week and play well. Obviously I've identified some of the better players, thinking that they would play well.
Q. (What made you decide to play here this year)?
JASON DUFNER: I always enjoy playing here in Australia. I've played in Adelaide four or five times. I played the Aussie Masters in Melbourne a couple years ago. So I've always enjoyed coming over here and the opportunity presented itself to come over here and play during this time period when our tour is a little bit slower now with the FedEx Cup being over and our regular season being over. I'm going to play in Malaysia next week, so that's a closer journey to Malaysia than from all the way in the States, so it was just a nice fit for my schedule and a good opportunity to come over here and play and show the fans of Australia my game and play some golf over here.
Q. (Do you see yourself playing more of a global schedule)?
JASON DUFNER: Every player is a little bit different. That's one nice thing about being a professional golfer is you can pick your schedule and play where you want to play. For me I think it's important to take my game globally so to speak. This is the fourth quarter, I try to find three or four events internationally, whether they are here in Australia or maybe in Asia and come over and experience the golf and experience the cultures that you get. It's a lot different than being in the States for us.
It is a long trip. There's a little bit of strategy involved trying to get over the jet lag and be comfortable playing golf. I enjoy coming over here and just kind of broadening my golfing perspective a little bit. Just enjoy coming over here and playing as much as I can. I'd like to do it a little bit more, but it's hard to come over here for seven, eight weeks and go back. Everything doesn't quite match up. But I do enjoy trying to find, like I said, three or four events globally to put on my schedule.
Q. (Do you think playing more internationally will help improve your game)?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, I think so. I think you experience different golf courses, different styles of play, makes you better, tests your game. This golf course is a lot different than what we see in the States. Same thing when I go to Asia, a lot different than what we see in the States. I think it makes you a better golfer.
For me I would just like to take my game globally and see how I stack up against some of the other players in the world. We have a great tour in the United States but we get spoiled playing against the same guys all the time. It's nice to come over and just give the fans of golf an opportunity to see some of us play and kind of expand my golf horizon, I guess you could say, and expand my overall level of play.
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, a little bit. I know that there's tons of golf fans in Australia this week specifically that don't get an opportunity to see a lot of the greater players in the world play. You know, there's not all that many events on the schedule, and guys don't come over here very often like you said. So I think as a professional golfer, you want to try to just showcase what your talents are and get as many people to view those talents as you can, is a good thing. This is my third year of doing this, and I really can't find a drawback other than the initial travel on the trip; 35 hours is a long way away. But once you get over here, it's a lot of fun.
JASON DUFNER: I think it starts at the junior level. I think juniors are getting better knowledge of the game starting at a younger age. You're getting deeper fields. In college events, a lot of international players are playing, coming over to the States, playing college events. And the fields are just deeper. You're getting better players, better athletes playing the game of golf, and you know, the field at a PGA Tour event or a European Tour event or an Australian tour event, they are pretty deep. There's a lot of guys that can really play golf and everybody is looking for an opportunity to play and try and win and take their game to the next level. So it's very competitive and there's just a lot of guys that can really play good golf.
Q. (Do you think not having one dominant player is good for golf)?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, there was a period that Tiger was pretty dominant with his play, and then he fell off a little bit and was kind of jumping around a little bit there. Kaymer was No. 1 and then Westwood and then a couple weeks later it was Donald. It's been jumping around; a little bit of parity in golf. Rory has played some really nice golf here the last two years and he's kind of grabbed that No. 1 spot and possibly secured it and maybe for the future, his future looks pretty bright as being one of the dominant players in the world.
I think it again just speaks to what we talked about earlier; just a lot of great players in the world playing right now, and it makes golf good. It gives guys like myself a chance that I feel like I can maybe contend for that spot. So it's hard when you're playing and you see a guy, Tiger had such a great run, you almost feel defeated before you play because he's so good and he played so well for so long; but you see guys kind of grab that spot or contend for that spot, so I think it's good for golf.
Q. (You're a favorite to win this week) -
JASON DUFNER: Doesn't really mean too much until we get going. Obviously it's a nice gesture towards me that they recognized how well I've played in the last year or two years to be a favorite, but you know, there's a lot of guys that can win this tournament. We'll have to see how that shakes out.
Q. (What do you think it will take to take your game to the next level)?
JASON DUFNER: I think just have more experience in big events, play against better players and that will build confidence for me, have high finishes in majors, world golf events, travel globally and play at a high level; I think all of those things help. Starting to get into my mind that I can start winning big events that I enter. Maybe in the past I was just happy to be in those events. Like that was an accomplishment. Now I'm feeling with good finishes, wins, more experience in these events, that I can contend and maybe win and be one of the elite players in the world.
Q. (Short game key this week)?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, I think you've got to be really precise with your iron play and you might have to be pretty patient out there. There's going to be times where maybe you're a little in between yardages or not comfortable with where a hole location is, and not practice so much and play a little bit more conservative, because you can get in some bad spots around the greens where you're not going to be able to get the ball up and down or save par when you miss shots. I think short game is going to be a big key this week because you're going to miss greens, and balls are going to go 20, 30 yards away from hole locations.
I think you need to do a lot of work around the greens, have a good idea where hole locations are, kind of mapping out through your yardage book and when the hole locations come out in the morning and just having a good strategy about, you know, how you want to attack and when you want to attack and maybe learn to be a little bit more conservative in some situations.
Q. (How much has the Ryder Cup been on your mind)?
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, I often catch myself thinking about it. I think about how could I have gained another point for the team. We were pretty close to winning that. The European Team had a great day on Sunday. A lot of guys on the team were disappointed about, you know, what had happened. There's a lot of guys - this is my first Ryder Cup, but there was a lot of guys on that team that have lost a lot of Ryder Cups lately. You know, when you have that lead going into Sunday, maybe you look ahead a little bit and thinking, man, this might be the time we win, and when it doesn't happen, you know, that was really disappointing.
So I've been thinking about what could I have done better, where could I have maybe picked up another half point, how could I have helped my teammates more, my captains more. It's been a tough couple weeks since the Ryder Cup for myself, and toughest thing about it is you've got to wait two years again until you can play again. That's a long time for us.
Personally, if you have a bad event, or if you fall on your face on the last nine holes, you know that you have another event around the corner to kind of redeem yourself. But in that event, you have to wait two more years to have a chance to kind of get back and win the thing. So there's a lot of different dynamics with the Ryder Cup and kind of failing how we did as a team and losing the event. So it's been a tough couple weeks but I'm looking forward to kind of playing golf again and getting over it and moving past it a little bit.
Q. (Difference of Ryder Cup to Presidents Cup) -
JASON DUFNER: Yeah, you know, I haven't played in the Presidents Cup, so I didn't know if it's the same feeling. I've heard that it doesn't quite reach the magnitude that the Ryder Cup does. Just from what I've heard that the Ryder Cup is a little bit different as far as the intensity of the matches and how that goes. But you know, as far as changing the Ryder Cup, I don't know, I leave those decisions up to other folks.
Q. (Were you nervous) -
JASON DUFNER: Not really. I felt pretty good. The team atmosphere kind of relaxed me a little. The Sunday singles was a little bit more nerve-wracking but when you have a partner and a teammate, you tend to relax a little bit. You don't - if you aren't successful, you have a teammate to rely on a little bit. I think that we are the United States Team, looking to put a team together for the Presidents Cup, we are looking to putt parts together in the Presidents Cup to make us more successful in the Ryder Cup.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.