Jason Dufner doesn't like to practice putts
May, 23, 2012
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
FORT WORTH, Texas -- At least Jason Dufner was honest.
The HP Byron Nelson Championship winner, who has earned victories in two of the past three events and managed to get married in that span too, was pleased that he was able to make some putts when it counted most last weekend. Putting is the worst part of Dufner's game. He knows it. He also knows he just doesn't like it.
"I think a lot of the issues with my putting probably stem more from my attitude towards putting, to be honest with you," said Dufner, speaking to the media Tuesday prior to the 2012 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. "I'm not crazy about being on a putting green. I don't like practicing it. I don't like it in tournaments. But it's definitely a necessity out there. That's probably 50 percent of my problem with it.
"There's some mechanical issues that I could always get better. But I just need to assess and think about my mental state and my attitude towards putting, and I think that would probably go a long ways into helping me putt a little bit better."
Darren Carroll/Getty ImagesByron Nelson champion Jason Dufner admits that he doesn't like to work on his putting and his game suffers because of it.
Dufner is 122nd in the strokes-gained putting statistic, one that he says is not misleading.
"That stroke-gain statistic is about as accurate as you can get," Dufner said. "Last week to win that tournament and be where I was in the putting kind of showed me that I can still be very competitive even with the weakness out here. I need to find better ways to make that a bit less of a weakness or maybe even turn it into a strength."
Dufner said he spent part of the offseason using a belly putter and came to the realization that it wasn't any better for him than his normal putter. He did what he called a "case study" using the belly putter and his putter. He said he hit something close to 1,000 putts with each putter.
"I didn't see any statistical evidence that proved I putted better with it," Dufner said. "So why use it?"
It clearly hasn't kept Dufner from finally breaking through on the PGA Tour, winning twice in the past three weeks. He leads the Tour in average score through the first 36 holes of tournaments this season. Most of that is his ball striking. Dufner is tied for 62nd in driving distance, but sixth in driving accuracy. He's 13th in greens in regulation.
The accuracy and GIR stats are particularly key at Colonial, with tight, tree-lined fairways and some tricky hole positions. But the course does have some bigger greens, meaning putting could decide it. Perhaps that's why, despite liking the course, Dufner hasn't performed well here.
"I've never quite put it together for the week," Dufner said. "So maybe a little bit more experience on the golf course, and just build off of last week. Maybe that will get me going through this week."
Dufner took his wife to dinner at Del Frisco's, a popular steakhouse in downtown Fort Worth, to celebrate his Nelson title. He's hoping he can find a way to win two straight tournaments, something he knows isn't easy.
"It's difficult to win one week in a row out here," Dufner said. "There are a lot of great players in the field this week. We are on a really nice golf course, a really tough golf course. You've got to do a lot of good things with your game on this golf course to shoot some low scores."
Dufner's been doing a lot of good things on the course lately. He'll see if he can keep the momentum going.