Stats & Info: Jason Dufner

Top things to know: The Presidents Cup

October, 2, 2013
10/02/13
2:41
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Stan Badz/PGA/Getty ImagesThe U.S. has won 7 of the first 9 President Cups, including all 5 at home.
The Presidents Cup tees off starting tomorrow from the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.

We take a look at some of the top storylines.

1. The United States has dominated The Presidents Cup over the years, winning outright seven of the nine times it’s been contested. The U.S. is a perfect 5-0 when the event has been held on American soil.

We might know who will win this event by the end of the first day. In the history of The Presidents Cup, the team with the Day 1 lead has won seven of the nine times.

Three times the U.S. has gotten out to a five-point lead, and twice the International squad has been shut out after the first day of competition.

2. Muirfield Village Golf Club hosts this event for the first time. It’s the same course that hosts the Memorial Tournament each year, where Tiger Woods has won five times (in 14 career starts).

In fact, 23 of the 24 players on these teams have played the course in tournament competition, with Hideki Matsuyama being the lone exception.

3. Tiger Woods enters this year’s event tied with Jim Furyk for the most match wins (20) in U.S. team history. He has also provided the winning point in each of the last two Presidents Cups.

Tiger has been fairly dominant in singles play at this event, winning five of his seven career singles matches.

He’s also been strong in foursome matches (alternate-shot), especially compared to the Ryder Cup, where that has been his worst format.

Tiger has come away with 75 percent of the possible points in his 14 foursome matches in The Presidents Cup, while he’s collected less than half that rate in the Ryder Cup.

4. Twenty-year-old Jordan Spieth, who was still an amateur at the University of Texas last fall, will make his Presidents Cup debut, the youngest player ever to compete for the United States. He’s one of four first-timers on the U.S. team, joining Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker.

5. American captain Fred Couples will try to win a third Presidents Cup, which would set a record for a captain for either team in this event’s history.

Under Couples’ leadership, the United States has outscored the International team by nine points over the last two events.

Dufner rallies for first major win

August, 11, 2013
8/11/13
8:33
PM ET

US PresswireJason Dufner won his first career major at the 2013 PGA Championship on Sunday.
Jason Dufner shot a 68 in the final round of the PGA championship to win his first career major and third PGA TOUR title overall.

A newcomer on top of the leaderboard is no surprise here at the PGA.

Dufner is the fourth player in last five years to win first career major at the PGA Championship, joining Y.E. Yang (2009), Martin Kaymer (2010) and Keegan Bradley (2011).

Dufner also becomes the 15th different first-time major winner in the last 19 contested and the 19th different winner in the last 21 majors overall. Over the previous 20 majors, there were just 12 different winners.

Dufner trailed by a stroke after 54 holes but that proved to be no obstacle for the 36-year-old, continuing a recent trend of comebacks in majors. All four major winners this year and 15 of the last 19 were trailing entering the final round.

Jim Furyk faded in the final round, shooting a 1-over 71 to finish second. Furyk still has only one major title (2003 U.S. Open), to go along with his three runner-up finishes.

Tiger Woods was not a factor on the weekend and ultimately finished tied for 40th with a plus-4. That matches his worst finish in a major as a professional, excluding events where he missed the cut or withdrew. He also finished tied for 40th at the 2012 Masters.

Woods is now a combined plus-16 in eight PGA Championship rounds at Oak Hill, and has never broken par in any of those rounds.

He is winless in last 18 majors and remains stuck on 14 major wins, which is four behind Jack Nicklaus.

Woods wasn’t the only highly-ranked golfer to struggle at the PGA this weekend. Phil Mickelson, fresh off his Open Championship title, shot a 12-over for the tournament and failed to make par or better in any round. He finished tied for 72nd among the 75 players that made the cut.

Did you know?
Dufner is the sixth golfer to shoot 63 in a round in a major and win. The others are Johnny Miller, Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Raymond Floyd, and Tiger Woods.

Top Stats to Know: Open Championship

July, 17, 2013
7/17/13
1:37
PM ET
Ross Kinnaird/Getty ImagesDefending champion Ernie Els is looking to do something that hasn't been done in over 100 years.
The Open Championship tees off at Muirfield early Thursday morning, with coverage starting at 4 a.m. Eastern on ESPN. To get you ready, we take you through 18 things you need to know.

•  Muirfield is hosting the Open Championship for the 16th time. Among venues currently in the Open Championship rotation, only St. Andrews has hosted more often.

•  Eight of the last 13 leaders after 54 holes have gone on to win the Open Championship. And 11 of the 13 champions were in the Top-3 entering Sunday.

•  The last 19 majors contested have produced 18 different winners. Rory McIlroy (2011 U.S. Open, 2012 PGA Championship) is the only player to win multiple major titles during this span.

•  Twenty major championships have come and gone since Tiger Woods last victory. That’s twice as long as the next longest drought since Woods played his first full season as a professional in 1997.

•  Tiger missed four of those majors and has only two Top-3 finishes in his last 16 majors. Over his first 46 majors, he had 14 victories and 22 Top-2 finishes.

•  Woods has struggled recently on Saturday and Sunday in the majors. In his last six majors, he is 6-under in the first two rounds and 21-over in rounds three and four. He has not shot a subpar round on the weekend at the Open Championship since 2007.

•  Muirfield is the site of the worst round of Tiger’s major career as a professional. He shot an 81 in the third round in 2002, four shots worse than any other round he’s played at a major as a pro.

•  Ernie Els returns to defend his Open Championship at Muirfield, where he won the last time the Open was contested here. He’s the first player since Greg Norman at Turnberry in 1994 to attempt a title defense while also being the last winner at a particular venue.

•  The only time a golfer successfully defended an Open Championship while also being the last winner at the current course? James Braid at Muirfield in 1906.

•  Rory McIlroy has a history of starting fast at the Open Championship. In five appearances, he has averaged a 67.6 in the first round but slumped to a 72.9 average over the last three rounds.

•  Phil Mickelson hasn’t had much success across the pond – he has only two Top-10 finishes in 19 career Open Championships, and last year was the fourth time he missed the cut.

•  Matt Kuchar is another golfer who isn’t a fan of the Open Championship. He has missed the cut in six of eight appearances, but finished tied for ninth last year.

•  Lee Westwood has never won a major, but has finished in the Top-3 seven times since 2008. Those seven Top-3 finishes without a major title are the most since 1934.

•  Dustin Johnson is the only player under par at the Open Championship in the last two years combined.

•  Johnson is also the only player to finish in the Top 15 each of the last three years.

•  Sergio Garcia has 18 Top-10 finishes in majors, with seven of those coming at the Open Championship.

•  Louis Oosthuizen is one of four South African players to win the Open Championship; the other three have all won multiple times.

•  Only four players have made the cut in each of the last six majors -– Jason Dufner, Adam Scott, Steve Stricker (who is not at Muirfield) and Tiger Woods.
Stats & Info insights into this morning's top sports stories

Fred Couples
Couples
1. OLD AND YOUNG ATOP THE LEADERBOARD: Fred Couples and Jason Dufner enter the weekend as co-leaders at the 2012 Masters Tournament. At 52 years old, Couples is the oldest player to ever hold the 36-hole lead at the Masters. Dufner, who has yet to win on the PGA TOUR in 161 career starts, has held a share of the lead in three of the last five rounds at the majors.

2. WOODS STRUGGLES AT MASTERS: Tiger Woods carded a 3-over 75, his worst second-round score at the Masters. It also tied his second-worst score as a pro at the Masters. Woods failed to birdie a par five Friday, his third round at the Masters in which he failed to birdie a par five (fourth Round in 2008, first Round in 2003). Woods has never won a major when outside the top-five through 36 holes.

3. WEAVER MAKES UP FOR PUJOLS' DONUT: In his much-anticipated Los Angeles Angels debut, Albert Pujols went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. He was the lone Angels starter without a hit. But the Angels still won on the strength of Jered Weaver and his eight-inning, 10-strikeout performance. FROM ELIAS: Weaver is only the third pitcher since 1900 to throw at least eight scoreless innings with 10 or more strikeouts and no walks on opening day (Bob Gibson, 1967 (9 IP, 0 R, 13 K) and Chris Short, 1968 (9 IP, 0 R, 10 K).

4. BATTLE FOR BEST RECORD GETS EVEN TIGHTER: The San Antonio Spurs extended their win streak to 10 with a 128-103 win against the New Orleans Hornets. It’s their second win streak of at least 10 games this season (won 11 straight previously), and the second consecutive season in which San Antonio tallied multiple double-digit win streaks. In Indiana, the Oklahoma City Thunder fell to the Indiana Pacers, creating co-leaders atop the Western Conference for the first time since January 6 (Thunder were tied with the Denver Nuggets).

5. A TON AT STAKE ON FINAL DAY OF NHL REGULAR SEASON: Saturday marks the final day in the NHL’s regular season. All 16 playoff spots are accounted for, with seeding still to be determined. The wildest race is in the Pacific Division, where the Phoenix Coyotes lead the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks by a point. Phoenix has never won a division title since joining the NHL as the 'original' Winnipeg Jets in 1979. The Presidents’ Trophy is also up for grabs, with the New York Rangers owning the tiebreaker over the Vancouver Canucks should the teams finish the regular season tied in points. And Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning (59 goals) will try to become the 39th player in NHL history to score 60 goals in a season.
AP Photo/David J. PhillipFred Couples, who has the best career average at the Masters among golfers with at least 100 rounds, is in position to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his 1992 title with another green jacket.
The leader board firmed up early in the second round at Augusta, as the seven players who finished at 4-under par or better through 36 holes started in the first 15 groups. The result was a Masters record-tying seven golfers within one shot of the lead after two rounds.

This is the seventh time in Masters history that five or more golfers are within one shot of the lead through 36 holes. In the six previous instances, the eventual winner came from that group.

Sixty-three players made the cut this year, tied for the second-most at the Masters, trailing 1966 by a single golfer. The other time that exactly 63 players made the cut was 1992 – current co-leader Fred Couples won that year.

Looking at the Co-leaders
Couples and Jason Dufner are tied atop the leader board at 5-under par.

Couples, 52, is looking to become the oldest winner of a major championship. Julius Boros was 48 years old when he won the PGA Championship in 1968. The oldest Masters winner was Jack Nicklaus, who donned the green jacket at 46 after winning in 1986.

Couples entered this year's Masters with the best career scoring average among players with at least 100 rounds. He has had success recently as well. Since 2010, only Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood have a better scoring average at the Masters than Couples among players to play all three years.

Dufner has never won on the PGA TOUR, but has finished in the top-five in two of his last four starts in a major. He lost in a playoff to Keegan Bradley at last year’s PGA Championship.

Three players have won the Masters as their first career PGA TOUR victory, including Charl Schwartzel last year.

The chasers
The quantity atop the leader board is also high quality.

Rory McIlroy, who won last year’s U.S. Open, is one shot back. Since the 2010 Masters, he has finished 12 rounds in the top-five at majors and eight as either the leader or co-leader.

Also at 4-under are perpetual bridesmaids Westwood and Sergio Garcia. The two have combined for 29 top-10 finishes in majors without a victory. Westwood has finished second twice at Augusta, and Garcia has finished as runner-up in three majors.

Multiple major winners Vijay Singh and Mickelson lurk three shots behind the leaders; past Open Championship winners Louis Oosthuizen and Paul Lawrie are in the top-10.

Tiger drops off pace
Tiger Woods shot a 75 on Friday, his worst second-round score at the Masters and tied for his second-worst score as a pro at Augusta. Woods failed to birdie a par-5 on Friday, just the third time he has failed to do so during the Masters.

Tiger has never won a major when outside the top-five or with a score worse than 2-under through 36 holes.

Looking ahead to Saturday
The only Masters champion in the last 25 years who was not inside the top-10 after 36 holes was Schwartzel last year.

The largest comeback at the Masters after the second round is eight strokes, by Jack Burke in 1956.

Only one 36-hole leader has won the Masters in the last six years. Trevor Immelman shot a third-round 69 in 2008 on his way to victory.

Westwood a major threat ... as usual

April, 6, 2012
4/06/12
10:51
AM ET

Tim Dominick/The State/MCT via Getty Images
Since the beginning of 2009, 49 rounds have been held in major championships, Lee Westwood has been in the top-10 following 21 of them during that span, the most among all golfers.
Lee Westwood shot an opening-round 67 of the Masters Tournament and stood alone at the top of the leaderboard at 5-under-par. Westwood has never won a major, but this was the third time he opened a major with a 67 (all coming in the Masters), and the previous two times he finished in second place.

Since the beginning of 2009, there have been 49 rounds in major championships. Westwood has been in the top 10 following 21 of them - 41.7 percent.

History tells us leading, or at least sharing the lead, after the first round of the Masters does not bode well. Just one player in the previous 27 years has won the Masters after holding at least a share of the first-round lead. That was Trevor Immelman, who was tied with Justin Rose after the first round in 2008. The last player to win the Masters after holding the outright first-round lead was Ben Crenshaw in 1984.

Player Notes
Tiger Woods shot an even-par 72 and was tied for 29th after the opening round. That might sound like he’s out of contention, but the last time he was this far back after the opening round was 2005 when he was tied for 33rd. That year he went on to win the Masters, his last win there. Looking ahead to Friday, he’ll hope to repeat that 2005 success. He shot a 66 in the second round en route to his win.

After a double bogey on 1, Rory McIlroy had played 10 consecutive holes at the Masters in 9-over par. However, McIlroy birdied 17 and 18 – one of two players to accomplish that Thursday (Louis Oosthuizen) – and finished at 1-under. McIlroy hit just 6 of 14 fairways and 12 of 18 greens.

Phil Mickelson triple-bogeyed the 10th hole, but rallied to birdie three of the final six holes. Mickelson’s putter saved him (a first-round low 25 putts), as he hit only eight of 18 greens and nine of 14 fairways. The triple bogey was the second of his Masters career (in his 75th round). His other triple bogey was on the first hole in the fourth round of the 2007 Masters.

Other Notables
Adam Scott's 75 snapped a streak of six straight round of par or better at the Masters.

Padraig Harrington's 71 was his first sub-par round at the Masters since the first round in 2009.

After an opening-round 71, Steve Stricker has six straight rounds of par or better at the Masters.

Francesco Molinari's 69 was his best career round at the Masters.

Course Info
• Hole No. 1 played the toughest Thursday (4.379). Only three players made birdie (Hideki Matsuyama, Jason Dufner, Peter Hanson).
• Predictably, the 11th hole was second toughest (4.368), yielding only three birdies as well (Ben Crane, Vijay Singh, Hanson).
• No. 16 rated the third toughest (3.168). The only birdies there coming from Sang-Moon Bae, Francesco Molinari and Chez Reavie.
• There were eight eagles, with half coming from two players – Henrik Stenson and Paul Lawrie.

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