So Jason Dufner closes out the 2013 PGA Championship with an impressive round of golf that was not marred in the least by two closing bogeys after going 25 straight holes without one. Dufner clearly played the best golf and though the putter was wayward enough to make people nervous it was only really on putts that still found the bottom of the cup. Dufner was, er, joyous as always in celebrating his title and he proves yet again the value of major championship (contention) experience, having climbed the latter from blowing one at the 2011 PGA, contending again at the 2012 US Open, and now winning at Oak Hill.
Dufner’s only real challenger was 54-hole leader Jim Furyk who simply did not make enough things happen on the course today to have a strong chance at the end. Oak Hill was no Olympic for Furyk in that he did not feel as though he “lost”, nor should he have, but at the same time he did not go out and win it and for that reason I do fear that more disappointment will eventually creep into his psyche.
The Swedish duo of Stenson and Blixt, color-coordinated in their country’s colors, finished 3rd and 4th respectively yet despite being in the second-to-last group somehow still seemed on the periphery of things all day. Adam Scott on the other hand made overtures towards serious contention but a disappointing bogey on 13, after a huge drive over the creek (tees were moved up today), ended his chances. And a difficult (questionable) pin placement on 5 proved to be Rory McIlroy’s undoing among others but Dufner made an impressive birdie on Oak Hill’s most dangerous hole, further solidifying the legitimacy of his victory here.
As for this PGA Championship itself, I find it a puzzler in terms of how it stacked up with the other majors of this year, and years past. Oak Hill played too easy and too soft for two days, found its game on Saturday, but then fizzled a bit on Sunday especially as the excitement drained out of the back nine. It’s hard to say that it was enjoyable to watch the course itself, like it always is at Augusta and like it very much was at Merion and Muirfield. The coverage on CBS seemed to be lacking “majorness” with a lot of commercials, too many by a large amount in my opinion, and an overall presence that was more along the lines of a high-end regular tour event or WGC. Not that the key figures like Nantz and Feherty weren’t their normally splendid selves but there was just something about the whole thing this year that set it down a notch.
Except that is for when the beautiful Wanamaker, arguably golf’s greatest trophy and without question the most substantial, showed itself at the end to remind everyone what they all were really playing for this week. I’m going to reflect on some of this and see if I can’t come up with some ideas that will reflate the PGA Championship, an event I grew up loving. In the meantime though big GGOG congratulations go out to Jason Dufner for a well-earned and deserved first major championship. I wouldn’t bet that this will be his last.