Dufner putter drop sparks furore









Remember when Jason Dufner was the quirky guy who patted his then wife’s backside during celebrations of his US PGA Championship win?

Or maybe the time when “Dufnering” was that internet “fad”?

If you’re the type of person who needs visual cues for recall, then we hope Dufner smiling isn’t your catalyst for these questions.

Sure, the American enigma saluted on the PGA Tour early last year, but that win wasn’t exactly widely celebrated.

In the interim, he’s embarked on what amounts to a media ban, shunning effectively all reporters on the golfing beat and going, it seems, a fair way to alienating what once seemed a bunch of loyal fans.

Based on social media reaction, Dufner probably took at least a couple more steps down the totem pole of universal respect at the weekend at the Heritage Classic in South Carolina.

After making eagle on the par-5 fifth hole in the third round to surge into contention, it’s safe to say he wasn’t as enamoured 24 hours later when he took a bogey six on the hole to effectively fall from contention after starting his round with a share of the lead.

The 40-year-old was clearly frustrated with the way he was putting and finished the round at -3.586 in strokes gained putting as opposed to the 2.654 he gained in the third round and 2.169 gained in the second round. He went on to make two more bogeys and a double-bogey, shoot a five-over 76 and finish tied for 11th.

But none of that offended the average golf fan quite as much as his reaction after tapping in for bogey.

Dufner simply dropped his putter and walked off, leaving his caddie to pick it up as he replaced the flag seconds later.

Sure, it’s hardly a hanging offence and there were those who defended their tainted idol.

But there was a deluge of fierce responses ranging from many in the unprintable bracket right through to the more sedate – but still pointed – #classless, #disgusting and #arrogant.

Perhaps the biggest spray came from morningread.com columnist and Golf Channel reporter Alex Miceli, for whom Dufner’s act seemed the final straw.

“(Dufner) walks the fairways every week as if someone were drawing blood from his veins, lifeless and without purpose,” Miceli wrote.

“That’s his prerogative, but most players understand that professional golf is entertainment, so they do what they can to provide fans with excitement and enjoyment.

“Twitter respondents called Dufner’s behaviour disgusting. I’d go further and say it’s despicable.

“Golf is a game of honour and integrity. Dufner’s actions were the opposite of those characteristics.

“In the end, Dufner staggered to a 5-over 76 and a tie for 11th, with earnings of $114,045. That’s the amount that (PGA Tour) Commissioner Jay Monahan should fine the dolt for his actions.”

Make up your own mind about Dufner’s actions, but perhaps spare a thought for the poor putter of Woody Austin, who, at the same venue 20 years earlier, lost the plot and actually bent his blade’s shaft over his head.

WATCH AUSTIN'S BRAIN FADE

Is it funny or bad form? Or maybe a weird golfing mix of both?

Ahhhh, putting. The comical gift that keeps on giving for us all.

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