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Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Waggler Is at It Again!

Yes, for the 4th time in 16 starts Jason Dufner (aka the Waggler) is at the top of the leaderboard again. Yet another 36-hole lead.

Yet another tough weekend ahead.

I can't tell you just how much I admire Jason Dufner. There are players who would have been totally disheartened by this point. He's come so close to winning -- even in the majors! And yet Dufner just cruises along and plays himself right back into position in his next event. According to Helen Ross's article at PGATOUR.com, he's even browsed through a sports psychology book someone sent him, just to make sure he's not overlooking something.

But I don't think he is. He understands that he's getting his leads in the events with the strongest fields. He knows that the courses toughen up over the weekend, which is when he's been having his problems. And he seems to have decided that he's just pushing a bit harder than he should, that he's right on the cusp of breaking through if he just lets his clubs do the talking.

He reiterated those things in his after-round press conference. His mind sounds pretty clear to me.

But this could be the weekend that he finally breaks through. He's played well at New Orleans in the past, and he says he feels good on the course. In response to a question about how this lead compares to leading the Masters, he told the interviewers:
"Just this event probably makes it a little bit easier.  Obviously in a Major and the Masters playing with Freddie Couples that could be a pretty high pressure situation. This week is always good for myself and my fiancee, we love coming here, we love the food here, we love staying downtown and we always love playing -- I always love playing this golf course. So maybe that will equal some better success on the weekend."
Of course, the pressure will be back on this weekend. Ernie Els seems to have finally hit his stride and is charging up the leaderboard. Steve Stricker is also back on the attack, and those two aren't even his closest competitors.

Still, I can't help but feel that the Waggler will finally achieve arch-villain status this weekend and successfully steal his first trophy. If you keep dynamiting the door, the safe is bound to open.

I just hope that, if he does win, he doesn't decide to wear a leotard like Ben Crane. Some aspects of super-villainy are best left alone.

The photo came from this page at supersport.com.

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