We’ve all witnessed that blank, subdued expression on his face by now. Jason Dufner shot a record tying 63 to win the 2013 US PGA Championship, and he barely broke a smile. He even started a craze known as “Dufnering” because of his blank, seemingly bored gaze. His calm demeanor might be misinterpreted as a lack of enthusiasm for winning, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
I have walked a ton of practice rounds with Dufner over the years and have personally experienced his style of play. He is unflappable. He maintains that stoic demeanor regardless if he is trailing the leader by 10 shots, or if he has just won a major.
I believe there are four important lessons that we can learn from a guy who seemingly has no pulse:
This is the cornerstone of what makes Dufner’s unique style so effective. Dufner does not overreact. In fact, he barely reacts. Whether it is something good or bad, he takes it in stride. This calmness allows him to focus on the next step, plan for how to overcome an obstacle, and prevents him from getting caught up in the moment, be it good or bad moments.
I have known Dufner for many years, and he has never changed. He is the same guy I knew long before he ever won, and is still the same guy today. It was great catching up with him at the Bridgestone Invitational because he is still the same person, unchanged by his success.
I think we misunderstand Dufner’s dead-pan demeanor. When Dufner wins, he doesn’t go nuts and celebrate loudly. I believe the reason that his celebrations are so tame, is because he expects success. Dufner’s confidence in himself and his abilities has helped tee him up for success.
Practice Pressure Situations
When I walked practice rounds with Dufner and Ryuji Imada, they would put pressure on each either at every hole. What I learned from watching them they play, was that they would ensure these Monday practice rounds were full of pressure and nerve-filled putts. These pressure filled situations made it easier for them to handle the pressure of playing on a Sunday in a PGA Tournament. I challenge you to take these four lessons from Dufner and incorporate them into your world. He may not be the most animated golfer, but his unconventional style has garnered him internal peace and success.
Molly Fletcher helps inspire and equip game changers to dream, live and grow fearlessly. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working with elite athletes and coaches as a sports agent, and applies them to the business world. Sign up here to receive our monthly newsletter.