Jason Dufner had no idea, when he slouched against the wall during a recent promotional appearance at a youth center for the PGA Tour’s 2013 Byron Nelson Championship that a photo of him staring into space with legs out straight and arms rigid at his side would become the Internet sensation that it has.
“Dufnering” has even overtaken “Tebowing” as the affectation du jour for world-class athletes (check out Andy Roddick’s dog) and regular folks alike. Several of Dufner’s colleagues immediately got in on the act, including Keegan Bradley, who joined with Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker in one of the funnier takeoffs of the new Twitter trend.
What began as an innocent photo of the two-time tour winner looking like he would rather have his wisdom teeth yanked than hang out with the kids at the J. Erik Jonsson Community School in Dallas spread quickly — thanks to Deadspin and Bradley, whom many credit with igniting the craze with this tweet:
“Haha I don’t know what to say. This is the best picture ever. #duffdaddy”
“Every time I looked at it, I laughed harder than the first time,” Bradley told the Associated Press during last week’s Shell Houston Open. “Dufner is so funny with some of the things he does. That’s him.”
No wonder, then, that Dufnering took off in non-golfing circles as well, as Bradley’s retweets of photos of Boston Bruins Andrew Ference and Shawn Thornton and Brockton fire fighters can attest. (Always a trend-setter, Tom Brady struck a pose long before Dufnering was even a thing.)
Dufner, whom EMTs might want to check for a pulse whether he’s triple-bogeying a par-3 or contending in a major, has been a good sport about the whole thing, retweeting the world mimicking his “Dufner being Dufner” closeup.
“Just caught me at a perfect time,” he told AP last week. “The funny thing about it is the photo taken represents how I act all the time. It was a sheer moment of `Jason Dufner’ by whoever captured the moment for the 30 seconds I checked out.”
For those unfamiliar with the 36-year-old Auburn University grad, his mien — snapped at just the right moment by Christine Lee of NBC Dallas affiliate KXAS-TV — was not at all what it seemed. That’s just who Dufner is.
“They were talking about focusing and relaxation,” Dufner said. “They have some big test coming up for the class on ways to relax and concentrate. And I guess I took it to another level.”
So what’s next for the pose that launched a billion tweets? Look for Dufner to recreate his meme at the Masters next week.
“I would `Dufner’ on the lawn,” Dufner said. “No. On the tree out back by the clubhouse.”
Can’t wait to see the reaction of Billy Payne and the rest of the green jackets to Dufner’s mannerism unlike any other.
Emily Kay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. You may follow Kay on Twitter @golfexaminerWHAT'S YOUR REACTION?