Jason Dufner: Driving the key to future success

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Consistency - it can be harder to achieve than greatness. Being great for a moment in time takes skill. But, to be consistently good over a period of time takes something extra.

With two wins and only three missed cuts since the start of the 2012 season, Jason Dufner has skilfully solved the formula for consistency from tee to green.

During his breakout 2012 campaign, the 36-year-old made his biggest progression in ball striking - which is the combination of greens in regulation, plus driving distance, and driving accuracy. He jumped from 48th in 2011 to second in 2012.

"Hitting the ball off the fairway really sets up the whole game, so I have to get in there and play, because I'm not a bomber out there," Dufner explained. "Then I can be more aggressive with my iron play. 

"I feel like with my swing being on play and the club face being pretty square on impact, that leads to a lot of fairways for me."

Dufner gained over five yards of driving distance between 2011 and 2012 as well as increasing his accuracy to the fairway.

"I'm able to hit a lot of fairways which gives me chance to be able to attack pin positions and be fairly aggressive with my iron play, which would indicate I'm one of the closest guys to the hole in regulation."

It was in greens of regulation - the third pillar of ball striking - where Dufner made the biggest improvement. In 2012, he hit 81 more greens in regulation than in 2011, in just one additional start, while maintaining an average proximity to the hole of around 32 feet, leading to more chances for red numbers.

He capitalised on those scoring opportunities, carding 38 more birdies in 2012 than in 2011, jumping 21 spots to fourth in scoring average.

With 39 rounds in the books this year, all indications point to another solid season for Dufner. Currently he's tied for 33rd in ball striking, and ranks 35th in total driving - hitting just over 66 per cent of fairways.

But, he has struggled with the flat stick - ranking 158th in strokes gained putting, and hasn't produced a top-10 finish in 12 starts this year.

"There's some work to be done with the putting," reflected the American. "The numbers don't lie - I'm pretty mediocre when it comes to putting out here. 

"All in all I think just driving the ball straight and giving myself a chance for some birdies is probably the strongest part of my game."

Watch an in depth analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of Jason Dufner's golf game in the video above - featuring interviews with Keegan Bradley, Phil Mickelson, and the man himself!


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Jason Dufner
PGA Tour

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