Aug 15, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Big Auburn fan Jason Dufner came to football practice Thursday with his PGA Championship trophy and some good advice.
"He told us to keep persevering and forget about last year and go into this year with battle wounds and win some games," said place-kicker Cody Parkey.
Dufner, who lost the PGA Championship in a playoff in 2011, won it Sunday in New York. He was back in Auburn before the night was through, remembering it all with the Tigers on Thursday.
"It's a big deal, so it was an honor for our players to have him speak," said coach Gus Malzahn. "We're definitely big fans of Jason Dufner."
Dufner's talk hit home.
"He told us his story, how he was a walk-on. Jason Dufner is an incredible golfer. He's a true Auburn man," Parkey said.
Parkey, the place-kicker, and Steven Clark, the punter, talked after practice how they could relate to Dufner and golf.
"Coach Malzahn, when Dufner was out there, mentioned mental toughness," Parkey said. "Golf and the pressure and you have that tiny little ball. Golf is compared to kicking a lot in that aspect. I can compare it to him in some of those things. It's about doing your job and going out there and executing."
Clark said he's been playing golf longer than punting. The lesson he's learned from that? He'll leave the serious golfing to Dufner while he tries to perfect his patented hanging punts while seeking more distance.
"It's something that really relates to my craft, particularly," Clark said. "He talks about the physical aspect of football. My position is a lot more like golf than any other position as far as you've got to have different clubs. You've got to practice with each one and it's a day-to-day thing.
"You've just got to keep refining your craft. If I could ever win the PGA Championship of Punting it would be the best day of my life, too, and I could come back share a little wisdom like he did."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: