Dufner lukewarm on Browns, his own game

Golfer Jason Dufner isn't sure about his favorite football team -- or his own performance on the links.

DUBLIN, Ohio – Ohio is Jason Dufner’s second home, and home of Dufner’s favorite football team.

For now.

With Johnny Manziel Mania bringing attention to the Cleveland Browns that the Browns themselves haven’t been able to bring, count the 2013 PGA Champion as one who’s not buying yet.

"I don’t think too much about the Browns right now," Dufner said Thursday at the Memorial Tournament about the drafting of Manziel, college football’s most popular player in years. "I hope Manziel does well because he’s an exciting player and they need that. I don’t know him (personally) but what I know about him, I think he has a chance.

"I’m one of those fans who’s on the fence about the Browns right now. I don’t know if they’re worth too much more of my time. I hope they turn it around, but I don’t know."


Dufner is more concerned with turning around his own game.

"I’ve been playing garbage golf since (the Masters)," Dufner said. "It was more garbage today. I’m disappointed. I have to play better tomorrow and see where that takes me."

Dufner spoke Thursday afternoon, a few minutes after bogeying 18 to finish his first round at -1. After holing out from 103 yards to eagle No. 11, he had two bogeys and one birdie over his final seven holes and four bogeys for the day.

Five days ago, Dufner lost in a playoff at the Colonial to the world’s No. 1 ranked player, Adam Scott.

Dufner missed the cut at the Masters, and his best in three tournaments following that before last week was a tie for 48th in both the Players Championship and at the Byron Nelson.

"There’s no disappointment about last week," Dufner said. "I needed to play well and I did. I just need to find a way to play better (from here)."

Last summer, Dufner visited Cleveland Browns training camp before finishing in the top five at the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational in Akron. He won his first major the following week at the PGA Championship. An Auburn grad, Dufner has maintained a friendship with Browns linebacker and fellow Auburn alum Quentin Groves.

Dufner was born in Northeast Ohio and lived in the Cleveland area until he was in middle school. He’s playing the Memorial for the third time and the first time since 2010.

He’s never previously made the cut, but his standards and expectations have changed over the last several years and specifically over the last year. Dufner moved up seven spots to No. 15 in the latest World Golf Rankings after last week, matching where he finished 2013.

"I hit a really good shot (on No. 11), a sand wedge I got up and knew it had a chance," he said. "You never know until they go in. (Two holes later) I made a bogey, so that was just one shot. I just know I have to be better than I’ve been."