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The Barclays: Business as usual for Jason Dufner

Last Updated: 22/08/13 7:18pm

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US PGA Champion Jason Dufner returns to action following his maiden major.

Sky Bet

Golf's newest major champion Jason Dufner insists nothing much has changed since he lifted the US PGA trophy two weeks ago.

The American returns to action in The Barclays this week after claiming his first major title at Oak Hill, but the 36-year-old Ryder Cup star's feet have been kept firmly on the ground ever since.

"I changed my number about three weeks ago so very few people had my number," Dufner explained ahead of the first FedEx Cup play-off event at Liberty National in New Jersey.

"Charles Barkley and Bo Jackson texted me but most people who have my number I'm in regular contact with anyway.

"Nothing much has changed, I still had to take the trash out on Tuesday morning and we've just got a new puppy so I've been up at 3am taking him to the bathroom.

"It was kind of a whirlwind there for a couple of days after the win, I went to New York for some media stuff and there have been demands on my time, but I live in a pretty small town so I have not had to deal with too much since I got back to Auburn."

Dufner's victory at Oak Hill lifted him from 62nd to 14th in the FedEx Cup standings and he begins the first of four possible events in 15th place.

The top 125 players in the standings have qualified for The Barclays, with the field being trimmed to 100 for the Deutsche Bank Championship, 70 for the BMW Championship and then 30 for the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

"I don't put too much pressure on myself, I'm trying to do the same things I have been doing for the last couple of years," Dufner added in his pre-tournament press conference.

Hungrier

"But we have a great set of events coming up that can make a season and I am pretty focused on getting back to Atlanta. Winning a major has made me a little hungrier to win more tournaments, more majors, make more Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams.

"I have not enjoyed my win as much as other people might have because I am focused on getting ready to play well this week."

"It was kind of a whirlwind there for a couple of days after the win, I went to New York for some media stuff and there have been demands on my time, but I live in a pretty small town so I have not had to deal with too much since I got back to Auburn."
Jason Dufner

Tiger Woods enters the play-offs at the top of the standings for the fifth time and is seeking his third FedEx Cup title, the world No 1 paired with last year's winner Brandt Snedeker and Matt Kuchar for the first two rounds.

Woods, though, did not hit a full shot over the last nine practice holes as he was suffering stiffness to his neck and back following a bad night's sleep.

Instead, the world No 1 chipped and putted, although he played down any fears he would not be able to play tomorrow but blamed a soft bed at his hotel.

Woods was reportedly set to see a back specialist and in quotes reported in USA Today, he said: "My neck and back are a little bit stiff.

"It was stiff this morning after a soft bed and just one of those things, sleeping in hotels.

"I didn't want to push it, so just took it easy and chipped and putted."

The 37-year-old also assuaged concerns the stiffness may be a long-term issue, adding: "No, it was fine at home. Hotel beds."

When asked if he was going to get a new bed, Woods said: "What do you think? We'll have something."

Nick Watney won The Barclays last year before Rory McIlroy triumphed in the next two events, but Snedeker won the Tour Championship itself to claim the $10 million bonus.

Watney has recorded just two top-10 finishes in 2013 but knows from last year that anything is possible.

"Last year wasn't the greatest regular season for me either and I end up winning a couple times at the end of the year," he said.

"So that's what I'm hoping for, and with the format the way it is, if you get hot at the right time you can play all the way through Atlanta and have a whole lot to play for. Hopefully lightning will strike twice."

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