Perth, Australia – American Jason Dufner tees off in the Perth International Thursday aiming to put the United States' shock loss to Europe in last month's Ryder Cup behind him.
The world number 10 said it would be the longest two years in his career before he will have the chance to banish the painful memories of Europe's fabled come-from-behind win over the USA at Chicago's Medinah Country Club.
“I often catch myself thinking about it,” Dufner lamented on the eve of his first tournament since Medinah, the Aus$2 million ($2.04 million) Perth International at Lake Karrinyup, north of Perth.
With a seemingly unassailable 10-4 lead going into the final day of singles matches, the USA team were reeled in by the Europeans going down 14-1/2 to 13-1/2.
Even though he won three of a possible four points and was one of the best-performed US players on his Ryder Cup debut, Dufner continues to beat himself up.
“I think about what could I have done better? Where could I maybe have picked up another half a point?” Dufner said Wednesday.
“How could I have helped my team-mates more? We were pretty close to winning that.
“It's been a tough couple of weeks since the Ryder Cup and the toughest thing about it is you've got to wait two years again until you can play again. That's a long time for us.”
Dufner says the best thing he can do in the meantime is “play golf again, get over it and move past it a little bit”.
With this uppermost in his mind and the debt feels he owes the game and himself to become a “global player”, he has travelled to Perth for the tournament co-sanctioned by the European and Australasian PGA tours.
Dufner joins 2011 US Masters champion, South Africa's Charl Schwartzel (ranked No.31), American Bo Van Pelt (No.24) and England's No.46 Paul Casey as the main overseas drawcards for the Perth event.
Schwartzel, who holds a helicopter pilot's licence, took to the skies as a passenger in a helicopter this week to get an aerial perspective of Perth and the Lake Karrinyup course.
He defeated world No.1 Rory McIlroy before losing to Lee Westwood in the semi-final of the World Golf Final in Turkey last week, and he feels he is coming back into form after a difficult season.
“I built some good confidence last week playing against them (McIlroy and Tiger Woods) and I just showed that the game is still there somewhere,” Schwartzel said.
“So I've got some good confidence last week and I'm really excited for this week.”
West Australian Greg Chalmers has the advantage over the visitors because he understands the subtleties of the 6,531-metre par 72 Lake Karrinyup layout.
Left-hander Chalmers is ranked No.58 in the world and made a late decision to play in front of his home Perth crowd in a bid to get in the top 50 by the end of the year.
“If I can get inside the top 50, it will set up my 2013 schedule a lot better around the majors,” said Chalmers, who won last year's Australian Open and the Australian PGA Championship. – Sapa-AFP