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What to expect in 2013: No. 8, Jason Dufner

Jay Busbee
Devil Ball Golf

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Jason Dufner. (Getty Images)

Since the Mayans were wrong, it appears the 2013 PGA Tour season will actually happen. There are plenty of big names set to make some noise in the upcoming season (the year kicks off on January 4th!), so we've picked our ten guys we think will have huge impacts next season and preview them here. We continue with "Mr. Tuck-Your-Shirt-In," Jason Dufner

Jason Dufner

Age: 35

Career PGA Tour wins: 2

Career major wins: 0

What he did in 2012: First off, he actually played the game in 2012, which is an accomplishment considering his heartbreak in the last major of 2011 (leading the PGA Championship by five strokes with three holes remaining, he lost to Keegan Bradley). But Dufner settled himself and proved his mettle by starting the year strong, even holding a tie for the lead in Augusta on Friday. He won his first PGA Tour event at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, defeating Ernie Els. (Sure, the Big Easy missed a six-footer to win, but Els would have more success later in the year.)

Soon afterward, Dufner won the HP Byron Nelson Championship when he sank a 25-foot birdie putt for the victory. Strong tournament performances throughout the rest of the year put him as high as 8th in the Official World Golf Rankings; he's currently 9th. And his solid 3-1 play in his Ryder Cup debut helped keep it close for the United States, at least.

Why we like him in 2013: Dufner looks like the kid who runs the cart barn and cleans your clubs with a dirty towel, but he plays better than almost anyone else on Earth. And his low-key personality is exactly what's needed to shrug off golf's constant, debilitating defeats. His putting remains his major weakness, but if he can steady himself on a consistent basis on the greens, he's going to be tough to beat.

On the big stage, Dufner's starting to come through. In addition to his strong early Augusta performance and his Ryder play, he finished T4 at the U.S. Open. Those, combined with the victories he's starting to amass, are the foundations for a run at the top of the biggest leaderboards in golf.

All that, and he's a die-hard Auburn fan. Follow him on Twitter at @jasondufner.

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