Jason Dufner (Getty Images)
Abu Dhabi debutant Jason Dufner of America believes his globetrotting adventures will benefit both himself and the game of golf at large.
The World Number 11 started his 2013 campaign with a tied 18th finish in the weather-affected Hyundai Tournament of Champions on the US PGA Tour, but will compete in this week’s €2.7million event and in Qatar next week in a bid to improve his game and increase his profile outside his native America.
The two-time US PGA Tour has finished runner-up in his last two outings on The European Tour, at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China and the ISPS Handa Perth International in Australia, which was won by his compatriot Bo Van Pelt.
The man affectionately known as “Duff” is hoping to continue his impressive form and enhance his burgeoning reputation at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he will play the first two rounds in the company of four-time European Tour champion Branden Grace and Francesco Molinari, one of his opponents in The 2012 Ryder Cup.
Dufner said: “Growing up, I’ve seen a lot of guys come over and play on different Tours and compete all around the world. I just felt like a lot of those guys were kind of the upper echelon of players, and felt that was maybe something I would want to do.
“So it’s been nice to receive some invitations to play on The European Tour. I just think it’s a good thing to compete around the world and see where you stack up, and maybe show the world what type of golf game you have if they haven’t had the chance to see you play in person.
“We’re pretty spoiled in the US. We only really play in one country and people are pretty focused on the US PGA Tour, but there are a lot of other Tours and a lot of other great events around the world which are going on.”
Dufner also revealed he would like to see more of his fellow Americans joining him in crossing the Atlantic to test themselves against the cream of European, and indeed world golf.
He said: “I think it makes you a better player to come over here and experience golf in different places and compete against different players, and on different golf courses. I think it’s just good for the game overall.
“You don’t get too many events with lots of guys playing who in the top 50 in the world, which is the case here in Abu Dhabi and next week in Qatar. To come out and play and increase the strength of the field is a great thing for the game of golf, so I’m really excited about the next two weeks.”