PGA: Why Jason Dufner Is the Next Matt Kuchar

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2012

Jason Dufner is one of the most accurate hitters on the tour.
Jason Dufner is one of the most accurate hitters on the tour.Chris Chambers/Getty Images

Jason Dufner and Matt Kuchar could be twins.

While they may be more of the Arnold Schwarzenegger-Danny DeVito type of twins than identical, they do have more in common than you would think.

By the time their pro golf careers have finished, they could be near mirror-images of each other.

Except for one thing. Kuchar, 34, got off to a much better start and is significantly ahead of Dufner, 35, on the career money-winning list.

However, now that Dufner has found his game, he may end up in lockstep with a player who offers many similarities.

Start off with both players qualifying for the U.S. Ryder Cup team. This is Dufner's first time making the team while Kuchar has made it once before.

Both players went to major universities in the South and turned pro in 2000. Kuchar attended Georgia Tech.  Dufner went to Auburn.

Kuchar is 6'4" and 195 pounds while Dufner is 5'10 and 180 pounds. Neither player is a huge driver, although Dufner gets consistently more distance than Kuchar. However, both players are known for their accuracy.

Kuchar puts the ball on the green in regulation 66 percent of the time while Dufner does it 69 percent of the time. That figure allowed him to rank sixth on the tour.

Each player's best attribute is his consistency. That played out quite a bit during the current golf season. Dufner may be a late bloomer, but he had two wins and a second-place finish to go with eight top-10 finishes in 20 events in 2012.

Kuchar had a win and a third-place finish, and like Dufner, he has finished in the top 10 eight times. Kuchar has shown he can handle match-play pressure. Dufner has the same kind of makeup, but he is going to have to prove that his putting stroke will hold up under the pressure of Ryder Cup matches.

While Kuchar has been a solid player for several years, he does not necessarily carry the high profile of elite players like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson or even Bubba Watson. All Kuchar does is  play consistent golf under tough circumstances.

Dufner seems to have the same kind of makeup. When it comes to huge events like the Ryder Cup, handling the pressure is perhaps the biggest part of the equation.

Dufner and Kuchar could be in lockstep for many years to come.