DUBLIN, Ohio — As Jason Dufner arrived at the 10th tee to begin their Thursday round, playing partner Tiger Woods came up to check out his snapback du jour, a green mesh number casually tilted that said "Columbus" on front. Woods shook his head.
"Duf, you’re a real beauty," he said.
The last time the two played together, Dufner rocked a hat that read "Boss" across the front, a lid he'd found sitting at Rickie Fowler's house. Plenty of people took notice, including Jarvis Woodson, watching from Ohio.
"We realized right around the time of the 'Boss' hat that he didn't have a sponsor, so I did a little research and next thing you know I reached out to his agent and here we are," Woodson said. His company, MSF Real Estate Capital, has signed Dufner to a one-week hat deal. The company has been based in Columbus, Ohio for 34 years and some of this week's hats are designed accordingly.
At his Tuesday defending champion's press conference, Dufner sported a lid that read "Save The Crew," referring to the Columbus-based MLS team that may be relocated to Austin, Tex. Dufner, himself an Ohio native, related to the cause.
"I wouldn't say I'm extremely passionate about soccer, but I can identify with what they're going through, being from Cleveland, losing the Browns, I think that was in the early '90s," he said.
On Wednesday, Dufner sported a red-and-blue "Ohio Country Club" cap. Thursday's green lid featured a mesh back and said "Golf Capital: Columbus Ohio," and included the city's latitude and longitude. What's in store for the rest of the week? Even Woodson isn't sure.
"We designed seven total, and he has all seven," he said. "We're just letting him roll with whatever his outfits are and what he feels comfortable with." Woodson and Kevin Iannarino, a graphic designer friend who worked on the hats pro bono, spent several late nights mocking up the hats. Two "Duf Daddy" hats are among the four designs still in the arsenal.
Each design has "MSF" and the company's website on the side, and Woodson said the reception this week has been worth the headaches. "I had no idea it would be hundreds of emails, thousands of texts, complications with printing and everything," he said. "But it's gone so well the last couple of days and everyone at our company is so excited and invigorated by it, I really would do it again."
The hats are for sale for $40 on the company's website, with 25% of proceeds to be donated to Dufner's foundation. But get 'em fast: just 35 of each were produced in the initial printing, and the "Save The Crew" hats have already sold out.
They received a boost when Dufner was selected to play alongside Woods and Justin Rose in one of the Tour's featured groups, and MSF Real Estate Capital will be rooting for Dufner to get into contention come the weekend for some additional exposure. But the biggest question — what does it cost to own Dufner's headspace for a week? — remained unanswered. "I'll put it this way," Woodson said. "I think they're happy about it."
You can check out the hats HERE.