The West

Why US top gun is spreading his wings
Jason Dufner. Pic: Reuters

Emerging star Jason Dufner is determined to carve out a career that extends well beyond the shores of the United States.

The 35-year-old, whose three wins in four matches at the Ryder Cup on debut included a face- saving singles rubber for the Americans, will headline the overseas contingent at next week's $2 million ISPS Handa Perth International at Lake Karrinyup.

His task of chalking up a precious overseas victory was made a little easier yesterday with the withdrawal of notable European quartet Marcel Siem, Thorbjorn Olesen, Danny Willett and Robert Rock.

Dufner still faces stiff opposition in the form of fellow USPGA Tour players Charl Schwartzel, Bo Van Pelt and Paul Casey.

Tournament promoter IMG's director of golf, David Rollo, said he was surprised by the withdrawals but still optimistic about the event.

"Every tournament promoter is faced with the reality that players are independent contractors and may withdraw or change their plans at the last minute," Rollo said.

"We are delighted our four marquee players have been able to include the Perth International in their schedules. But a couple of the players among the Race-to-Dubai leaders we had anticipated would further boost the field, have now withdrawn.

"We are naturally disappointed but the players have a tough travel schedule outside Europe this late in the season, with tournaments in the Asian region."

Dufner, who has had the best year of his career, making the world top 10 for the first time, said he would like to become a global performer and play more events around the world at this time of year.

"It is a good opportunity to play some different courses and against different fields and competition levels and take my golfing skills and showcase them somewhere else," he said.

"A lot of people in Australia follow the PGA Tour and it gives them the chance to see the players first-hand while we have the opportunity to show off a little."

Dufner, who is fourth on the US money list, said that after seven years on tour he feels more settled in the big events.

"I'm more comfortable with the way my game stacks up against the better players and have proved to myself I can play at that level, which has been a huge breakthrough," he said.

There have not been any significant changes to his swing - he has simply become more consistent with his approach to practice.

Dufner said he faced his toughest mental test at the Ryder Cup.

"Being part of the US team in a pressure situation was a unique experience and the greatest week of my professional career," he said.

"I took a lot of confidence from the way I played but that was tempered by the disappointment of not being able to win the event."

WA amateur Oliver Goss has been invited to play in the event.

The West Australian

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