A successful golfer already Dufner was looking for his first career victory on the PGA Tour, but instead rookie Keegan Bradley earned the victory and left Dufner with his second runner-up of the year.
"I have a lot of things ahead of me," said Dufner. "I'm young, not as young as Keegan is, but I have a lot of time to play golf and hopefully I'll have more time to win majors and use what happened today as a positive.
"I don't feel like I was nervous. I knew what was at stake. I was confident with my game but just didn't quite execute a couple of shots coming in."
Dufner's second-place showing surpassed John Huston's tie for third at the 1989 Masters as the best result at a major for a former Auburn student-athlete. Dufner also ties Huston for most major top-fives by a former Tiger after tying for fifth at the 2010 PGA Championship. The finish also guaranteed Dufner not only a spot in the FedEx Cup Playoffs to end the season, but also a spot in the 2012 Masters.
"I've got the rest of the playoffs this year, and I believe this gets me into all of the majors next year so that's a good opportunity to try to win more majors," said Dufner.
Building his lead to four strokes going to the 15th hole, Dufner hit his tee shot into the water on the Par-three and made a big putt for a bogey. He also bogeyed the 16th hole as well to give back two shots. On the flip side Bradley birdied both the 16th and drained a long putt on 17 to get back into things. The two both made a par on the tough 18th hole to send it into a playoff.
"Those are just tough holes," Dufner said of the final four-hole stretch. "Unfortunately, to play them 3-over coming in is a little disappointing. But there's a lot to be learned from this and a lot of experience to be gained from this. Keegan played great that stretch, and that's kind of what decided this tournament.
"I didn't feel like I was nervous. I was confident with my game, I just didn't execute my shots coming in."
Now 16th on the PGA Tour Money List with over $2.5 million dollars this year, Dufner won $865,000 for his second-place finish on Sunday. In 148 career tournaments Dufner has won $7,061,905.
"You know, coming from where I came from, to be in this position, it's a dream come true," said Dufner. "I could never have imagined playing in major championships, playing with Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods; that's a milestone to me itself. I'm not going to let this define my career."