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THE GOLF SWING OF FUZZY ZOELLER


Fuzzy Zoeller has won two majors, The 1979 Masters and The 1984 US Open. He has a total of ten tour victories. Fuzzy Zoeller is one of Golfs best known names because of his easy going, joking, and fun loving manner. Fuzzy hits his driver a long distance (Fuzz hits a big draw) and has finished first on the PGA Tour in "Greens in Regulation". Last PGA TOUR victory came at 1986 Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic. Fuzzy is bothered by back troubles but continues to keep a positive attitude on and off the golf course. Fuzz has told me that he intends to play the Senior Tour when he turns age 50. Not because he needs the money but because his friends and traveling buddies need something to do and places to go.

Updated June 2003
Life after 50 is a blast for Zoeller
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Article By Jody Demling
jdemling@courier-journal.com
The Courier-Journal - Louisville, Kentucky

One of the most popular figures to tee it up on the PGA Tour, Fuzzy Zoeller took his act back on the road full time last year as a rookie on the Senior PGA Tour. The wisecracking veteran golfer from Floyds Knobs, Ind., was a hit on and off the course in his first year on the tour for players 50 and over. Zoeller, 51, won a tournament for the first time in nearly 16 years when he captured the PGA Senior Championship and finished 20th on the tour's money list.

He also helped the struggling tour make huge strides with the fans, prompting Arnold Palmer to call him a ''bell ringer'' for the tour. Now in his second year on what is now known as the Champions Tour, the golf game remains in good shape and the calls still are coming in for Zoeller to make public appearances.

He is enjoying the ride. ''There is no pressure on me,'' he said. ''No pressure at all. I can be a little more relaxed now. I'm really having a good time. I've had great camaraderie with the fans over the years, and I'm really enjoying this.''

This week Zoeller is ready to do something he hasn't done in years -- defend a title. He'll tee off Thursday in the PGA Senior Championship at the Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pa. ''It's tremendous being the champion,'' Zoeller said. ''I still have those thoughts about winning going through my mind.'' Frank Urban Zoeller has been on the minds of golf fans for a long time now. A professional since 1973, it didn't take long for him to become a name that fans related to because of his sense of humor.

But his game never has been a laughing matter. Zoeller won 10 tournaments from 1979-86, including his first appearance at the Masters in '79 and the U.S. Open in '84. After finishing fifth on the 1994 earnings list, Zoeller has made just 56 of 116 cuts on the tour. His career has been plagued by injuries. He sustained a back injury playing basketball in high school and has had three back surgeries, the most serious coming after he won the U.S. Open.

''It's tough to get old,'' Zoeller quipped. ''But I can still hit it.''

Although he wasn't playing a full PGA schedule as he neared 50, Zoeller had his mind on the Senior Tour. Last year he started slow but ended up in the top 10 in a third of the tournaments he played. But more important, Zoeller helped make the fans come back and watch the tour. ''He's someone that attracts people and gets them interested in the Senior Tour,'' Palmer said late last year in an interview with USA Today.

Although his golf game was solid last year, Zoeller also was tops in appearances on the tour. Dave Lobeck, the president and chief operating officer of Fuzzy Zoeller Productions Inc., said Zoeller was doing two or three extra events a week. ''Every tournament wanted him to do this and do that,'' Lobeck said. ''They seized on him because he was the new big name. There were a lot more demands on his time at various tournaments than the other new players.'' But Zoeller doesn't mind the extra work. ''What's tough about working?'' he asked. ''Nothing. I love what I'm doing, and I enjoy the fans. If it wouldn't be fun, then I wouldn't be doing it.''

Zoeller said he finds it easier to play on the Champions Tour because of the more laid-back atmosphere. The tour's goal is to become more fan friendly with players' clinics and a chance to get closer to the action. ''Is that because they don't have any birds in the nest anymore and the guys are a little more at ease because their family is all raised? I couldn't tell you,'' Zoeller said earlier this year. ''Or is it because they are enjoying the game a little more? Who knows? But it is a little bit more at ease, a little bit more relaxed atmosphere, which it should be.''

Even though Zoeller still is joking and trying to please the fans, his game has been just as consistent this year. He has three top-10 finishes and five top-25 appearances in 12 events, including a third at the MasterCard Championship in February, and has earned $320,843. Lobeck said he's still fielding many requests for corporate outings, tournament events and dinner engagements for Zoeller. ''He's always had a reputation as a player that he would do anything for a tournament director,'' Lobeck said. ''This year they are certainly wanting him to do anything he can. We've just gotten a little better at saying no a few times. ''But he loves doing things for the fans.''

He also likes winning. Zoeller said he almost forgot what it felt like to win after his 15-year, 10-month dry spell. Now, he wants another title. ''There's always that little doubt in your mind if you can ever do it again,'' he said. ''Once you do it, the next one will be easier because you've been through the hunt. ''I don't know when it might be, it could come (this week). But there's nothing better than beating the best at what they do.''

CLICK HERE to visit Fuzzy's personal web site.


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