Fuzzy Zoeller

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Fuzzy Zoeller
Zoeller in October 2008
Personal information
Full nameFrank Urban Zoeller Jr.
Born (1951-11-11) November 11, 1951 (age 72)
New Albany, Indiana
Height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight190 lb (86 kg; 14 st)
Sporting nationality United States
ResidenceFloyds Knobs, Indiana
SpouseDiane Thornton Zoeller
Children3 daughters, 1 son
CollegeEdison Junior College (FL)
University of Houston
Turned professional1973
Current tour(s)Champions Tour
Former tour(s)PGA Tour
Professional wins19
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour10
PGA Tour Champions2
Best results in major championships
(wins: 2)
Masters TournamentWon: 1979
PGA Championship2nd: 1981
U.S. OpenWon: 1984
The Open Championship3rd: 1994
Achievements and awards
Bob Jones Award1985

Frank Urban "Fuzzy" Zoeller Jr. (/ˈzɛlər/; born November 11, 1951) is an American professional golfer who has won ten PGA Tour events including two major championships. He is one of three golfers to have won the Masters Tournament in his first appearance in the event. He also won the 1984 U.S. Open, which earned him the 1985 Bob Jones Award.

Life and career

Born and raised in New Albany, Indiana, Zoeller was successful golfer while at New Albany High School, finishing as the runner-up in the 1970 state high school tournament with a state record low round (67).[1] After completing his high school career, he attended Edison Junior College in Florida, transferred to the University of Houston, and became a professional golfer in 1973. Zoeller won both of his two majors in playoffs: the 1979 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in a three-way sudden-death playoff with Ed Sneed and Tom Watson; and the 1984 U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club after an 18-hole playoff with Greg Norman.

In 1979, Zoeller became the first golfer since 1935 to win The Masters in his first appearance in the event. The only two other golfers to have won The Masters on their debut at Augusta were the winners of the first two Masters tournaments Horton Smith and Gene Sarazen, in 1934 and 1935 respectively. It was the first sudden-death playoff at The Masters; the previous six playoffs were 18-hole rounds on Monday (except 1935, which was 36 holes).

Fuzzy Zoeller after hitting a shot off a tee during the first round of the 1980 Memorial Tournament at the Muirfield Village Golf Club.

For much of his career, Zoeller was famous for waving a white towel in mock surrender from the fairway of the 72nd hole of the 1984 U.S. Open, after Greg Norman holed a long putt on the 72nd green to tie Zoeller for the tournament lead. At the end of the 18-hole playoff the next day between Norman and Zoeller (which Zoeller won by 8 strokes), Norman waved a white towel himself, returning the joke.

Zoeller was voted the 1985 winner of the Bob Jones Award, the highest honor given by the United States Golf Association in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf.

Zoeller shared the 54-hole lead in the 1994 Open Championship after a 3rd round of 64, but finished the tournament in 3rd place, his best-ever finish in The Open. Zoeller missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the 18th green in his 3rd round at Turnberry which would have tied the record for the best single round at The Open.[2]

He competed at the 1979, 1983 and 1985 Ryder Cups.[citation needed]

In 2002, Zoeller joined the Champions Tour and won the Senior PGA Championship, a senior major, that year. He also won the 2004 MasterCard Championship.

Zoeller has often been jokingly critical of his colleagues on the golf course, for instance, asking "Where are the windmills and animals?" on a newly designed golf course, or heckling Craig Stadler, saying, "Nice clods, Stadler. Did you get those at a Buster Brown fire sale?"[3]

In 2009, Zoeller began selling vodka under the brand name "Fuzzy's Vodka".[4] Starting in 2012, the brand sponsored Ed Carpenter Racing's entries in the IndyCar Series.[5]

Remarks about Tiger Woods

At the 1997 Masters Tournament, Zoeller made remarks, described by some sections of the media as racist, regarding Tiger Woods. After finishing tied for 34th place with a score of 78, Zoeller, referring to the following year's Masters Champions Dinner, for which the defending champion selects the menu, said, "He's doing quite well, pretty impressive. That little boy is driving well and he's putting well. He's doing everything it takes to win. So, you know what you guys do when he gets in here? You pat him on the back and say congratulations and enjoy it and tell him not to serve fried chicken next year. Got it." Zoeller then smiled, snapped his fingers, and walked away before turning and adding, "or collard greens or whatever the hell they serve."[6] K-Mart and Dunlop ceased sponsoring Zoeller after the incident.[7][8]

"I know Fuzzy, and it was obvious to me that he was attempting to be funny," fellow golf professional Tom Lehman said. "He probably would have said the same thing to Tiger's face and they both would have yukked it up...[But] it wasn't the best timing, and it wasn't in good taste. It's not appropriate."[6]

"I've been on the tour for 23 years and anybody who knows me knows that I am a jokester," Zoeller said. "It's too bad that something I said in jest was turned into something it's not. But I didn't mean anything by it and I'm sorry if I offend anybody. If Tiger is offended by it, I apologize to him, too. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Tiger as a person and an athlete."[9]

Zoeller later offered an apology directly to Woods, which Woods accepted.[10]

Defamation lawsuit

On February 13, 2007, Zoeller sued Josef Silny & Associates, a foreign-credential evaluation firm based in Miami, Florida. The lawsuit alleged that defamatory statements appeared in the Wikipedia article about Zoeller in December 2006, originating from a computer at that firm.[11][12] According to the suit, the edits suggested Zoeller had committed acts including alcohol, drug and domestic abuse.[13] Defendant Josef Silny said a computer consultant would investigate.[14][15] However, Zoeller dropped the lawsuit in December 2007 after being unsuccessful in finding the poster.[16] Zoeller was unable to sue Wikipedia for the statements due to protections accorded to providers of "interactive computer services" under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.[17]

Amateur wins (3)

  • 1972 Florida State Junior College Championship (individual)
  • 1973 Old Capital Invitational (Indiana)
  • 1973 Indiana State Amateur

Professional wins (19)

PGA Tour wins (10)

Major championships (2)
Other PGA Tour (8)
No. Date Tournament Winning score To par Margin of
1 Jan 28, 1979 Andy Williams-San Diego Open Invitational 76-67-67-72=282 −6 5 strokes United States Billy Kratzert, United States Wayne Levi,
United States Artie McNickle, United States Tom Watson
2 Apr 15, 1979 Masters Tournament 70-71-69-70=280 −8 Playoff United States Ed Sneed, United States Tom Watson
3 May 17, 1981 Colonial National Invitation 67-69-68-70=274 −6 4 strokes United States Hale Irwin
4 Apr 18, 1983 Sea Pines Heritage 67-72-65-71=275 −9 2 strokes Canada Jim Nelford
5 Sep 18, 1983 Panasonic Las Vegas Pro Celebrity Classic 63-70-70-64-73=340 −18 4 strokes United States Rex Caldwell
6 Jun 18, 1984 U.S. Open 71-66-69-70=276 −4 Playoff Australia Greg Norman
7 Mar 10, 1985 Hertz Bay Hill Classic 70-72-66-67=275 −9 2 strokes United States Tom Watson
8 Feb 2, 1986 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am 69-66-70=205* −11 5 strokes United States Payne Stewart
9 Apr 20, 1986 Sea Pines Heritage (2) 68-68-69-71=276 −8 1 stroke United States Chip Beck, United States Roger Maltbie,
Australia Greg Norman
10 Jul 13, 1986 Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic 70-68-72-64=274 −10 2 strokes United States Jodie Mudd

*Note: The 1986 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am was shortened to 54 holes due to weather.

PGA Tour playoff record (2–2)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1979 Masters Tournament United States Ed Sneed, United States Tom Watson Won with birdie on second extra hole
2 1983 Colonial National Invitation United States Jim Colbert Lost to par on sixth extra hole
3 1984 U.S. Open Australia Greg Norman Won 18-hole playoff;
Zoeller: −3 (67),
Norman: +5 (75)
4 1994 Tour Championship United States Mark McCumber Lost to birdie on first extra hole

Other wins (4)

Champions Tour wins (2)

Senior major championships (1)
Other Champions Tour (1)
No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 Jun 9, 2002 Senior PGA Championship −2 (69-71-70-68=278) 1 stroke United States Hale Irwin, United States Bobby Wadkins
2 Jan 25, 2004 MasterCard Championship −20 (67-65-64=196) 1 stroke United States Dana Quigley

Other senior wins (3)

Major championships

Wins (2)

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score To par Margin Runner(s)-up
1979 Masters Tournament 6 shot deficit 70-71-69-70=280 −8 Playoff1 United States Ed Sneed, United States Tom Watson
1984 U.S. Open 1 shot deficit 71-66-69-70=276 −4 Playoff2 Australia Greg Norman

1Defeated Sneed and Watson in a sudden-death playoff - Zoeller 4-3 (−1), Sneed 4-4 (E) and Watson 4-4 (E).
2Defeated Norman in an 18-hole playoff - Zoeller 67 (–3), Norman 75 (+5).

Results timeline

Tournament 1976 1977 1978 1979
Masters Tournament 1
U.S. Open T38 T44 CUT CUT
The Open Championship CUT
PGA Championship T54 10 T54
Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
Masters Tournament T19 T43 T10 T20 T31 CUT T21 T27 T16 T26
U.S. Open T53 T15 CUT 1 T9 T15 CUT T8 CUT
The Open Championship CUT T8 T14 T14 T11 T8 T29 T52 CUT
PGA Championship T41 2 CUT T6 T54 CUT 64 CUT CUT
Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Masters Tournament T20 T12 T19 T11 T35 CUT CUT T34 T33 CUT
U.S. Open T8 T5 CUT T68 T58 T21 T28 CUT CUT
The Open Championship T80 T14 3 CUT
PGA Championship T14 CUT T31 T19 69 T36 CUT
Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
U.S. Open
The Open Championship
PGA Championship CUT
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the halfway cut (3rd round cut in 1979 Open Championship)
"T" indicates a tie for a place.


Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 1 0 0 1 2 10 31 18
U.S. Open 1 0 0 2 5 8 22 14
The Open Championship 0 0 1 1 3 7 14 10
PGA Championship 0 1 0 1 3 5 20 13
Totals 2 1 1 5 13 30 87 55
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 8 (1993 Masters – 1994 PGA)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 2 (twice)

Results in The Players Championship

Tournament 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
The Players Championship CUT 79 CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT T56 CUT T27 CUT T54 T23 T45 CUT 2 T64 T34 2 T55 T4 T14 CUT
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the halfway cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place

Champions Tour major championships

Wins (1)

Year Championship Winning score To par Margin Runners-up
2002 Senior PGA Championship 69-71-70-68=278 −2 2 strokes United States Hale Irwin, United States Bobby Wadkins

U.S. national team appearances


See also


  1. ^ "IHSAA Boys Golf State Champions". Indiana High School Athletic Association.
  2. ^ Verdi, Bob (July 17, 1994). "Fittingly, Zoeller Thrives On Sunny Day At Turnberry". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  3. ^ Apfelbaum, Jim, ed. (2007). The Gigantic Book of Golf Quotations. Skyhorse Publishing. ASIN B001IWOFQO.
  4. ^ "About Fuzzy's Vodka". Fuzzy's Vodka.
  5. ^ "2016 Indianapolis 500 Sponsors". Ed Carpenter Racing Team.
  6. ^ a b "Golfer says comments about Woods 'misconstrued'". CNN. April 21, 1997. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  7. ^ "Kmart Drops Zoeller". The New York Times. April 23, 1997. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  8. ^ Sirak, Ron (February 15, 1998). "Daly, Zoeller are birds of a feather". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  9. ^ "Zoeller Apologizes for Woods Comments". The New York Times. April 22, 1997. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  10. ^ Drape, Joe (May 21, 1997). "Woods Meets Zoeller For Lunch". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  11. ^ "Golfer Zoeller sues law firm for Wikipedia posting". Miami Herald. February 22, 2007.
  12. ^ "Golfer Sues Over Vandalized Wikipedia Page". The Smoking Gun. February 22, 2007.
  13. ^ "Fuzzy teed off". Sports Illustrated. February 22, 2007. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  14. ^ "Zoeller sues to identify the author of a disputed entry on Wikipedia". PGA of America. February 22, 2007. Archived from the original on March 27, 2007. Retrieved February 23, 2007.
  15. ^ Zaharov-Reutt, Alex (February 25, 2007). "Wikipedia entry causes pro-golfer Fuzzy Zoeller to sue". iTWire. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  16. ^ "Zoeller v. Josef Silny & Associates". Digital Media Law Project. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  17. ^ Beaumont, Claudine (May 11, 2008). "Wikipedia fights defamation lawsuit". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved May 22, 2013.

External links