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Fuzzy Zoeller

Fuzzy Zoeller
— Golfer —
Zoeller in October 2008
Personal information
Full name Frank Urban Zoeller, Jr.
Nickname Fuzzy
Born (1951-11-11) November 11, 1951
New Albany, Indiana
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight 190 lb (86 kg; 14 st)
Nationality  United States
Residence Floyds Knobs, Indiana
Spouse Diane Thornton Zoeller
Children 3 daughters, 1 son
College Edison Junior College (FL)
University of Houston
Turned professional 1973
Current tour(s) Champions Tour
Former tour(s) PGA Tour
Professional wins 19
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour 10
Champions Tour 2
Other 7
Best results in major championships
(Wins: 2)
Masters Tournament Won: 1979
U.S. Open Won: 1984
The Open Championship 3rd: 1994
PGA Championship 2nd: 1981
Achievements and awards
Bob Jones Award 1985

Frank Urban "Fuzzy" Zoeller, Jr. (; 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 1
  • Controversies 2
    • WorldHeritage controversy 2.1
  • Amateur wins (3) 3
  • Professional wins (19) 4
    • PGA Tour wins (10) 4.1
    • Other wins (4) 4.2
    • Champions Tour wins (2) 4.3
    • Other senior wins (3) 4.4
  • Major championships 5
    • Wins (2) 5.1
    • Results timeline 5.2
    • Summary 5.3
  • Champions Tour major championships 6
    • Wins (1) 6.1
  • References 7
  • External links 8

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 state high school tournament.[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).

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 British 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 British Open.[2]

He competed at the 1979, 1983 and 1985 Ryder Cups, collecting 1.5 points in 10 matches.

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 is often 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]

At the 1997 Masters Tournament, Zoeller made what some considered to be a racist remark 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."[4] K-Mart and Dunlop ceased sponsoring Zoeller after the incident.[5][6]

"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."[4]

"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."[7]

Zoeller later offered an apology directly to Woods, which Woods accepted.[8]

WorldHeritage controversy

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 WorldHeritage article about Zoeller in December 2006, originating from a computer at that firm.[9][10] According to the suit, the edits suggested Zoeller had committed acts including alcohol, drugs and domestic abuse.[11] Defendant Josef Silny said a computer consultant would investigate.[12][13] However, Zoeller dropped the lawsuit in December 2007 after being unsuccessful in finding the poster.[14] Zoeller was unable to sue WorldHeritage for the statements due to protections accorded to providers of "interactive computer services" under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.[15]

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)

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

Other wins (4)

  • 1985 Skins Game
  • 1986 Skins Game
  • 1987 Merrill Lynch Shoot-Out Championship
  • 2003 Tylenol Par-3 Challenge

Champions Tour wins (2)

Senior major championship is shown in bold.

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 Ed Sneed, Tom Watson
1984 U.S. Open 1 shot deficit 71-66-69-70=276 −4 Playoff2 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 DNP DNP DNP 1
U.S. Open T38 T44 CUT CUT
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP CUT
PGA Championship DNP 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 DNP T15 CUT 1 T9 T15 CUT T8 CUT
The Open Championship CUT DNP T8 T14 T14 T11 T8 T29 T52 CUT
PGA Championship T41 2 CUT T6 DNP 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 DNP T28 CUT CUT
The Open Championship DNP T80 DNP T14 3 DNP CUT DNP DNP DNP
PGA Championship T14 CUT DNP T31 T19 69 T36 CUT DNP DNP
Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10


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)

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 Hale Irwin, Bobby Wadkins


  1. ^
  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.  
  4. ^ a b "'"Golfer says comments about Woods 'misconstrued. CNN. April 21, 1997. Retrieved May 22, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Kmart Drops Zoeller". The New York Times. April 23, 1997. Retrieved May 22, 2013. 
  6. ^ Sirak, Ron (February 15, 1998). "Daly, Zoeller are birds of a feather".  
  7. ^ "Zoeller Apologizes for Woods Comments". The New York Times. April 22, 1997. Retrieved May 22, 2013. 
  8. ^ Drape, Joe (May 21, 1997). "Woods Meets Zoeller For Lunch". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Golfer Zoeller sues law firm for WorldHeritage posting".  
  10. ^ "Golfer Sues Over Vandalized WorldHeritage Page".  
  11. ^ "Fuzzy teed off".  
  12. ^ "Zoeller sues to identify the author of a disputed entry on WorldHeritage". PGA of America. February 22, 2007. Archived from the original on March 27, 2007. Retrieved February 23, 2007. 
  13. ^ Zaharov-Reutt, Alex (February 25, 2007). "WorldHeritage entry causes pro-golfer Fuzzy Zoeller to sue". iTWire. Retrieved May 22, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Zoeller v. Josef Silny & Associates".  
  15. ^ Beaumont, Claudine (May 11, 2008). "WorldHeritage fights defamation lawsuit".  

External links

  • Official website
  • Fuzzy Zoeller at the PGA Tour official site
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