Life and careerZoeller was born November 11, 1951 in New Albany, Indiana. He attended the University of Houston and became a professional golfer in 1973. He has won two major championships: the 1979 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club and the 1984 U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club.
Zoeller is one of only three golfers to have won The Masters in his first appearance in the event. The other two were the winners of the first two Masters, Horton Smith and Gene Sarazen. Zoeller was voted the 1985 Bob Jones Award, the highest honor given by the United States Golf Association in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf.
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.
ControversiesZoeller 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?" For much of his career, Zoeller was most 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 a whopping 8 strokes), Norman waved a white towel himself, returning the joke.
But at the 1997 Masters tournament, Zoeller made an off-hand 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." K-Mart and Dunlop ceased sponsoring Zoeller after the incident.
"I know Fuzzy, and it was obvious to me that he was attempting to be funny," number-one ranked golf pro 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."
"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."
Zoeller later offered an apology directly to Woods, which Woods accepted.
On June 1, 2009, he launched a new venture, "Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka."
Wikipedia controversyOn February 13, 2007, Zoeller sued the Miami foreign-credential evaluation firm of Josef Silny & Associates. The lawsuit alleged that defamatory statements appeared in the Wikipedia article about Zoeller in December 2006, originating from a computer at that firm. According to the suit, the edits suggested Zoeller had committed acts of alcohol, drug, and domestic abuse. Defendant Josef Silny said a computer consultant would investigate. However, Zoeller finally dropped the lawsuit in December 2007 after being unsuccessful in finding the poster. 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.
Amateur wins (3)
- 1972 Florida State Junior College Championship (individual)
- 1973 Old Capital Invitational (Indiana)
- 1973 Indiana State Amateur
PGA Tour wins (10)
|No.||Date||Tournament||Winning Score||Margin of Victory||Runner(s)-up|
|1||Jan 28, 1979||Andy Williams-San Diego Open Invitational||-6 (76-67-67-72=282)||4 strokes|| Billy Kratzert, |
|2||Apr 15, 1979||Masters Tournament||-8 (70-71-69-70=280)||Playoff||Ed Sneed, Tom Watson|
|3||May 17, 1981||Colonial National Invitation||-6 (67-69-68-70=274)||4 strokes||Hale Irwin|
|4||Apr 18, 1983||Sea Pines Heritage||-9 (67-72-65-71=275)||2 strokes||Jim Nelford|
|5||Sep 28, 1983||Panasonic Las Vegas Pro Celebrity Classic||-15 (63-70-70-64-73=340)||4 strokes||Rex Caldwell|
|6||Jun 17, 1984||U.S. Open||-4 (71-66-69-70=276)||Playoff||Greg Norman|
|7||Mar 10, 1985||Hertz Bay Hill Classic||-9 (70-72-66-67=275)||2 strokes||Tom Watson|
|8||Feb 2, 1986||AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am||-11 (69-66-70=205)||3 strokes||Payne Stewart|
|9||Apr 20, 1986||Sea Pines Heritage||-8 (68-68-69-71=276)||1 stroke|| Chip Beck, |
|10||Jul 13, 1986||Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic||-10 (70-68-72-64=274)||2 strokes||Jodie Mudd|
Other wins (4)
Champions Tour wins (2)Senior major championship is shown in bold.
Other senior wins (3)
- 2002 Senior Slam
- 2008 Wendy's Champions Skins Game (with Peter Jacobsen)
- 2009 Wendy's Champions Skins Game (with Ben Crenshaw)
|Year||Championship||54 Holes||Winning Score||Margin||Runner(s)-up|
|1979||Masters Tournament||6 shot deficit||-8 (70-71-69-70=280)||Playoff1||Ed Sneed, Tom Watson|
|1984||U.S. Open||1 shot lead||-4 (71-66-69-70-67=276)||Playoff2||Greg Norman|
2Defeated Greg Norman in a 18 hole playoff - Zoeller 67 (-3), Norman 75 (+5).
|The Open Championship||DNP||DNP||DNP||CUT|
|The Open Championship||CUT||DNP||T8||T14||T14||T11||T8||T29||T52||CUT|
|The Open Championship||DNP||T80||DNP||T14||3||DNP||CUT||DNP||DNP||DNP|
|The Open Championship||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP|
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10
Champions Tour major championships
|2002||Senior PGA Championship||−2 (69−71−70−68=278)||2 strokes||Hale Irwin, Bobby Wadkins|