Some people call him a savior, but Zoeller doesnt put it in those terms.
I don't know if you call it a savior, but to bring more people and more fans out to the golf course - I think all the Champions Tour will do the same thing, he said.
They're loosening up. They're interviewing guys while they're playing, which I think is a good idea. Now you know exactly what that player is thinking in between the shots.
In a sport where silence is mandatory and most of the players insist upon proper decorum, Zoeller is a throwback. He doesnt mind constant chatter one bit.
Let those people talk to me, he said. I don't mind that a bit. They paid good hard money to come out and watch us and I appreciate that. If I can say a few words back to them and make their day, then it's been worth it. They aren't going to disturb me.
The Champions Tour has developed several of what it calls fan initiatives to get spectators more involved in the actual play.
I think that's kind of neat. That brings the people into the game. We're not only promoting the tour, but also golf in general, Fuzzy said.
While much of golf is colorless and frankly, lifeless, Zoeller is colorful and full of life. I like to see people have fun and enjoy themselves, he says.
So he goes merrily along, whistling some long-forgotten tune, refusing to succumb to pressure when the tournament comes down to the final holes.
What's pressure? demands Fuzzy. It's just a word in the dictionary.
I think that's where the difference is, when you're a professional and amateur golfer. The professional has the patience to wait, where the amateur does not. The amateur, he goes running to find a guru to fix his golf swing. You just need to have patience with this game, especially in the professional ranks.
Sounds like a pretty carefree outlook for a man whose back looks like it lost a battle with an axe. Not since he was in high school has he been totally pain-free. He was going in for a layup in a schoolboy basketball game when another youngster undercut him, taking out his legs and bringing his full weight down to the gym floor squarely on his back. Zoeller has had three major surgeries to try to correct it, he eats Advil be the dozen, and still the work has had only limited success.
What the hell, that's part of playing sports, he said. You're going to have injuries. I'm lucky I went to the right people to fix this stuff. Most people go through life and suffer, I suffered, but I found somebody to fix it. I'm one of the fortunate ones. After three back surgeries I'm still out here playing;
I am one of those guys that never looks back. What's in the history is history. I chose to play basketball in high school and that's where the injury came from. Back then they told me I was going to have back problems later on in life. Little did I know that all the pain that I would have and the troubles that I have had.
But, you know, I don't say if I could have, should have, would have back then. That was the way it was and this is the cards I was dealt so you just got to deal with them.
The thing that keeps him coming out to the course, even at the age of 52, is those victory ceremonies.
I'll be honest with you, you never forget how to win, said Zoeller. Once you get in the hunt, you never forget. When you're out playing and you're in the battle of the game, it's amazing how fresh things come back to your mind. It's like you're a youngster again, you know exactly what you have to do.