'The commissioner called me and said, `Accept my apology. We screwed up.' That was good enough for me,' Zoeller said Monday at a charity breakfast in South Florida.
Zoeller was disqualified Friday for hitting practice shots on the Crandon Park Golf Course after his first-round 73 at the Royal Caribbean Classic.
Zoeller agreed to give a lesson to a local television reporter, and because the practice range was full, decided to use the vacant sixth tee. Such lessons are part of the tour's new fan-friendly initiatives, and Zoeller figured it was OK.
'Everybody in their right mind who plays competitive golf knows you can't go back out on the golf course,' Zoeller said. 'It was set up through the Champions Tour, not Fuzzy Zoeller. I didn't do this. But one of our rules officials came out and started screaming and yelling and acting like I was a criminal. I thought everybody knew about it because it was our people that lined it up.'
As soon as Zoeller hit his first demonstration shot, officials said he was in violation of Rule 7-1-b, which prohibits practicing on the tournament course between rounds.
Tour spokesman Bob Combs said miscommunication was partly to blame. He said the tournament staff approved of Zoeller going to the sixth tee, but the camera crew suggested without authority that he hit a shot.
The tour plans to send letters to every player in the field this week in Naples to clarify that under no circumstances are they to use the golf course for instructional tips once the tournament has started.