Fuzzy Zoeller - June 14, 2012

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Fuzzy Zoeller won both the 1979 Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club and the 1984 U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club. Looking back at 1984, Zoeller said that he was very fortunate that he went into U.S. Open week playing well and hitting it well. The course was set up very well and the key was putting the ball in the right spots on the greens. The key to success at Winged Foot in 1984 is similar to what is the key to success at The Olympic Club in 2012.

When it comes to the best test in golf, Zoeller feels that it is The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. The U.S. Open is the most difficult test and when you look at The Olympic Club, you not only have to focus on where you place your ball on the greens but you also have to focus on where you place your ball in the fairways. The course is so narrow and tight that certain players including Tiger, Phil, and Bubba who do not tend to hit a lot of fairways will have a difficult time contending in his opinion.

In the playoff with Greg Norman in the 1984 U.S. Open, both of them played so fast that ABC Sports had to actually ask them to slow down. Another thing that Zoeller remembers is how he tried to break the tension of the moment by asking Norman if he wanted  to make a phone call on the first tee on Monday. Zoeller said that he was endorsed by AT&T at the time and said to Norman that any call that he made could go on his AT&T bill. The playoff ended up being a great day and he considers it one of the great honors of his career to have his name on the U.S. Open trophy.

He thinks that the golf course got away from the USGA in the 1974 U.S. Open at Winged Foot when Hale Irwin won the “massacre” just as the golf course got away from them in 1998 at The Olympic Club when Payne Stewart among others struggled mightily with what was an unfair pin position at 18 in the second round. It is a risk that the USGA takes every year at the U.S. Open and there have certainly been moments when the golf course has gotten away from them.