Fuzzy Zoeller

You don’t interview Zoeller as much as you initiate a conversation and then hang on for dear life. You can try to direct it now and then, but it’s going to be a bumpy ride. That’s OK, though, getting interesting stories from him is a tap-in putt.

He built his game in the dirt in New Albany, taking advantage of the fact he grew up on a nine-hole public course. He’s mostly self-taught, and came up the hard way. He finished second in the state high school meet, went to a junior college in Florida, went on to Houston, didn’t get along with the coach, left to play on the satellite tours and then finally established himself on the PGA Tour. He won the Masters in his first attempt, and later won the US Open, too.

He became famous for his carefree approach to the game. He made it a point to have fun, carrying on dialogue with fans, cooperating with the media and keeping things light. That got him in trouble when he went too far while joking about Tiger Woods, but he overcame that controversy. Now he plays occasionally on the Champions Tour and makes a killing selling Fuzzy’s Vodka.

We did this one over the telephone when he was in Florida, but he gets back to Indiana frequently. I still haven’t met him face-to-face, but with Fuzzy you feel like you’re a buddy from the first conversation.

First aired 2014

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