June 25, 2002
MARTY PARKES: Fuzzy, we had Tom Watson in first thing this morning. And they asked him about players he thought had a particularly good chance this week, and you were at the top of his list.
FUZZY ZOELLER: Why would he put pressure on me? Of course, I just did a thing with ESPN, and I mentioned his name. Trust me, it's a very, very good golf course. It's very, very fair. You hit the fairways, you've got legitimate shots at the greens. There are some greens out there that are a little busy that you're going to have to be very, very careful with. Other than that, everything is right in front of you, it's nice. It's nice to play golf courses like that.
Q. Can you talk about the Senior Tour in terms of the initiatives that they announced last November? Do you see anything changing much? Has it --?
FUZZY ZOELLER: You mean the positive things we're trying to do for the game?
Q. Yes, exactly.
FUZZY ZOELLER: Like with the Internet stuff and doing our --.
Q. Fans walking behind you?
FUZZY ZOELLER: I think that's kind of neat. That brings the people into the game. We're not only promoting the Senior Tour, but also golf in general. I do like the idea of the Internet stuff with the high tech., as we have gotten this day and age. It's time that we did that, having a player go on-line and talk to people that way. I've been involved in two of the -- I guess what would you call them, Q and A things on Sunday afternoon. It's gone over very, very big. People really want to see how we are, outside of the golf course. We let our hair down. The sky's the limit. They can ask any question they want to ask, and we normally give it to them.
Q. In terms of where this Tour is going, there has been some talk that Finchem is thinking about lowering the age limit down to 45, so you could have a 20 year and -- how do you feel about things like that?
FUZZY ZOELLER: I'll be honest with you, nobody wants to go through the lull years on the PGA TOUR, which are the years 42 to 50, there's about 8 years that are a lull. You're going to have some bright spots. You're going to play well once, twice a week, a year. But you're not going to get it consistently. And that's the reason why you're hearing that 45 age. But I think the number is at 50. I don't think we should go any lower. It's been like that, but that's my personal opinion. I know other guys say 45 would be the number. If it was 45, they should have dropped it 45 when they first started back out here.
Q. Earlier this year they said you were going to have to be a saviour for this Tour, and whether that's right or wrong, I don't know. But you didn't start as we thought you would --?
FUZZY ZOELLER: Wait, what are you talking about? I've made every cut. I've done well. Think about it? I didn't start out real good, I'll be honest with you. Of course I always take two months off, November and December. And then I try and jump back in. The Skins game, I wasn't quite ready. The first couple of weeks on the Senior Tour I wasn't ready. But I go as most golfers go. If our putter is hot, that relieves a lot of tension and pressure off the rest of the shots, so you don't have to try to squeeze that little shot in there, that extra 2 or 3 feet to get a closer putt.
Right now my patience level is very, very high, which earlier in the year it wasn't. For golfers, they'll also tell you that's a plus when you're playing well. As long as you have the patience to wait for things to happen.
Q. Was that a burden, the saviour business?
FUZZY ZOELLER: No, that's fine. Ben Crenshaw and I will do everything in our power, I don't know if you call it a saviour, but to bring more people and more fans out to the golf course. I think all the Senior Tour will do the same thing. 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.
Q. Could you talk a little bit more about how you're feeling about your game? Is the putter hot enough to make it two majors in a row?
FUZZY ZOELLER: There's always that possibility. Again, the key word when I said a while ago was my patience level is very, very high right now. It's like things are not bothering me. They're not distracting me. And when I hit a bad shot, which I will hit bad shots, everybody does out there, it doesn't even phase me anymore. It's all coming back in relation to the putter. I've got a pretty good feel for it, for some reason. And I'm making the key putts, the 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 footers.
Q. Is the weather going to affect you guys this week? If so, talk about that. And what type of shots do you have to avoid on this type of course out here at Caves Valley?
FUZZY ZOELLER: As far as the weather goes, you have to understand we play golf year-round. This is summertime, so we're kind of used to being out in the heat. I mean our game is played outside. I don't think it will affect the golfers nearly as much as everybody thinks, only because we're used to doing it outside. We know how to cope with the heat. For people who work in the air conditioning, they come out and spectate, yeah, it's going to be hotter than hell out there. It's summertime, it's supposed to be hot.
Q. The second part of the question was what type of things are you going to have to avoid in order to have a decent chance. We saw one gentleman drive, and his drive floated off and dropped into the rough and disappeared?
FUZZY ZOELLER: That's a major tournament for you. The one thing you always avoid in major tournaments, you try to avoid, are your big holes, such as your double bogey holes. There's not going to be a lot of birdies. Like at Firestone up there, par is your number. If you can get the pars, par is going to be very, very close at the end of the week.
Q. Is the week leading up to the U.S. senior Open, the same feel as a U.S. Open would feel like?
FUZZY ZOELLER: Do I get the same feeling? You know what, only because -- the only difference is the fairways are a little bit more generous here. But that is the golf course play out, which is nice. I think the USGA has done a marvelous job of letting us play at this golf course. At Bethpage they closed everything in on the guys. Bethpage is a very difficult golf course. They probably didn't need to do all that, but you're still trying to make par the number.
Q. Last Sunday J.C. Snead won, hadn't won in 7 years, and we were questioning him about that. And he explained, well, you know, you have to get used to being in contention, and being ready to win. I wondered when you came on the Senior Tour, if you had that kind of transition, which might have taken you a while until you won?
FUZZY ZOELLER: I don't think so. I'll be honest with you, you never forget how to win. Once you get in the hunt, you never forget. It's just like it was yesterday. It was 16 years since I had won, and I turn up and win the PGA. But 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.
Q. Is there that much of a difference for you playing on the Senior Tour since the courses on the Tour seem to be like close to 7000 yards, and it doesn't seem to be that much of a factor with length being a decisive factor between now and the other Tour. Is the only thing that's played the people playing alongside you?
FUZZY ZOELLER: I don't know, when I first came out on the Senior Tour, I was looking for those 63, 6400 yard golf courses. I haven't seen one yet. I know there's got to be one somewhere. Maybe I might have missed it. But all the courses we played so far have been right at seven thousand, 7100. But that's fine. If that's the way we play it, it's fair for one, fair to all in that deal. But if you listen to the PGA TOUR, you think they're playing pitch and putt. Only because they don't want to give the old guys credit. These guys are good at what they do.
Q. I can remember you winning the Open, and the towel that was the white flag, would there be a similar feel here? Is it doubly important to win a Senior Open if you won a U.S. Open is what I'm trying to say?
FUZZY ZOELLER: I think any major tournament for golfers, for some reason we're judged by how many majors we win during our career. It's not how many tournaments or how much money you've won, it's all by the Majors, that's kind of what we're judged by. Yes, it would give you the same feeling. There's no better feeling in the world than beating the best at what they do.
MARTY PARKES: Thanks for coming in, good luck this week.
End of FastScripts....