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March 29, 1996

Fuzzy Zoeller


WES SEELEY: Fuzzy Zoeller. Well, 66 first round which finished this morning, then 70 for 8 under par, 136. How is it going?

FUZZY ZOELLER: Is that a dumb, damn question? I mean -- (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.) It is going good. I can't complain. I hit the ball well yesterday, hit the ball well today, and made some nice putts this morning. Now you are going to ask me was it a break to come back at 7:10 this morning? I'd say if you were 44 years old, you don't sleep a hell of lot. Yeah, that was kind of a break. Only pissed me off I didn't get my newspaper this morning, only thing that upset me. But I don't think there is an advantage. I mean, I was talking to a few other sports writers in the media out here, they said it might have been an advantage for the guys to come back this morning. I think it is only the case like myself. I mean, I left with a birdie on the 10th hole yesterday, and I drove it straight down the middle on the 11th. So I left with a good feeling. And people, you all know especially how golf is a very mental game, so had good thoughts working all night long.

Q. When did you start being able to grip the club? I mean, you were having so much --


Q. Wednesday, could you play at all?

FUZZY ZOELLER: I played six holes Wednesday. I have had a lot done to that finger. Let us see, I had cortisone, I have had a voodoo guy come over and do a dance on it, had acupuncture done to it Thursday morning. It is in good shape. It is feeling a little better.

Q. Where do you get acupuncture in Ponte Vedra?

FUZZY ZOELLER: You have to ask Mike Kowolski (PH), something like that, his last name. Right down here on James Butler and 95. He called me out of the blue about 7:30 Thursday morning, said would you be interested in having an acupuncture? I said come on, bring it, let's go. Anything that will help. I will try anything once. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.) Sure. I mean, I am not gun shy with any of it. Like trainers sent me out the trailer said if anything will help, try it.

Q. What is wrong with it?

FUZZY ZOELLER: Had a calcium deposit that has grown on the knuckle. What it is, I guess, my fourth finger, second finger in. And it hits right where I grip the club with the other knuckle. So it is bone to bone. And it's gotten very, very sore. That is a step right before old age, I think, is what it is. You heard about the two guys that went and bought flowers? The one guy bought flowers for his wife. You didn't hear that one? Other guy said God, he said, those are beautiful chrysanthemums. Guy said hey, those aren't chrysanthemums, those are roses. He said, no, he said those are chrysanthemums. He said oh, well, how do you spell chrysanthemums? He says by God, they are roses. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.) That will give you one to put in your book.

Q. When did this start?

FUZZY ZOELLER: Started last year. It's gotten progressively worse. We have been treating it -- the treatments and medication. I have blood pressure working. Seems like it lasts for three, four days, then it goes back to hurting again.

Q. Did the acupuncture help?

FUZZY ZOELLER: It is the acupuncture or was the cortisone shot. I don't know. Like I said, all I can do is try the different things. I know the cortisone worked on Paul Azinger. I might have to say the cortisone. But acupuncture did not hurt at all.

Q. Where did they put the needles in?

FUZZY ZOELLER: Five on the knuckle and two on the ends. It is not that bad. It really wasn't. A cup of coffee and good newspaper, it is all over with, 20 minutes.

Q. Is it something you can operate on, just went in and breaks it up?

FUZZY ZOELLER: That is what they tried to do, break it up. I think it is not as puffy as it was. Whatever they are doing, they are doing it right.

Q. Is it painful?

FUZZY ZOELLER: Very painful.

WES SEELEY: Want to do birdies on the second round?

FUZZY ZOELLER: Is that what round that was? (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.)

WES SEELEY: The one we just completed.

FUZZY ZOELLER: I am going to have been out so long, I can't remember: 11th hole I hit a sand wedge in from about 70 yards to about three feet short of the hole. I can remember that one.

WES SEELEY: Three pars, then birdied 15.

FUZZY ZOELLER: Birdied 15. 15, I was very fortunate, I drove it down the right side, right of the bunker, hit a little wild tee shot, caught a very good lie, hit 8-iron over the big pine tree, over the mound, right by the hole about three, four inches. It was nice. I can make most of those. George, you can make most of those. And then I hit a 2-iron on 16 to about 25 feet, and just left of the hole and 2-putted.

WES SEELEY: Round to one.

FUZZY ZOELLER: Number one I hit 9-iron from 147 yards; it was playing downwind, to about ten feet behind the hole, eight feet, ten feet somewhere in there. Then I made about a 15-footer at two. Hit a good three, wound the right side, then my chip ran just a little bit past the hole on me. Then made a good putt there. And then I guess you'd say I ran into a wall, but I hit a couple ugly shots on the next couple of holes. That is where I proved there to everybody I was human. I was rolling there pretty good. I put the ball in just the absolute most spots that you can put it in, and I made a double bogey and a bogey at the fourth hole.

Q. Where was that worst spot?

FUZZY ZOELLER: Long and left, and about two inches in the back bunker on the downslope of it. So then I tried to play a caddie shot, 6-iron, roll it through the trap up over the grass, through the high grass onto the green. It went on beyond and had chipped up about three-and-a-half feet and missed the putt. Five, net four; though I want you to remember net four. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.) It sounds better, net. Give me a net score on those two holes, Mr. Zoeller, is all you are asking, net four. Next hole I fanned my tee shot on four, hit 9-iron just off the back right over the green. When I did that I was kind of -- I had a very difficult chip shot. Little muffy grass with no green to work with. I had blooped it down there about four feet and missed that one. That is golf. But again, a net four, so I was very happy. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.)

Q. Gets a stroke on a par three?

FUZZY ZOELLER: If they are giving, I am taking.

Q. Do you feel like you are sort of back now after the back and all the problems last year?

FUZZY ZOELLER: I am getting very close, George. I have been working very hard. I had a little bit more of a difficult time this year getting back into it to convince myself that I was well. And then the hand started to flare up, and it seemed like once I got the mental part of it, telling myself when I'm fine, that I can go on and play, the hand acts up; then I start flinching at the ball because of this. So, yeah, I am getting real close to it.

Q. Is this back surgery like the one you had in 1984?

FUZZY ZOELLER: This was a cat's meow. I was telling Seve. He is suffering. God bless him, because I have been there, and I know how he feels. I said there is no reason in the world this day and age you have to suffer. I mean, these guys are good, they go in and do what they have to do and you will be better in, like, two or three weeks, or maybe a month. He has been sitting there suffering; trying to say, listen -- these guys are saying: "Exercise, exercise." It is not working for him. He has got to go have surgery done and he has got to go look in the mirror and say let us go do it. So I have got him lined up with a guy in New York. Hopefully he will get up there and see him.

Q. What was it exactly, the surgery?

FUZZY ZOELLER: I blew another disc out. I did -- I will tell you when I did it. Hartford, last year on the 11th hole on Saturday. I felt it jarred me pretty good. I didn't say anything. I got the bag full of medication. I started firing those babies down. I was real happy there for a couple of days. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER). Then I went to Albany, New York and I did a Monday or a Tuesday deal and then I flew down to Memphis and Wednesday the Pro Am I had felt pretty good; had little twinges. Thursday I hit the driver and 5-iron on the first hole; that was hit. It locked right up on me. But I figured it was another disc. But you know, again, I have got so many commitments during the year. I didn't want to take the chance of going and having the surgery and having it not work and then I would have been out a whole year, out the commitments. So I stayed and patched her up, and put some tape together and finished the year out and in November I went and had it done.

Q. What is your -- what are you going to be doing the rest of the week for your finger, more acupuncture; more shots?

FUZZY ZOELLER: I will probably have another shot of acupuncture. Mike did tell me if I needed another one if I thought it was working, please, give him a call. I will do that this afternoon. It is the neatest little thing. He brings in this little bag and all full of needles and he just goes "psst psst psst." It is a cat's meow.

Q. No, it just makes cats meow.

FUZZY ZOELLER: Oh; is that right? Or whatever.

Q. Did Seve say he is going to go to New York?

FUZZY ZOELLER: I think Seve is thinking about it now. I think he is tired of fighting the pain.

Q. Was that the guy that did you the first time with the --

FUZZY ZOELLER: Same guy, Ralph.

Q. What is his name?

FUZZY ZOELLER: Ralph Marcove - God bless him.

Q. Was there a big difference in your rehab this time versus last time?

FUZZY ZOELLER: This time he developed a new method. I went in 8 o'clock in the morning; did all my paperwork. They took me into the surgery at 9:00. I walked out of the hospital and standing in the front door at 11 o'clock. Now, the other time I walked in the hospital on a Tuesday; they operated on a Thursday and I walked out six weeks later, so, yeah, there is a big difference. Yeah.

Q. Since we are having golf medicine one-on-one, why are so many of you wearing the copper bracelets?

FUZZY ZOELLER: This is that magnet stuff that they have come out with that is supposed to help pull the arthritis and Tendinitis, all this other good stuff, out of your body. I have been wearing one now for, I guess, a little over a year and the jury still out on it whether it works or not. I mean, I am still having trouble, but it looks kind of cute, so what the hell, I figure I'd wear it. And another thing, it is free so, the key word there was "free." (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER.)

Q. We can understand that. Have you seen Tommy Tolles play?

FUZZY ZOELLER: No, I have not. I know who Tommy Tolles is, but I never played with him. Obviously, he is lapping the field right now, isn't he? And you know, the way golf is, you have seen the last three weeks on the PGA TOUR, anything is -- I mean, anything can happen. But that is -- he is playing very, very well. Here is another guy - this old man right here, he is playing awfully well too, Jay Haas.

Q. Guy shooting 64 first time he sees the course, I mean, first time he has been here, it takes people a while to learn how to play this course?

FUZZY ZOELLER: He just hasn't hit it crooked. You hit it crooked a couple of times; find some of those bad spots, he will say "ooh ooh" --

Q. Are you playing Atlanta by the way?

FUZZY ZOELLER: No, I am not. Doing a fishing show down in Mobile, Alabama.

Q. Is that one that got canceled?

FUZZY ZOELLER: This is one of them that got canceled.

Q. Latest procedure for your back, you said it was -- you were in at 8; out at 11 that morning. What did they do?

FUZZY ZOELLER: They took two long probes, did a back X-ray; went through the disc into the area that was protruding or blown out; took another probe; one right beside it; took a needle. It felt like a Rotor Rooter sound, that is exactly what it sounded like, I could feel it. I was awake through the whole thing.

Q. So it is arthroscopic surgery?

FUZZY ZOELLER: In a way, yeah. They just pulled that baby out, a vial of disc is what he took out. It was all kind of gray black muckish looking stuff. He said "there it is." I said "fine;" then I asked him, I said, "when can I play golf?" He said, "tomorrow morning, if you feel like it." That was a bit premature, but -- I laid off another month. I laid off a whole month before I did it. But it was amazing. It is amazing what they can do with medicine nowadays.

Q. November is when you had this done?

FUZZY ZOELLER: It was a Tuesday after the Shark Shootout. Whenever that was. I can't help you. I don't know. All those days run together when I am off, you know what I mean?

WES SEELEY: That is the 21st.

Q. What was the hospital?

FUZZY ZOELLER: Columbia University.


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