June 24, 2003
RAND JERRIS: It's a pleasure to be joined in the interview area by Fuzzy Zoeller, Fuzzy playing in his second Senior Open. Fuzzy, 1979 Masters, 1984 U.S. Open; you have some experience winning majors; 2002 Senior. Can you talk to us about the preparations of preparing for a major championship.
FUZZY ZOELLER: All I can tell you, you hope when you bring your golf bag out of the car you got all of your shots in that bag. You will need them for major tournaments. The other thing more is your patience level high. You are going to make bogeys and occasionally a double bogey. But if your patience level -- birdies will happen. You got to play patient golf. You got to make pars. Pars are the numbers, it's the way it is in all major tournaments.
Q. This is your fourth time playing in a major at Inverness, can you talk about the golf course and how it fits with Fuzzy Zoeller's game?
FUZZY ZOELLER: I think Inverness is from the tee to the fairway. Everybody knows about the greens being very, very fast. But trying to hit those damn small fairways is going to be the key. Keep the ball in the fairways this week so can you get the shot into the green.
RAND JERRIS: We will take some questions out here.
Q. Sort of a two-part. You played yesterday or today already. Could you talk a bit about the five-hole stretch starting with No. 3 and how tough that stretch of holes is and the impact it's going to have over 72 holes?
FUZZY ZOELLER: Yes, well, first of all I did play this morning at 8:40. We started off on the back 9 so when I got around to number 3, I was nice and lose. Those are definitely critical holes: 4, 5, 6 and 7. I just -- there is no birdie holes; that's about all I can tell you.
The par-3s are very difficult because of the severity in the greens. I think if you are going miss, the best place is to miss is short, to chip up the hills as opposed to trying to putt up and over them, or chip from the sides. But good golf holes, very fair; a very true test of golf around that bend.
Q. You had been here a couple weeks earlier for nine holes in a corporate thing and you talked about how it didn't fit your angles?
FUZZY ZOELLER: Yes.
Q. Can you talk and maybe in layman's terms explain what you mean by that?
FUZZY ZOELLER: Well, it's just like sighting on a rifle. When you sight a rifle you like to look at your object and look at your target in order to get the gun shooting straight. Now, when I stand on the tee I'm not getting a great feel of where I am supposed to be and where I am supposed to aim at. I don't know why that is. Certain golf courses are like that.
So you're going to ask me what do I have to do? Play back further, play more 3-woods, 4-woods and try to get that ball in a position to where I have just a little bit more room for error there.
Q. When you feel that way about a course before a tournament starts, or maybe you don't feel real comfortable on it, is it hard to convince yourself that you will be able to play well at all?
FUZZY ZOELLER: Well, not really. Again, there are golf courses that you do feel comfortable on. Aronimink was a great place for me. I stepped up on every tee and it seemed like every tee shot was -- you could feel it. You could feel the left-to-right or right to left. It was a great feeling. Here I step up and I am not sure whether I should hit a fade or try to hit a hook because of the feeling that I'm getting. But again, every golfer is different. So golfers like that look down that fairway and get a nice target to shoot out.
Again, we have another day tomorrow to practice. Maybe I will pick a tree out or something. Hopefully the storms won't come through and blow it out. It does happen. But it is the U.S. Open, maybe they will plant a new one for me. I just had to say that.
Did you get that? Were you with us when that happened?
RAND JERRIS: I wasn't.
FUZZY ZOELLER: Picking the clubs off the tee was critical for me. Whether it's a 4-wood, 3-wood or even a 3-iron.
Q. Some of the players have said par or above par will win this golf tournament; I wonder what you thought about that?
FUZZY ZOELLER: Again, it is a major. Par is always a great score in major tournaments. Every once in a while you have a freak like Jim Furyk at the U.S. Open this week where one player gets hot. Jimmy did everything right; he was hitting the fairways, leading the greens in regulation. That didn't surprise me, plus they caught the golf course for two days in a soft condition. If it doesn't rain I will say par will be a great score. If it does rain the players have an advantage and they can stand there and fire at those little greens.
RAND JERRIS: Fuzzy, thanks for your time.
FUZZY ZOELLER: Thank you very much.
RAND JERRIS: Good luck this week.
FUZZY ZOELLER: Thank you.
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