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July 28, 2009

Fuzzy Zoeller


PETE KOWALSKI: Please welcome Fuzzy Zoeller, winner of ten PGA Tour events, including the Masters Championship and the USGA U.S. Open Championship, and two Champions Tour events, including the PGA Senior.
FUZZY ZOELLER: See, that is living proof. He is living proof that we must write this stuff down, you know what you mean, so we don't forget.

Q. How is the golf course?
FUZZY ZOELLER: The golf course is fine. In beautiful shape. Now people ask me if I have been up there since '91, and I have not. I have not. The last thing I want to do when I come home is go play golf. I own two courses at home and I never play them. It's just one of those things.
But it's absolutely immaculate. The last couple days have played entirely different. Yesterday morning it played very, very long, and this morning, for some crazy reason, it played a little shorter. I can't explain why that is.
It was a little warmer this morning so the ball was going just a little bit further. It should make for a very good championship. I think the USGA, they don't get a lot of credit, and probably don't deserve a lot of credit, but I'll give 'em a little credit this week. They set this golf course up very, very fair for the players.
I think there will be probably some good scores shot, but I think overall the golf course will win.

Q. Who will win?
FUZZY ZOELLER: The guy that shoots the lowest score. I don't know. It's an Open. One thing about U.S. Opens: Par is your number. Try to keep it as close to par as possible.
So I would say if you're 2-under maybe, or even par, 1 or 2-over. Again, it depends on Mother Nature. If she comes in and rains on us tonight and rains tomorrow, that's gonna make the golf course play much longer.
So then you have in favor of the golf course as opposed to being in favor of the players.

Q. A couple years ago Watson made a run in Kansas, and of course the fans went crazy at Prairie Dunes. Will you expect similar support and the pressure of having to maybe deal with that?
FUZZY ZOELLER: Well, you know, I don't think of it as pressure. Embarrassment maybe if I don't show. All I can do is try. I told the guys on the radio the other morning that I tell everybody like I tell my wife every time I leave the house: Always assume I am trying. Even though it doesn't look like it, and I'm out there chopping around like some hack, I am trying my damndest.
But I've been hitting the ball pretty well. It's a matter of if the putter wants to act right or not. But again, it's an Open golf course. I'm not real sure you need a hot putter, I just think you need to play smart.
Yes, Phil?

Q. You've been away from the TOUR for a few weeks, and you just mentioned you're playing a little better on the putter. What's come around for and you where is your putting?
FUZZY ZOELLER: Well, you know, I've got a good feel, Phil, I'm just not making anything. That's kind of the way it runs. I'm like probably three fourths of golfers who play this crazy game are streaky golfers. You kind of we go as our putters go.
Once you are start making putts it takes all the pressure off the rest of your game. When I played Minnesota I didn't make anything. I got close. They were looking like they wanted to go, but they would just go up and just peel off.
Is it speed? I don't know. I thought I hit putts pretty good. They looked good, they just didn't want to drop in. It's just a game of patience.
There's one thing about winning an Open or a British Open, you got to have patience galore, because some crazy things are gonna happen, and you just gotta just bear it. It's a long week.

Q. Along the same lines, when Crooked Stick was awarded this tournament, do you remember when you first heard that? Did you make any special preparations as far as shooting to that even a year or two ago just thinking about the opportunity it be here and play here?
FUZZY ZOELLER: Well, now, a year ago we did the kickoff in June I think it was last year where we had the big press day out here. I was up for that. The only thing that scared me a little bit was when Pete Dye got up and said he had stretched the golf course out to 73,600 or something. I had to speak right after him, and I said, Oh, Pete, Pete, you're losing the fact that we're over 50 years old. We're trying to bring it back it us so we can have some fun.
But like I say, it's a long golf course. It's a long ball-hitters golf course. Always has been. I think if you're driving the ball well and you're a long hitter, you should fare fairly well this week.
As far as preparation, I went fishing in Montana and I was fishing in Canada for to weeks. So, no, I haven't really done anything really crazy.

Q. Easiest holes for scoring on the golf course and toughest holes for scoring on the golf course.
FUZZY ZOELLER: I think the easiest hole is No. 1, if you don't try to drive it down there too far. It's a pretty easy hole. Again, the further down you go the tighter your target area it. That's true on about 90% of the holes out here. You gotta kind of play back and play your percentages and keep it in the fairway and go for the wider part of the fairway.
Now, where John Daly was so good at that, when he was here in '91 he knocked it over all the trouble. When it really went wide, it went out to like 55, 60 yards. I'm shooting back into a 25-yard area and he's shooting to a 50, 60 yard area only because of his length. So length does play a big part here.
Toughest holes, again, it depends on your winds. Ten is no bargain. It's a long straightaway maybe a smidge to the right, but it's always into the wind. I've never hit anything less than a 3-iron to that hole. Two 2-irons and a 3-iron today. So I was playing a little shorter today.
But again, 14, that 480 yard monstrosity that he built over there. It's got you hitting away from your target and going the other way with a green that I'm not sure -- I don't know what Pete was thinking about when he built that green. The green was built for like a 7-iron or 8-iron, and we're back hitting 3-woods and 2 -- irons and 4-irons to it. But it is a challenge, I will tell you. Hit the right area and hope it funnels back on down there.

Q. You asked if anybody had a Fuzzy and tonic. How is the distilling business going?
FUZZY ZOELLER: Oh, you know, it just came out. Thank you for asking. You didn't know that, did you? You do know about that. Well, I do. I've got my new vodka that just came out June 1st. The great kickoff was right here this week. This last week -- this week -- for the new Fuzzy Vodka. We've had a great response.
I mean, like last night I did a couple store appearances, and they went through 22 cases of signed Fuzzy Vodka. I hope the people enjoy it because it is very good stuff. I hope they drink responsibly, and hopefully they'll make a lot more three-footers if they're on it.

Q. With what Tom did two weeks ago, do you think that opened up maybe a whole new generation of fans that will be following the Senior Tour and you guys this week?
FUZZY ZOELLER: I don't know, but I will tell you one thing: Damn, he was close. He played tremendous. He really did. It's a shame that Tom will probably be remembered for that putt on the 18th hole. But think of all the putts that he made before he got to that 18th hole and the shots he played.
A man that is 59 years old and still nerves of steel except for a little shake at the last hole. How many people would love to been in his shoes? I'm one of them.
I wouldn't have cared if I had got that ball halfway to the hole. To have the opportunity to beat the best at what they do is by far the greatest feeling in the world. So my hat's off to Tom Watson.
Now as far as for the older guys like myself, I thought it was great. I'm glad he and Greg Norman play well. Do I have any interest in going back over and trying to compete against these young whipper snappers? No, no. I'll stay right here on our tour.

Q. You mentioned '91. With all the golf that you play and the golf courses that you play, when you're out here the last couple days, do any memories come back to you from your rounds 18 years ago?
FUZZY ZOELLER: Well, you know, you do remember a few things. Like I remembered the 14th green and I remember the 13th green. Other than that, I had to refresh my mind on -- you know, these greens have a lot of slope, and you gotta hit it in the right area. If you don't, you're gonna have a long, long week.
So like I say, 13 has got just one little area on the left and one little area on the right, and the rest of the green you just blow up because there's no place for pins. Hit it in the middle of the green, you're going over the back edge. That's just the way it's designed. It's crazy.
You got to be accurate on the par-3s. One little ten foot area every time you play that hole or you're gonna make a bogey. Those are about the only two that I do remember.

Q. Just a clarification about you and this golf course. Have you played it very much at all?
FUZZY ZOELLER: From '91, no. You know what, God bless them they made me an honorary member, or was it ornery member. They said one of those two words. I can't really remember. But no, I haven't had an opportunity to get up there. I would love to have, but I just didn't have time.

Q. People think it's close, but it's not really that close.
FUZZY ZOELLER: No, I'm 120 miles. That is the last thing I want to do after coming off the road is travel 120 miles to play golf.

Q. Arnold played in this event back in 1980 and they lowered the age from 55 to 50 to accommodate Arnold. Of course that helped with the growth of the Senior Tour and so forth. Arnold turns 80 in September, and I'm wondering if you had any thoughts on a man turning 80 that everybody loves.
FUZZY ZOELLER: 80 years old. How many rounds of golf he's played, how many autographs that man has sold or given away and how much he's done for charity. He's the greatest. I think what I'll dol, I'll send him 80 bottles of Fuzzy Vodka. Oh, there will be a small charge. It won't be free. (Laughter.)
No, it's tremendous to make it 80 years. And God love him, he's still in pretty good health. Still in good health. He says getting old, you know what it is, it just sucks. I tell him it's an option. You can at least still get out and still play golf. You don't have to go at it as hard as you used to, but you can still have fun with it.

Q. (No microphone.)
FUZZY ZOELLER: Two weeks ago. Minnesota. It's kind of funny. We had the Minnesota fling with the Fuzzy Vodka and I got Kit on it. I thought the easiest way to get to the man is get to the wife. Kit really liked it. Arnold is a Ketel One guy. He said Kit, if you like eating and you like the food on our table, you better drink the other stuff.
I looked at him and I said, Wait a minute, Arnold. I don't want a plane as big as yours. I just want to be able to put fuel in mine. So there you have it. But I got Kit to drink it. She really likes it.

End of FastScripts

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