Fuzzy Zoeller was born on this day in 1951. An American professional golfer who has won two major championships. He is one of three golfers to have won The Masters in his first appearance in the event. He also won the 1984 US Open, which earned him the 1985 Bob Jones Award.
Born and raised in New Albany, Indiana, Zoeller attended Edison Junior College in Florida, transferred to the University of Houston, and became a professional golfer in 1973. Zoeller won both of his two majors in playoffs: the 1979 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in a three-way sudden-death playoff with Ed Sneed and Tom Watson; and the 1984 US Open at Winged Foot Golf Club after an 18-hole playoff with Greg Norman.
In 1979, Zoeller became the first golfer since 1935 to win The Masters in his first appearance in the event. The only two other golfers to have won The Masters on their debut at Augusta were the winners of the first two Masters tournaments Horton Smith and Gene Sarazen, in 1934 and 1935 respectively. It was the first sudden-death playoff at The Masters; the previous six playoffs were 18-hole rounds on Monday (except 1935, which was 36 holes).
For much of his career, Zoeller was famous for waving a white towel in mock surrender from the fairway of the 72nd hole of the 1984 US Open, after Greg Norman holed a long putt on the 72nd green to tie Zoeller for the tournament lead. At the end of the 18-hole playoff the next day between Norman and Zoeller (which Zoeller won by 8 strokes), Norman waved a white towel himself, returning the joke.
Zoeller was voted the 1985 winner of the Bob Jones Award, the highest honor given by the United States Golf Association in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf.
Zoeller shared the 54-hole lead in the 1994 Open Championship after a 3rd round of 64, but finished the tournament in 3rd place, his best-ever finish in the British Open. Zoeller missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the 18th green in his 3rd round at Turnberry which would have tied the record for the best single round at the British Open.
In 2002, Zoeller joined the Champions Tour and won the Senior PGA Championship, a senior major, that year. He also won the 2004 MasterCard Championship.