The Masters Tournament® has a long-lived legacy as one of golf’s most prestigious tournaments. Starting back in 1934 and progressing on today, Augusta National® has seen many champions walk onto its course.
These Green Jacket Champions are nothing short of legendary, and as we count down to The Masters® 2019 we will uncover the story behind them all.
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Sometimes nicknames just stick. For Frank Urban Zoeller, the nickame "Fuzzy" (a name deriving from a play on words from his initials) stayed with him his entire life. Zoeller was born on November 11, 1951 in New Albany, Indiana, where he mastered the game of golf all the way through high school. Zoeller graduated from the University of Houston and started his professional career in 1973.
What followed was a long and consistent career for the kid from Indiana. Zoeller finished his career with 10 wins on the PGA Tour, including two major championships (The Masters® 1979 and the 1984 U.S. Open).
In 1985, Zoeller received the USGA's Bob Jones Award, which is a recognition of sportsmanship in the game.
The Masters®, 1979
Any golfer playing for the first time at The Masters® inherits an enormously steep hill to surmount. Everywhere they look there's a sea of talent and the best that the sport has to offer, whether its within their own group or just the playing field as a whole. That's why going into The Masters® 1979 tournament, no first-timer at the event had won since 1935 (keep in mind that The Masters® started in 1934).
Needless to say, nobody saw Fuzzy Zoeller coming in 1979. The 27-year old quietly entered the field at Augusta National® and continued to find ways to stick near the top of the scorecard for all four rounds. With three holes left to go, though, it didn't look like the tournament was his to win. Second and third round leader Ed Sneed had a three-shot lead with three holes remaining, but bogeyed his final three holes to allow his competition to make up ground.
This led to the first-ever sudden death playoff in The Masters® history between Sneed, Zoeller and Tom Watson. Before the sudden-death format, the playoff system was a full 18-hole round that was played on Monday.
It only took two holes for Zoeller to outlast both Watson and Sneed, as the youngest player of the trio birdied on the Par-4 11th hole to claim his first, and only, Green Jacket.
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