1979 Masters champion Fuzzy Zoeller shares thoughts on 2020 Masters

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AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – APRIL 14: Tiger Woods of the United States putts for birdie on the 16th green as patrons look on during the final round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 14, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Masters is usually the first major championship of the year. For the first time, it is scheduled to be the last major of the season. The tournament intends to play November 12-15, 2020.

New Albany, Indiana native Fuzzy Zoeller won The Masters in 1979. He won his first professional tournament in San Diego earlier that year, which earned him a spot at Augusta National.

“It’s not going to be the same. But, it’s Augusta,” Zoeller told FOX59’s JoJo Gentry. “It’s a very, very special place for all golfers.”

Since the tournament began in 1934, three players have won the Masters at their first attempts. Horton Smith did it in 1934. Gene Sarazen did it the following year. Fuzzy Zoeller did it 44 years later.

“There has been a lot of wounded warriors come out of those gates from all the humble pie they had to swallow playing that golf course,” Zoeller said.

As players expect to play The Masters six months later than usual, they will plan to prepare for various course conditions.

“It’s going to be cooler. So, the golf ball is not going to go as far. It’ll probably be a little drier. And the golf course will probably play a little faster, which I think would be to the players’ advantage,” Zoeller said. “But, the greens will be much faster. And I can’t imagine those greens getting any faster.”

The timing of this year’s Masters tournament is convenient for some local golf professionals. Meridian Hills head golf pro Todd Firestone usually cannot take much time away from work during the spring when courses get busy.

“It’s the first thing I did when I came in this morning was put that in my book for that week in November to hopefully be down at Augusta the whole week,” Firestone said.

As a former champion, Zoeller will be at Augusta too.

“It’s a great feeling shaking their hands and having them walk up to you saying, ‘Mister Zoeller’ instead of Fuzzy,” he said. “I told them Mister Zoeller passed away about sixteen to eighteen years ago. I’m just Fuzzy and I always will be Fuzzy.”

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