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July 17, 2013

DODD: Wolf challenge makes going pro easier

“You all think I am out here for my score. I’m not.”- Fuzzy Zoeller

 

In 1987 Fuzzy Zoeller was playing in a PGA TOUR event at Walt Disney World when he was told about two young boys attending the tournament who had just lost their mother, a cancer victim. He was simply asked for an autograph. However, he took the gesture much further by inviting the boys, Geoff and Josh Lewis, who were 10 and 11 years old at the time, to accompany him during the Sunday round. He shot a 64 on that day. They made a lifelong friend.

The Lewis family eventually started the Lewis Family Cancer Fund and an annual event called Swing for the Cure in Winter Haven, Fla. Zoeller still plays in the benefit free of charge to help the Lewises raise money to fight cancer in their mother’s memory.

I met with Bob Iezzi at Fuzzy Productions this week to discuss to another charitable venture that has been a passion for Zoeller. The Wolf Challenge is returning to Covered Bridge Golf Club in Sellersburg after a two-year run in Indianapolis. This will be the last Wolf Challenge.

Several factors entered into the decision to end the once annual local event. Zoeller is a very busy man with a multiplicity of business interests. Among them of course are 11 stops on the senior PGA Champions Tour. Even that schedule has been abbreviated down from 20 during past seasons. 

One of the more time consuming business pursuits now involves Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka. As an offshoot of the success of the venture he and a friend from Indianapolis started they sponsor an IZOD IndyCar series racecar featuring driver Ed Carpenter. Zoeller now hosts events on the IndyCar circuit.  

Iezzi also told me that it is increasingly difficult to schedule professional golfers and big name celebrities in part due to the number of charitable events of this type that have been held in recent years. “It seems like every celebrity is hosting an event for their own charity.”

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