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Zoeller to make senior debut at Senior Skins

Fuzzy Zoeller will play in his first Senior Skins Game this weekend, but the concept is nothing new to him.

Zoeller, who turned 50 in November and will make his Senior Tour debut, won the Skins Game on the PGA Tour in 1986 and 1987.

Defending champion Hale Irwin, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer will join Zoeller in the competition for the $600,000 purse.

All 18 holes will be played Saturday at the Wailea Golf Club, with ABC Sports broadcasting 12 holes on Saturday and the remaining six on Sunday.

A fan favorite for his fun-loving personality, Zoeller will try to become the latest 50-something golfer to cash in on the Senior Tour, and the best place to start is the Skins Game.

The purse breaks down to $20,000 for each of the first six holes, $30,000 for each of the next six, $40,000 for holes 13-17 and $100,000 for No. 18.

The players will donate 10 percent of their winnings to charity.

Zoeller won the PGA Skins title in 1986 with nine skins on the final day, and the 1987 event with a record 14 skins on Sunday.

While Zoeller is a winner of 10 PGA Tour titles, including the 1979 Masters and 1984 U.S. Open, he is winless since claiming three titles in 1986.

A two-time Senior Tour Player of the Year, Irwin is competing in his fifth Senior Skins Game. He won last year's event in a playoff with Nicklaus, making a three-foot birdie putt for $180,000, giving him $320,000 overall.

"The Skins Game is a wide-open deal," Irwin said. "If you'e fortunate enough at the right time, you're the winner."

The 56-year-old Irwin has 32 Senior Tour victories after claiming 20 on the PGA Tour, including three U.S. Open titles.

Nicklaus, 62, will compete in his 12th Senior Skins Game, trailing only Palmer, who makes his 14th appearance. Nicklaus, who has been bothered by back problems, has earned $1.295 million in Senior Skins Games and has won 80 tournaments on the PGA and Senior Tours, including 18 majors.

Palmer, 72, has won 70 tournaments on the PGA and Senior Tours, including eight majors. He captured three Senior Skins titles in the 1990s, including 1992, when he collected all seven of his skins and $205,000 on Sunday.

The Senior Skins Game will not employ the validation format used in the Skins Game last November. That rule made it difficult to win money since it required players that captured skins to at least halve the next hole to win.

This is the second Senior Skins Game at Wailea following 11 years at Mauna Lani in Hawaii. The first was played in 1988 at Oahu, Hawaii and the second was at La Quinta, California.

The par-72 Wailea course measures 6,385 yards.


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