Paul William Azinger (born January 6, 1960) is an American professional golfer and TV golf analyst. He won twelve times on the PGA Tour, including one major championship, the 1993 PGA Championship. He spent almost 300 weeks in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Ranking between 1988 and 1994.
|Full name||Paul William Azinger|
|Born||January 6, 1960|
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight||175 lb (79 kg; 12.5 st)|
|College||Brevard Community College|
Florida State University
|Former tour(s)||PGA Tour|
|Number of wins by tour|
|Best results in major championships|
|Masters Tournament||5th: 1998|
|U.S. Open||T3: 1993|
|The Open Championship||T2: 1987|
|PGA Championship||Won: 1993|
|Achievements and awards|
|PGA Player of the Year||1987|
|PGA Tour Comeback|
Player of the Year
Azinger was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts; his father Ralph (1930–2013) was a navigator in the U.S. Air Force and later a businessman. He started in golf at age five. After Ralph retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1972, he opened a marina, and Paul spent his summer pumping gas and painting boats.
The family moved to Sarasota, Florida, where he attended and graduated from Sarasota High School. Azinger attended Brevard Community College in the late 1970s. While there, he found more time to practice his swing, playing on the team as a walk-on, and landed a summer job at the Bay Hill Golf Academy in Orlando, which allowed him more practice time. Practice earned him more opportunity, in the form of a scholarship to Florida State University in Tallahassee, and he turned professional in 1981.
During his early years, Azinger collected meager earnings. He and his wife, Toni, bought a used motor home, a 1983 Vogue, and drove from tournament to tournament. He got his big break in 1987, when he first played in the British Open and tied for second.
Azinger won eleven tournaments on the PGA Tour in seven seasons from 1987 to 1993, climaxing in his one major title, the 1993 PGA Championship at Inverness, which he won in a sudden-death playoff against Greg Norman.
Azinger finished one shot behind Nick Faldo at the 1987 Open Championship at Muirfield after making bogey at both the 71st and 72nd holes. Azinger was bidding to become only the fourth golfer since 1945 to win the British Open at the first attempt and said that he was "heartbroken" to leave Muirfield without the Claret Jug trophy.
At the 1991 Ryder Cup, Azinger was involved in a controversial episode with Seve Ballesteros, with whom he had a fierce rivalry. Azinger and American teammate Chip Beck were using balls of different compressions off the tee on multiple holes, in violation of an agreement between the Cup captains. Azinger initially denied that the Americans had engaged in this practice, but admitted to it once he realized that there would be no penalty assessed.
In December 1993, Azinger was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in his right shoulder. His treatment included six months of chemotherapy and five weeks of radiation in California. He wrote a book called Zinger about his battle with the disease and was the recipient of GWAA Ben Hogan Award in 1995, given to the individual who has continued to be active in golf despite physical handicap or serious illness. In 2000, he won his first tournament in seven seasons at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Azinger was the U.S. Ryder Cup captain for the 2008 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. He led the team to its first victory over the European squad since 1999. The team's victory was largely credited to his innovative strategy. This strategy is outlined in his book, Cracking the Code: The Winning Ryder Cup Strategy: Make it Work for You, which was released in May 2010. The book was co-authored with Ron Braund, a corporate team builder and psychologist, who consulted Azinger throughout the Ryder Cup.
From 2005 to 2015, Azinger worked as lead analyst for ESPN and ABC Sports' golf coverage. He initially shared analyst duties with his former Ryder Cup and British Open rival Nick Faldo. Azinger and Faldo, along with host Mike Tirico, formed a broadcast team that was met with positive critical acclaim. Faldo left for rival CBS after the 2006 season. Since then, Azinger has worked alone with Tirico. However, when Faldo and Azinger were opposing captains at the 2008 Ryder Cup, Azinger's colleague Andy North filled in for him. Faldo and Azinger have also reunited as analysts on two occasions. The first reunion was at the 2007 Open Championship (for ABC) and the second was at the 2009 Presidents Cup (for the Golf Channel).
Azinger is an avid poker player and competed in the main event at both the 2006 World Series of Poker and the 2008 World Series of Poker. He is an avid foosball player, and often seeks places to play foosball while traveling.
Azinger threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Tampa Bay Rays' second ever playoff game on October 3, 2008. He recently launched a new application for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch called Golfplan.
Azinger is a Christian. He and his wife Toni met at FSU and have been married since 1982. They have two daughters, Sarah Jean Collins and Josie Azinger Mark and currently live in Bradenton, Florida.
Azinger gave the eulogy at the memorial service for his friend Payne Stewart, who was killed in a plane crash in 1999. His two managers and close friends, Robert Fraley and Van Ardan, also died in the crash.
Azinger's mother Jean (1929–2016) was an accomplished golfer and Paul was the third of her four sons; the elder two were with her first husband, John Gaudino, who died in a military plane crash in the 1950s.
Professional wins (16)Edit
PGA Tour wins (12)Edit
|Major championships (1)|
|Tour Championship (1)|
|Other PGA Tour (10)|
|No.||Date||Tournament||Winning score||To par||Margin
|1||Jan 25, 1987||Phoenix Open||67-69-65-67=268||−16||1 stroke||Hal Sutton|
|2||May 3, 1987||Panasonic Las Vegas Invitational||68-72-67-64=271||−17||1 stroke||Hal Sutton|
|3||Jun 28, 1987||Canon Sammy Davis Jr.-Greater Hartford Open||69-65-63-72=269||−15||1 stroke||Dan Forsman, Wayne Levi|
|4||Mar 20, 1988||Hertz Bay Hill Classic||66-66-73-66=271||−13||5 strokes||Tom Kite|
|5||Jul 9, 1989||Canon Greater Hartford Open||65-70-67-65=267||−17||1 stroke||Wayne Levi|
|6||Jan 7, 1990||MONY Tournament of Champions||66-68-69-69=272||−16||1 stroke||Ian Baker-Finch|
|7||Feb 3, 1991||AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am||67-67-73-67=274||−14||4 strokes||Brian Claar, Corey Pavin|
|8||Nov 1, 1992||The Tour Championship||70-66-69-71=276||−8||3 strokes||Lee Janzen, Corey Pavin|
|9||Jun 6, 1993||Memorial Tournament||68-69-68-69=274||−14||1 stroke||Corey Pavin|
|10||Jul 25, 1993||New England Classic||67-69-64-68=268||−16||4 strokes||Jay Delsing, Bruce Fleisher|
|11||Aug 15, 1993||PGA Championship||69-66-69-68=272||−12||Playoff||Greg Norman|
|12||Jan 16, 2000||Sony Open in Hawaii||63-65-68-65=261||−19||7 strokes||Stuart Appleby|
PGA Tour playoff record (1–2)
|1||1989||Bob Hope Chrysler Classic||Steve Jones, Sandy Lyle||Jones won with birdie on first extra hole|
|2||1990||Doral-Ryder Open||Mark Calcavecchia, Greg Norman, Tim Simpson||Norman won with eagle on first extra hole|
|3||1993||PGA Championship||Greg Norman||Won with par on second extra hole|
European Tour wins (2)Edit
|No.||Date||Tournament||Winning score||Margin of
|1||Sep 23, 1990||BMW International Open||−11 (63-73-73-68=277)||Playoff||David Feherty|
|2||Aug 9, 1992||BMW International Open (2)||−22 (66-67-66-67=266)||Playoff|| Glen Day, Anders Forsbrand,|
Mark James, Bernhard Langer
European Tour playoff record (3–0)
|1||1990||BMW International Open||David Feherty||Won with birdie on first extra hole|
|2||1992||BMW International Open|| Glen Day, Anders Forsbrand,
Mark James, Bernhard Langer
|Won with birdie on first extra hole|
|3||1993||PGA Championship||Greg Norman||Won with par on second extra hole|
Other wins (2)Edit
|Year||Championship||54 holes||Winning score||Margin||Runner-up|
|1993||PGA Championship||1 shot deficit||−12 (69-66-69-68=272)||Playoff||Greg Norman|
|The Open Championship||T2||T47||T8|
|The Open Championship||T48||T59||T59||CUT||CUT||CUT||CUT|
|The Open Championship||T7||WD|
CUT = missed the half way cut
WD = Withdrew
"T" indicates a tie for a place.
|The Open Championship||0||1||0||1||3||3||12||7|
- Most consecutive cuts made – 9 (1999 U.S. Open – 2001 PGA)
- Longest streak of top-10s – 2 (1989 U.S. Open – 1989 Open Championship)
U.S. national team appearancesEdit
- Diaz, Jaime (June 7, 2016). "The Zen of Zinger". Golf Digest. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
- 69 Players Who Have Reached The Top-10 In World Ranking
- "PGA Tour Profile – Paul Azinger". PGA Tour. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
- Collins, Louise Mooney; Speace, Geri J. (1995). Newsmakers, The People Behind Today's Headlines. New York: Gale Research Inc. pp. 12–14. ISBN 0-8103-5745-3.
- "BPGA Tour Media Guide – Paul Azinger". PGA Tour. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
- Siddons, Larry (July 20, 1987). "Azinger Loses Big Lead And British Open Title". Times-Union. Warsaw, Indiana. p. 10. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
- Green, Bob (July 16, 1992). "Muirfield bring back memories". Hudson Valley News. Newburgh, New York. Associated Press. p. B2. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
- "Ballesteros accuses Azinger of lying". Washington Post. October 25, 1991. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
- Huggan, John; Yocom, Guy (July 31, 2012). "The Rowdy Ryder Cup at Kiawah". Golf Digest. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
- Dorman, Larry (December 9, 1993). "Lymphoma Found in Azinger's Shoulder". The New York Times. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
- "Bio from Azinger's official site". Retrieved August 26, 2011.
- "Azinger made US Ryder Cup captain". BBC Sport. November 6, 2006. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
- "Cracking the Code: The Winning Ryder Cup Strategy". Retrieved November 26, 2012.
- Kupelian, Vartan (February 3, 2010). "Insider: Tour in 'good shape' with new faces, places". PGA Tour. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- "Paul Azinger replaces Greg Norman as lead golf announcer for Fox Sports". Chicago Tribune. January 27, 2016. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
- "Azinger named NBC Sports' new lead golf analyst". PGA Tour. October 22, 2018. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
- "What the ...? Hellmuth knocked out of WSOP". MSNBC. Associated Press. July 30, 2006. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
- "A Different Sort of Green".
- Sobel, Jason (May 25, 2010). "Azinger pushed hard for job in '10". ESPN. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
- Azinger to throw out first pitch at Rays game Friday Archived October 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- "Golfplan with Paul Azinger". Archived from the original on November 1, 2012. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
- "Jean Azinger". Sarasota Herald Tribune. (Florida). (obituary). March 11, 2016. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
- Feinstein, John (1995). "A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour". Little, Brown and Company Inc. p. 69.