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The '79 tour produced 10 first-time victors, a respectable number, though not a record. But no one will know how good the crop is until the winners have been around for a while. Undoubtedly, some will join the million-dollar club and some will fade into obscurity.
A checklist of the new faces of '79:
? Fuzzy Zoeller. Until this year he was simply a guy with a first name of a guitar player and a last name of a U-boat commander. Now Fuzzy is a Masters champion. He also won at San Diego in January. Zoeller is one of the long hitters and fun-loving talkers on the tour. He may continue to win, but if he doesn't, he'll be the answer to a trivia question: Who won the Masters that Ed Sneed lost?
? Nelson. At 32, he's surely one of the most mature first-time winners. But then he started playing golf late, not taking up the sport until he was 21. Nelson taught himself the game by reading instruction books. After five years on the tour, he broke through at the Gleason and won again by edging Ben Crenshaw in a playoff at the Western. He has quietly established himself as one of the more respected players around the locker rooms, and none of the pros was surprised when he became a Ryder Cup hero by winning all five of his matches.
?John Fought. Rhymes with boat. When he won the Buick and Napa tournaments in succession to qualify for the World Series, he became the first rookie to take back-to-back events since Roger Maltbie in 1975. Where's Maltbie now? Fought is a former U.S. Amateur champion (1977) who figures to hang around.
? Jack Renner. A thin, young player in a white Hogan cap, he won the rich Westchester Classic. He is a bachelor. His sister Jane competes on the LPGA tour. More than anything, Renner may be remembered for having said, "My goal is to play 72 holes someday without changing expression."
? Calvin Peete. Certainly the first golfer in history to win on the tour with diamonds in his front teeth. His victory at Milwaukee made him the second black player to qualify for the Masters. He is 36 and one of 19 children. When Peete won at Milwaukee, it enabled Trevino to set a curious golfing record. Trevino became the first person ever to lose the same tournament two years in a row to two different black players, Lee Elder having beaten him the year before.
? Wayne Levi. Although his name rhymes with heavy, he nevertheless has a contract to wear Levi's and carries a denim golf bag. In 1978 he won the Disney team title with Bob Mann, but his first individual championship came this year at Houston.
? Mark McCumber. His win at Doral in March was the most surprising of the year, because he had failed to get his players' card until his sixth try. Despite his victory, he has dropped from among '79's top 60 money winners.