Zinger is also interested in breaking into course design, a business that has cratered in the U.S. but is booming overseas, and has had fruitless talks with a major design company.
A more likely career option is television. Zinger and Nick Faldo, the opposing captain in the Ryder Cup, formed a dynamic team on ABC from 2004 to '06. When ABC got out of the golf business, Faldo landed at CBS and Golf Channel, while Azinger came up empty. He has signed on with Golf Channel (rejoining Faldo) for two events in '09—the first three days at the Accenture Match Play Championship and the first two days of the Presidents Cup. Quick, opinionated and knowledgeable, Azinger could wind up doing more work for Golf Channel but is holding out for a lead analyst's job with one of the over-the-air networks. Unfortunately, he says, "there's simply no room for me right now."
There should be. Reuniting the Ryder Cup captains in the buttoned-down CBS tower sounds like fun. Or: Can you imagine what a shock Azinger would be to Johnny Miller's system at sycophantic NBC? As a captain, Zinger made his players better. As a TV analyst, he makes his partners better too.
A final option is a Ryder Cup encore. Almost to a man the U.S. players were campaigning for "Zinger in '10" during the postvictory celebration at Valhalla. (Even Tiger Woods says he regrets missing the chance to play for Azinger.) If Azinger does not return for the 2010 match, in Wales, he might consider '12, in Chicago. PGA of America CEO Joe Steranka says his organization won't start searching for a new captain until the first of the year. Asked about a possible second turn for Zinger, Steranka says, "There's nothing in our policy that precludes a repeat captain. At the same time, there are a lot of deserving candidates and not enough Ryder Cups for all of them."
In other words the PGA of America prefers to spread the wealth. And if offered the job again, would Azinger accept? "I wouldn't rule it out," he says.
FOR NOW, there's time to chill. Azinger recently bought a new toy: a candy-apple-red Ford GT 40, and he had Jason Heffner, founder of Heffner Performance, juice it up because the 585-horsepower engine simply wasn't powerful enough. Azinger's twin-turboed muscle car now has more than 850 horsepower. But what about the gas mileage? "Who cares?" Azinger says. "I can get to a gas station pretty damn fast."
Azinger's twin-engined fishing boat sat unused all summer, but now he's back on board piling up frequent-floater miles stalking snook, redfish, grouper and anything else he can hook. Azinger's house sits on the Manatee River, and on a clear day he can see the sleek Sunshine Parkway Bridge and Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg from his second-floor office.
Who needs a steady gig? Life in Zingerworld is pretty sweet.
Fresh news and views from SI and Golf Magazine writers at GOLF.com/presstent.