January 23, 2012
Wilson's decade of struggling is in the past
By JON McCARTHY, QMI Agency
Can we make this weekís tour winner Mark Wilson an honorary Canadian?
Growing up in Wisconsin and living in a suburb of Chicago, Wilsonís snow-shovelling stroke is just about as refined as his putting stroke.
After turning professional in 1996, Wilson bounced around between the Hooters Tour and the Nationwide Tour for a number of years. He successfully made it through the hell week of PGA Q-school three times before finally breaking out and winning the 2007 Honda Classic in a four-man playoff.
That decade of struggling is a thing of the past.
Wilsonís weekend win at the Humana Challenge (formerly the Bob Hope Classic) is the 37-year-oldís fifth PGA Tour victory and third in the past 12 months.
Now, instead of focusing on his PGA card status he can focus on his Ryder Cup status.
It was cold and nearly dark in La Quinta, Cali. when Wilson birdied his final hole on Sunday for a two-stroke victory and a million-dollar cheque.
After the chilly round, Wilson was asked why he didnít wear a sweater like most of his competitors?
ďA little superstitious I guess. Itís a feel thing, too. I had been swinging with just short sleeves all day, and then to put it on for the last hole, itís like a new feeling and I just didnít want a new feeling because every≠thing was going well.Ē
He could have said that cold weather doesnít bother him as much as it bothers all the wusses who were chasing him, but rule No. 1 as an honorary Canadian is you have to be polite.
Wilson recently told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that his family plans to stay in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst for another 20 years and that buying a second house down south seems too complicated and stressful.
Would more time on the golf course take his career to another level?
Quite the opposite according to Wilson, who was asked Sunday about his fast start this season.
ďThe only thing I can think of is that the break in November and December, I can clear my mind of golf,Ē he said.
It doesnít hurt that when Wilsonís mind gets a little too clear of golf he can retreat to the ultimate golf man-cave in his Chicago home.
After winning the Sony Open at Waialae last season, Wilson took a camera crew from pgatour.com into his basement to have a look.
Besides being home to hundreds of golf clubs, the basement has a 400 square-foot putting area, a full-size simulator and a chipping area.
Itís the kind of room that golf-obsessed Canucks dream of when there is a couple feet of snow on the ground. Just think, you could have a sore back and an angry wife all year round with a basement like that.
PAR 5 FINISHES
The weekend made one thing clear ó a par-5 18th hole makes for a great finish.
This was the case on the PGA and European Tour this past weekend and they didnít disappoint.
Wilson had to risk going over water with his second shot on the par-5 closing hole at the Humana because he knew playing partner Robert Garrigus, who was two shots back, would do the same.
In South Africa at the Volvo Golf Champions, Branden Grace teed off on the 18th tied for the lead. His playing companion, the long-hitting Nicolas Colsaerts, was one back.
With South African golf legends Ernie Els and Retief Goosen in the clubhouse with a share of the lead, the stage was set.
Colsaerts was thinking eagle when he blew his drive way left and made a bogey.
Grace had a five-foot birdie putt for the title but missed it, sending him, Els and Goosen back to the 18th tee for a playoff.
This time the local boy Grace made the short birdie putt and won for back-to-back weeks in his home country.
With the possibility of a three-shot swing on the final hole, we wish more tournaments would finish with a par 5.
DUKE OF HAZARDS
Bubba Watson showed his good olí boy roots last week when he purchased one of the original General Lee cars from TV show The Dukes of Hazzard.
On Saturday, Watson proudly tweeted a pic of his $110,000 auction purchase.
Even though there is both a Bo (Van Pelt) and a Luke (Donald) on tour, we canít help but think that the car has its rightful owner.
SPEAKING OF ORANGE
In one of the worst-kept secrets in golf, Cobra officially unveiled Rickie Fowler as its newest tour player.
In case the teaser ads featuring a bunch of oranges didnít tip you off, the company sent out a tweet Monday morning introducing Fowler with a link to the new commercial ó which you are sure to see a hundred times this week on the Golf Channel.
If white clubs arenít different enough for you, Cobraís new AMP line introduces a heavy dose of orange.
With Puma buying Cobra in 2010 it was only a matter or time.
Beginning next week Bad Lies & Good Shots will be written on a brand new laptop. What does this mean? If itís anything like when I get a new driver it means that you can expect great columns for about two weeks and then it will be back to the same old crap ... Fellow golf writer Tim McKay sent an email saying that Grace and I were separated at birth. What do you think?