November 19, 2014
At the end of 2013, Mark Wilson had played 11 years on the PGA Tour, won five times and piled up nearly $14 million in prize money. But there were some things he wondered about.
For an example, this routine so many of his colleagues go through, tediously placing their golf ball back on the green until a line on the ball is in sync with the line of the putt. “I had never done that,” Wilson said. “I had to try that.”
He wondered, too, about AimPoint Express and took the time to be taught by certified instructor John Graham. And would another teacher offer swing alterations to strengthen his game?
Secure with a PGA Tour exemption through 2014-15, Wilson made some moves. “I devoted (2013-14) to try a lot of things, knowing that that’s probably not going to produce good golf in the short term, but maybe I’ll find some things. I might also cross off the list things that don’t help.”
Wilson might have been the only PGA Tour guy who didn’t take great care to line up the line on his golf ball before putting, but he gave it a shot. Cross it off the list, though.
“I just didn’t putt that well,” he said. “I wasn’t very athletic. It (also) affected my pace of play.”
AimPoint? Like Adam Scott and Hunter Mahan, Wilson embraced it. “I went all in,” he said.
With mixed results, it seems.
“I realized I liked some of it, and I still use bits and pieces, but not the whole product.”
He spent time with Sean Foley, who showed him “how to flight the ball and I liked that,” Wilson said. “But overall, it probably wasn’t the best way for me to play.”
Wilson went through his least productive PGA Tour season in 2013-14 ($155,313 earned and just nine cuts made in 25 starts), but never jumped ship. “I stuck with the changes I had committed to,” he said. Wilson concedes he was happy to see the season end, at which time he felt he had the answers to those wonderments about making changes.
“I’m glad I did all that stuff (because) I realized through this whole process to embrace my quirks. I was going to strengthen my strengths, not try and improve my weaknesses. I’m 40 years old. I’m going to go (with what works).”
Wilson said he had always kept a diary to chronicle his PGA Tour road, but before the 2014-15 season began he took it a step further.
“I compiled a highlight film of myself, all my wins, the good shots and the good putts. It’s about 5-6 minutes and I watch it,” Wilson said.
“You keep watching yourself do these good things, lo and behold your brain is going to dwell on those.”
Wilson smiled. For the second year in a row he has set off on “a new path.” The only thing is, unlike last season, this path is similar to the one he traveled successfully for so many years. With two top 10s in five starts, it would appear that he’s back on the path that’s best for him.