Category Archives: Behind the Scenes

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A look inside the lives of PGA TOUR families.

The hottest golf book of 2013 is now on sale! Never before published personal photos, stories, and family recipes from over 130 PGA TOUR families. Be the first to have or gift a copy!

In honor of the Association’s 25th Anniversary, the PGA TOUR wives give you an inside look into their personal lives, and they did it all for charity. Net proceeds from the sale of this book will go back to PTWA charities.

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Buy on ButlerBooks.com

Learn more about the PGA TOUR Wives Association

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2013 Chris Condon/ PGA TOUR
Copyright 2013 Chris Condon/ PGA TOUR

As I was competing these first two months of 2013, my wife, Amy, was working long hours on the PGA TOUR Wives’ Association’s new book called “Beyond the Fairways and Greens,” which celebrates their 25th anniversary.  The association has been collecting stories and recipes from the families that have traveled the PGA TOUR together, beginning with Arnold Palmer and ending with the young players of today.  It is a well done book with lots of personal accounts and made even more worthwhile with family recipes in the back of the book.

We got awareness out at the PGA Show in Orlando, where we even did a cooking demonstration thanks to KithcenAid’s temporary kitchen set.  Then we had a huge launch party at the Northern Trust Open last week.  It was fun to see about 100 players and wives dressed up, celebrating 25 years of giving back on the part of the wives.  There was dancing, and I was cutting a rug pretty good, I might add.  My fellow players might not agree, but I sure had a great time.  I am so proud of my wife and the many hours she puts into giving back.  It is great to have a book like this to honor their work.  If you are interested in ordering it with all the proceeds going to charity, visit

http://www.butlerbooks.com/beyondthefairwaysandgreens.html.

After some time in the snow and cold here at home in Elmhurst, I’ll be off to the Honda Classic to get back to work.  If you have looked at my results so far, they haven’t exactly resembled 2011 or 2012, but I am so excited for the rest of the year.  I even had another player jokingly ask me last week if everything was all right.  I said,”Yes, why do you ask?”  His response: “Well, you’ve usually won once or twice by now.”

I was thinking about it the other day and a sense of gratefulness came over me that calmed me considerably.  What I mean is that even though my scores haven’t been what I had hoped for, I still get the opportunity to continue to figure it all out on the PGA TOUR.  Let’s face it, my scores would not get me through Q-school right now, but because of past victories on the TOUR, I get to compete on the best golf courses against the best golfers in the world.  I realize you all are cheering for me and it might have been tough the last two months, but know that I am loving the challenge of the game right now.  Like many other times in my career, it will be so sweet when it all comes around for that next week when four good scores in a row are listed next to my name.

As for my family life, my sons are growing like crazy and my youngest is now already 6 months old.  Before they were born I had no idea that one of my top goals in life would be to someday hear one of them say,”I want to be just like my Dad.”  Here’s hoping many of us fathers can someday hear that.

Enjoy the journey.

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2012 Scott Halleran / PGA TOUR
Copyright 2012 Scott Halleran / PGA TOUR
20
Dec

I pray that your preparations for the holidays are going well.  The Wilsons are gearing up for an exciting time to celebrate Christ’s birth.  Our youngest son, Graham, will be baptized on the 23rd and then we plan lots of extended family time after that.

It is hard to believe that the 2013 season will begin soon after in Hawaii.

My off season has flown by quickly.  It included a fun November day in Phoenix helping out Northwestern Mutual with a convention day where I did a “beat the pro” event on a par 3.  Then I was like a kid at the PING factory trying out some new equipment.  Most likely I will be putting the Anser line in play at Kapalua in regards to the Driver and hybrids.

Then it was fun to travel back to PGA West and participate in the media day for the upcoming Humana Challenge.  The Clinton Foundation has partnered so well with Humana to make the event focus on health and wellness.  It is refreshing to hear a group so passionate about leading people to better choices in regards to their eating and exercising. I also got a little practice in at Ironwood Country Club to get ready for 2013.

As for fun, Amy and I enjoyed a trip to New York City to catch a Letterman show and a Broadway show.  After being in the thick of it in NYC, it was nice to come back to the “country,” that is Elmhurst.

Surprisingly there is still no snow in Chicago so I was able to get one last practice session in outside the other day at Butler National.  It was a balmy 46 degrees, but it sure was good to see the ball fly in the air instead of just eight feet in front of me into a screen.  Indoor simulator golf will probably be my preparation now as the temperatures are expected to dip below freezing, and I’m crossing my fingers for snow.  There’s nothing like bundling up inside and then facing the elements to trek a few sleds up a 5% grade, only to cruise down it in 3 seconds.  But the look on my kid’s faces, along with the snot, is totally worth the exhaustion.

Have a Merry Christmas and watch for me in Hawaii and the West Coast to start out the 2013 PGA TOUR season.

Mark Wilson

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2012 Stan Badz/PGA TOUR
Copyright  2012 Stan Badz/PGA TOUR

It has been too long since I last spoke to all of you. A lot has transpired in the last few months. Let me fill you all in.

The biggest news has to be the arrival of our third boy on August 15th. Graham Beckett was born and is already seven weeks old and growing like crazy. His two older brothers are figuring out how to be gentle–a tough task for a 5 year old and a 2 year old.

The PGA TOUR Playoffs immediately followed Graham’s birth so I was off to the east coast to get back to work. My play lacked birdies, unlike those you saw from guys like Rory McIlroy and Brandt Snedeker. The one shining moment that stands out is finishing birdie-par-eagle in Boston to make the cut on the number and give myself at least a chance to move up in the FEDEX CUP Standings. I didn’t take advantage of it but at least I was there for the weekend. Next came the BMW Championship which benefits something I believe strongly in, the Evans Scholars Foundation. Many hard working caddies receive four year scholarships from Evans and even though my play put me in the back of the pack, I know the tournament was still a huge success with all the charity dollars raised.

Then came the Ryder Cup in my hometown. Yes, it was sad that I didn’t play better this summer to make the team, but it sure was fun to cheer on my friends, albeit from my living room as I never made it out to Medinah. What a dramatic finish!

Finally last week, something surreal occurred as Amy and I kicked off our lectureship series at Indiana University (Amy’s alma mater). Leave it to my wife to thing big and ask the greatest golfer of all time, Jack Nicklaus, to speak for us on the subject of values and ethics. It was an added bonus to have Inga Hammond, also an IU graduate, ask Jack questions which prompted him to some fun stories. That was the main event of the night, but we preceded it with a dinner that raised $75,000 for the First Tee of Central Indiana. At the dinner I was the man interviewing Jack so I got a feel for what it is like to be on the other side of the microphone. People said I may have a future there, but I hope not for quite some time. When the night was over, Amy and I looked back and truly believe Jack had a fun time. Our goal was to make him not feel abused by too many poses for pictures or autograph sessions, and the people who attended the events respected our wishes.

I am now practicing up at home at Butler National and Cog Hill, getting ready to play the McGladrey Classic in two weeks, followed by the HSBC Championship outside of Hong Kong. Watch for me as I look to finish the year just like I started it.

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Getty Images
Copyright Getty Images

All is well in England.  The fish and chips are tasty and the golf course is in great shape.  Despite forecasts for heavy rain the last two days, we got some last night but beautiful sunshine today.  Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club is a very fair test with bunkers peering at you from the tees and heavy rough beside them.  The greens are holding quite nicely right now but the winds of today will probably dry them out quickly.

My practice rounds have been fun as I have a new nickname from my Korean friends, Wil Son Mark.  Monday I played with K.J. Choi and Sang-Moon Bae; then Kevin Na passed us on a hole and thought of that nickname.  Tuesday I have to applaud my caddie, Chris, for going the extra lengths to contact Tom Watson’s caddie to see if we could have a game.  Sure enough, Tom was game and we pegged it at 11am.  It was fun seeing a five time Open champion navigate his way around the course and figure out his strategy for the week on each hole.  Wednesday I played with my Japanese friends, Bikke, who I was paired with at the U.S. Open, Ryo Ishikawa and Toru Taniguchi.  I admire the seriousness that the Japanese players take during their preparation along with their playful nature in between shots.

My Dad and I are enjoying some quality time together and even spent Tuesday with a relative we had never met who lives here in England.  My father’s family hails from here, by the way.

Enjoy the Open Championship, golf’s oldest event.

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Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
Copyright Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The U.S. Open is now in the books with Webb Simpson as the champion.  Congrats to Webb.  I hope you all enjoyed the exciting finish.  As for myself, I was disappointed to only get two rounds there.  Leading up to the event, I worked a bit with Dr. Jim Suttie at Cog Hill on fine tuning my swing and then at the event with Dr. Bob Rotella on getting back into the scoring aspect of the game.  I found myself grinding a bit too much on mechanics during tournaments so I left that work for home with Suttie and then did my best to transform my mind into simply getting the ball into the hole as quickly as possible.  That has been my recipe for success in the past but how the human mind sometimes needs a reminder the hard way.

The Olympic Club was set up beautifully for the U.S. Open with not much rough, except in the places where a player missed big.  The biggest challenge I found was the shaved slopes left and right of some of the putting surfaces.  I found myself playing away from them at times because I knew how difficult the up and down would be, which resulted in some longer birdie putts, which lead to frustrating three putts.  So it was more like a chess match I was playing with myself out there and I believe that is what the USGA wants.  Ironically, I played the difficult holes well but the so called birdie holes were the ones that gave me fits as I played the par 5s three over par and the drivable seventh hole one over par after driving it into greenside bunkers both days.

I am back home in Elmhurst now beginning three weeks away from competition.  This was always planned and a reason why I played so many events early in the year.  This three week break will recharge me in time for the season’s last two majors and the Fedex Cup playoffs.  Oh, and, most importantly the upcoming birth of our third boy, due August 19th.

Watch for me again at the John Deere Classic beginning July 12.  I wish you all the best this summer and thanks for cheering me on.

 

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2012 Stan Badz / PGA TOUR
Copyright 2012 Stan Badz / PGA TOUR

I am so excited to launch a new look for my website. Thanks to everyone at Savage Solutions for putting in the time and energy. A new section added this year is called “My Game” and includes information on some of the people behind the scenes who help me achieve my goals, i.e. my instructors. I am excited to introduce them and tell you how they have helped shape my golf game.

2012 has gone great so far and I have enjoyed playing a lot of tournaments. Now I am enjoying my first two week break of the season. A two week break is so beneficial because I can really enjoy home the first week, which consists of lots of catch up but also some catch as my oldest son starts T-ball this week. Then I get back to work on the course and gym the second week.

Thanks for all of your cheers during the Masters. Apparently I peaked with a an ace in the par 3 tournament on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday didn’t go as hoped but once again, I learned a lot from my adventures around Augusta National and look forward to another chance of conquering those links. Watch for me again at the Wells Fargo Championship beginning May 3rd.

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