2011 Christian Petersen / Getty Images
Happy 2016! I hope everyone is excited to get back into their daily routine after the holidays.
I am excited to get back to competing on the PGA TOUR. It is time to leave the snow in Elmhurst and head for the sunny beaches on Oahu. It is hard to believe that this will be my tenth time playing in the SONY Open. It doesn’t seem that long ago when I was a rookie on the PGA TOUR and made my debut at Waialae in 2003. This was before I was married to Amy, as a matter of fact, we had only been on one date at that time. Now 13 years later, we have been married for 10 years and have three energetic boys to care for.
Ping has some new equipment out this year and I am thrilled to tee it up with the G Driver and i irons. I played the i irons at Mayakoba and Sea Island last year but the G Driver is totally new.
This is my third and final year as one of the four player directors on the PGA TOUR Policy Board. It has been an educational journey of the inner workings of the PGA TOUR and how decisions are made. I am thrilled to have been a part of voting in the new rule to help strengthen PGA TOUR fields where most players will need to either play more events in a year or choose to play in a tournament they haven’t participated in for the last four seasons. The goal is to have more sponsors get to see those marque names play their tournament. The PGA TOUR is full of incredible talent so just go watch anyone play, however, if you want to see the flair of a Rickie Fowler or Bubba Watson, this rule will make players spread the wealth to other events.
Thanks again to everyone who supported the 2015 Mark Wilson Charity Classic. The final numbers are in and $175,000 was donated to the Blessings in a Backpack program at Blackhawk Elementary and Hall Elementary in Glendale Heights, IL. We are working on the date and location for 2016 and I will let you all know when we have it booked.
Have a great 2016, filled with lots of one putt greens.
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Check out the story by Helen Ross recapping the 2015 Mark Wilson Charity Classic.
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2015 Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images Sport
The 2014-15 PGA TOUR season is officially completed for myself. 28 events: whoa! But 17 cuts made, including 3 top 10s and 4 other top 25s. That all resulted in a 95th place finish in the FedExCup Standings. Yes, it is only my sixth best finish in the FedExCup era, but my best since 2012 so trending in the right direction! I am grateful for some solid play in the summer that got me into the playoffs and a fun run at the Barclays to advance to the Deutsche Bank. As much as it hurts to sit out an event in which I could sleep in my own bed for, well, I am thankful that I have full status again next year, which includes playing in the Players Championship. Here’s to contending more often in the 2015-2016 season.
At the front of my thoughts right now is the Mark Wilson Charity Classic which is just a week away. We have secured an incredible group of pros that are willing to give of their day to help Blessings in a Backpack. The list is Daniel Summerhays, Tony Finau, Jim Furyk, Cameron Tringale, Jerry Kelly, James Hahn, Kevin Streelman, Rory Sabatini, Peter Jacobsen, George McNeill, Kevin Chappell, Zach Johnson, Pat Foley (Blackhawks TV), Chris Collins (NU Bball coach), Brian Urlacher (Bears) and Jay Feely (NFL kicker and now analyst). And these guys are not being paid to do this. They are all willing to do this to help us maximize charity dollars for the hungry students that Blessings in a Backpack feeds. I am so thankful for them.
I’ll check in again to let you know how the MWCC played out. Have a great week and enjoy the final push of the FedExCup Playoffs.
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2015 Marianna Massey / Getty Images Sport
The FedExCup Playoffs are under way and I have advanced to the second round! Playing a Donald Ross designed Plainfield CC within a few miles of where my longtime caddie, Chris Jones, grew up, we had a solid weekend of 69 and 68 to finish in a tie for 24th place. That finish moved us up to 85th in the standings. The top 100 advanced to the Deutsche Bank Championship this week, and I am truly grateful to be there for the first time since 2012. A 90 yard SW to 8 feet sealed the deal on 18, especially when that downhill left to righter went in! Thanks for the cheers from all over the globe. I’m sure you all know where that “projected FedExCup standings” button is on the PGA TOUR App. You might be surprised to hear that I never looked at where I was in the tournament or the standings, always believing another birdie can’t hurt. Do you know how hard that is for me, a guy who loves numbers? I love that stuff but I have found it only hurts my performance so I avoid it. I figure there are plenty of others who are doing it for me. For me my goal this week was to immerse myself in the present moment and the one target I had for the current shot. Looking forward to doing more of that next week.
Switching gears, the Mark Wilson Charity Classic tees off in just three weeks, on September 21st! We have 16 teams signed up so there is still room for four more teams or individuals. We have secured Brian Urlacher, (longtime Bear, now golf junkie) Pat Foley, (TV voice of the Blackhawks) Chris Collins, (hoops coach at Northwestern) and Jay Feely (long time NFL kicker who filled in for injured Robbie Gould late last season) for our local celebrities. Also committed from the PGA TOUR are Tony Finau, Jim Furyk, James Hahn, Peter Jacobsen, Zach Johnson, Daniel Summerhays, and others as long as they are in the top 70 after the Deutsche Bank. It is going to be a great time.
Watch for me at TPC Boston!
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Monday, September 21, 2015. 9 a.m. Shotgun Start
Royal Melbourne Country Club – Long Grove, Illinois
Hosted by Amy and Mark Wilson
Benefitting Blessings in a Backpack (501c3)
Join us on September 21 for the Mark Wilson Charity Classic – hosted by Amy and Mark Wilson. The Classic will benefit Blessings in a Backpack – People Magazine’s Charity of 2012. Blessings in a Backpack is a results-oriented program designed to feed elementary school children whose families qualify for the federally-funded National School Lunch Program and have little to no food on the weekends.
Blessings in a Backpack contributes to better test scores, improved reading skills, positive behavior, improved health, and increased school attendance. As little as $100 feeds one American school child for an entire 38-week school year. Blessings in a Backpack currently feeds over 76,000 children in 780 schools, spanning 44 states and the District of Columbia. To learn more, please visit www.blessingsinabackpack.org.
Charity Classic Highlights:
- 18-hole golf scramble where foursomes will be joined by a PGA Tour professional golfer or a celebrity.
- Player gift bags, pro-clinic warm-up, medalist prizes, hole prizes, and a $1 MILLION shot opportunity.
- Mix and mingle with all the attendees at a private, players-only breakfast.
- Opportunity to participate in silent and live auctions
- Share stories and celebrate victories at an end-of-day award luncheon.
- Sponsorships and donations are tax-deductible. They will be paid directly to Blessings in a Backpack – a 501c3 organization.
Questions? Please contact Ann Spilker at firstname.lastname@example.org or (617) 460-6411
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Not being at this year’s U.S. Open gave me a chance to play with the future of the game at a future U.S. Open site, Erin Hills. For the ninth year in a row, I played with a bunch of Wisconsin high school golfers who raised money for the MACC FUND this Spring in the Lake County Charity Invitational. Tomah and Kettle Moraine told me they went door to door to raise funds, and Port Washington ran a drive, putt and chip contest. I had a blast laughing with these young golfers as they have their whole career in front of them. I wish them the best of luck in whatever they choose to do.
From the look of Erin Hills last week, I think it will be greener than Chambers Bay looked this year for its Open, but we’ll have to wait and see how much rain Milwaukee gets in the Spring of 2017. That was some exciting U.S. Open, wasn’t it? Congrats to Jordan.
Have a great week everyone.
Kettle Moraine High School
Me on the First Tee!
Port Washington High School
Tom Tallmadge – The mastermind behind the event in 2007!
Me with Tomah High School
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2015 Stacy Revere / Getty Images
Happy Summer everyone! I am excited to play a bunch of PGA TOUR events coming up, including Memphis, Hartford, Greenbrier and John Deere. Sadly I couldn’t get it done to join the others at Chambers Bay for the U.S. Open so I’ll be an interested spectator like the rest of you.
Last week, I received word that I will be inducted into the Wisconsin Golf Hall of Fame this Fall, which has made me nostalgic, thinking about my golf days in Wisconsin. Some examples include being so excited to tell my Mom the first time my Dad and I played 18 holes in one day. Maybe we should all be so grateful for the simple things like that. I also recall how I used to hit Driver off the deck regularly as a fourteen year old maybe because I couldn’t reach some par fours back then. For the record, I no longer have that shot. I also remember getting pulled over for speeding in high school in early April when it was a sunny day and I was racing to the only open driving range I could find. The policeman understood and let me off with a warning. I miss the excitement I felt when the snow would melt…now I just get on a plane and go somewhere warm.
Amy and I are still working hard on the upcoming Mark Wilson Charity Classic in September. We have over half of the teams purchased and plenty of pros and celebrities committed to help us raise money for Blessings in a Backpack.
Thanks for all your cheers and enjoy your summer.
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2015 Chris Graythen / Getty Images
I am truly honored to share that I’ve been elected to the Wisconsin Golf Hall of Fame along with Joellyn Crooks. Thanks to everyone who helped make this possible!
Check out the full article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
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To get everyone even more excited about Mark’s Charity Classic, we are going to release the Top 10 Reasons to play in the 2015 Mark Wilson Charity Classic over the next 10 weeks.
#10 – Fulfill your dream of hitting balls on the practice range with PGA Tour Players.
#9 – Have your chance to win $1 Million by competing in the Million Dollar Shot Contest.
#8 – Support one of my favorite charities, Blessings in a Backpack, and provide food to hungry kids in the suburbs of Chicago.
#7 – All sponsorships and donations are tax deductible!
#6 – Every foursome will be partnered with a PGA TOUR player or celebrity. Early commitments include Jim Furyk, Peter Jacobsen, Martin Laird, Brendon Todd, Brian Urlacher, Chris Collins, and (of course) myself. Mark Rolfing will be our MC. Pairing selection will be determined based on the order of completed registrations.
#5 – The order in which you register is the order in which you pick your PGA TOUR/Celebrity Partner. First come, first pick!
#4 – Golfers will receive a personalized signed pin flag from me and a photo with their PGA TOUR Pro/Celebrity partner. Great addition to your office.
#3 – You will pick up an exclusive player gift bag and have the chance to play for hole prizes, especially that $1 Million shot challenge on #18.
#2 – All participants are going to be heading to the FedEx Cup playoffs so you will be playing with guys in the hunt for the 2015 title.
#1 – The feeling you get for helping out those in need! Value = Priceless!
Click here for more information and to register!
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2015 Todd Warshaw / Getty Images
The season is well under way and there’s lots going on in the golf world to keep all the fans interested. How about that hole in one at the Waste Management by Francesco Molinari? Or what about Bart Bryant’s double eagle last week on the Champions Tour? How about Jimmy Walker running away from the field at the Sony Open?
I personally just got done playing a fun game of golf with my wife and in laws at Ironwood CC in Palm Desert where I am enjoying some time off before the Northern Trust Open at famed Riviera CC next week. My wife admittedly is a “nine hole golfer.” She likes it for nine but gets tired on the second nine. So we decided to play a fun game where we both hit our tee shots from our respective tees and then we switch balls and play in from there. I got a few “Honey, you put me in the rough.” But overall it was a fun challenge for me. On one hole, I knocked my tee shot on a 300 yard par 4 on the front fringe. Then after Amy managed one of her worst shots of the day, I had a 5 iron left for my second shot to the same green. We both made 4s. I highly recommend this game. We had so much fun with it.
As for my PGA TOUR game, I am very excited with my start to the year. Three made cuts gave me plenty of rounds to work into form. Riviera is next, followed by the Honda, an off week, then Tampa, Bay Hill and San Antonio. It is hard to believe the TOUR is almost in Florida.
What else has been going on? Well, the PGA TOUR Wives Association held their big charity golf classic where the guys caddy for the girls. Amy played alongside Angie Watson (Bubba), Heather Crane (Ben) and Julie Leach (Mike plays for the AZ Cardinals) at the Waste Management Phoenix Open on the TPC Desert Course in Scottsdale. The girls ham and egged it beautifully for a 7 under par scramble score, worth a tie for 3rd. The PTWA raised over $100,000 for Blessings in a Backpack in the area.
I have to mention the Packers run for the Super Bowl. I got to watch both playoff games from the pool at the Kahala in Hawaii. I feel for the Pack as I know what it is like to feel like you let one slide through your fingers. I bet August can’t come soon enough for those boys to make another run. In the meantime, I am sporting my Green Bay Packers head cover on my Driver. I am always in your corner and thanks for the memories of a great season.
Finally, Amy and I are working on the First Annual Mark Wilson Charity Golf Classic to benefit our two Chicago area school’s Blessings in a Backpack programs. We are having it Monday, September 21st at Royal Melbourne CC in Long Grove, IL. If anyone is interested in playing, contact me with the contact button on this website or email email@example.com and I’d be happy to send you the information.
All the best,
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