2017 Jared C. Tilton / Getty
Copyright 2017 Jared C. Tilton / Getty

Hello everyone. The 2016-17 PGA TOUR season is in the books for me. It was my first year playing out of the Past Champion Category and it was eye opening. I really thought I could keep my level of play at a high level averaging one tournament a month, but that was harder than expected and if you were following my scores during the season, you could sense my struggles on the course. With that said, I am excited for a little time off to recharge, be at home, be Dad, and gear up for another season in the Past Champion Category. I hope to start the season in Jackson, MS at one of my favorite courses on TOUR, Country Club of Jackson for the Sanderson Farms Championship in late October.

I am pleased to announce that I have been working with a new instructor, Joseph Mayo, who works out of TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas, NV. If you would like some great youtube viewing, search for his name there and you will be blown away. He has helped me clean up some details in my swing and now I just need to take it the golf course. A first round 65 at the Wyndham Championship last month proved I am headed in the right direction. This season sure has reminded me how grateful I am for those weeks in my career where golf seemed quite easy. It also reminded me that those times were preceded by some hard work.

Up next for me, I’ll be hosting a charity event at Rich Harvest Farms to benefit Blessings in a Backpack October 8-9. I want to personally thank Meijer as our title sponsor, my buddy Kevin Kleczka’s Curly’s Waterfront and Grill in Pewaukee, WI for sponsoring the man cave and billiards room, and Thomas Coffee, who will be treating us to a first class coffee and dessert bar.

Jim Furyk and Peter Jacobsen will join me to make an unforgettable event for those in attendance. We still have 20 tickets left for the Sunday night event, which will include time in all the extra amenities Rich Harvest Farms has. It has a car museum with over 50 antique automobiles, a man cave where we will watch some NFL football and an indoor practice facility. Jim, Peter and I will also take part in a question and answer session, covering numerous golf topics and hearing stories from our experiences on TOUR. We will certainly touch on Jim’s current role as Ryder Cup captain, and I guarantee you will leave huge fans of Peter, Jim and maybe even yours truly.

There are also some golfing spots left to play Rich Harvest Farms the next day. There are two foursomes left to play golf and my wife came up with a few new sponsorship opportunities. One of the new ideas is the “Pro Clinic Sponsor,” which is tailored for those who only want to take part in the festivities on Monday, including breakfast, the clinic and 18 holes at Rich Harvest Farms. If interested in any of the remaining spots, you can sign up at my website, www.markwilsongolf.com and click Register to browse.

Why am I hosting this and why are Peter and Jim taking two days away from their families to join us? Well, they both get the fact that we are truly blessed to play a sport for a living and it is our responsibility to help out those in need. Having participated in many of these pro-am type events, I know we will all leave feeling like we made a difference in some children’s lives, maybe given them that small break that will help them find joy in life and ultimately be able to give back themselves. So if you aren’t already joining us October 8th and 9th, please come.

I wish you all lots of fairways, greens and one putts for the rest of the year.

Mark Wilson

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2016 Sam Greenwood / Getty Images
Copyright 2016 Sam Greenwood / Getty Images

Hello everyone…Hope you all had a great Mother’s Day!

I wrote all of you last Fall describing the category I would be playing from this season on the PGA TOUR and the uncertainty of that group can be summed up with a show of my itinerary two weeks back in Wilmington, NC. As I embark on another Monday qualifier today, May 15th, for the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship (and sit at 9th alternate), I thought I’d share with you my unique week of eventually getting to compete at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Monday, May 1:

9:30AM: Tee off in Monday qualifier for Wells Fargo Championship at Landfall CC in Wilmington, NC
2:30PM: Card a 3 under par 69 and have a slight chance to qualify
3:30PM: Ultimately it took 68 so I missed qualifying by one stroke
4:00PM: I am currently 11th alternate based on my PGA TOUR past champion status so I board a Southwest flight for home (Chicago), albeit through Charlotte

Tuesday, May 2:

8:00AM: Dropped my oldest sons off at school and do things around town plus some yard work with my youngest son
1:00PM: Randomly check phone to see how I look for upcoming Byron Nelson Championship in two weeks and notice I am now 5th alternate for Wells Fargo…that’s a big move in a day!
4:00PM: Receive a call from PGA TOUR Headquarters telling me I am now 2nd alternate for Wells Fargo, but the two names in front of me are both out of the country so not sure they can get to Wilmington, NC soon enough

Wednesday, May 3:

8:30AM: The 1st alternate in front of me has officially withdrawn since he can’t get to Wilmington soon enough
9:00AM: As 1st alternate, Amy and I decide it makes sense to go just in case – so I am back on southwest.com and kayak.com to see my best options
10:00AM: Soon after parking my car at Chicago’s Midway Airport, I get a call from the TOUR staff that I am indeed in the tournament and have a noon tee time the next day.
2:00PM: Land in Raleigh and get rental car to drive 2 hours to Wilmington
5:00PM: Am walking Eagle Point Golf Club to see the new golf course as I am not allowed to play it while the pro-am is going on

Thursday, May 4:

5:00PM: Card a 2 under par 70 for my first time around the course and am super pleased

Friday, May 5:

4:30AM: Wake up to alarm for my 6:50AM tee time but also hear thunder and rain outside so know there will be a delay
9:50AM: Tee off with only 3 hour delay…not too bad, this course drains great
2:30PM: After playing in fierce winds, I card a 5 over 77 and am well outside the cut line…however, the course is playing so difficult I figure I might sneak in at 3 over
8:30PM: Play is suspended for the day and 3 over is definitely down the road

Saturday, May 6:

8:00AM:Shotgun start back at Landfall CC for a Wells Fargo pro-am to cover a few expenses for the week
5:00PM: RDU back to MDW

That’s the life of a non exempt PGA TOUR pro, playing out of the past champion’s category. But rest assured, I am grateful for at least being in a category on the PGA TOUR! Have a great week.

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10
Jan

Tee Up a Harvest

Posted by: Mark In: Blog

Presented by Meijer, benefitting Blessings in a Backpack

Sunday, October 8, 2017
5:30pm – 9:30pm
Rich Harvest Farms – Sugar Grove, IL

$350/individual or $600/couple (limit 100 tickets)

Mark Wilson invites you to join him, Jim Furyk, and Peter Jacobsen at the beautiful members only Rich Harvest Pavilion to help feed hungry children. The evening events will include:

  • Participate in a moderated discussion and Q&A with Mark Wilson (5 time winner on the PGA TOUR), Jim Furyk (17 time winner on the PGA TOUR, including 1 major), and Peter Jacobsen (7 time winner on the PGA TOUR and a 2 time major winner on the Champions TOUR).
  • Tour Jerry Rich’s car collection comprised of 50 unique and rare cars from around the world.
  • Look at sports memorabilia in the man cave.
  • Shoot pool in the billiards room.
  • Participate in the silent auction.
  • Enjoy a strolling dinner and cocktails from multiple bar locations.
  • Indulge in the dessert and coffee bar.
  • Take home a swag bag.

All proceeds will go to Blessings in a Backpack programs in Glendale Heights and Aurora, IL.

For any questions, please contact Ramona Ustian via email Ramona@ThomasCoffee.com or phone (630) 841-6660.

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2016 Michael Cohen / Getty Images
Copyright 2016 Michael Cohen / Getty Images
3
Jan

I hope everyone had great time with family and friends around Christmas and New Year’s.

It is time for me to get back to the golf course and competing on the PGA TOUR. That means it is off to Palm Springs to start the year at the Career Builder Challenge, site of my fifth win on the PGA TOUR back in 2012. I hear it too…a five year dry spell. Time to change that!

Two early Christmas presents came my way when the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the Honda Classic both called to ensure me I would have a sponsor’s exemption into their events. So with those and likely getting into the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am, January and February will be busy for me. Having opportunities to compete on the PGA TOUR is something I will always be grateful for but more so this year as I don’t have the luxury of picking my schedule.

One big change on the PGA TOUR in 2017 is that we have a new commissioner in Jay Monahan, taking over for Tim Finchem, who was at the helm for 22 years. One interesting fact is that the PGA TOUR has only had four commissioners in its 47 year history. Tim did wonders for the PGA TOUR and left it in great hands for Jay, who is up for the challenge to make the TOUR even better.

My three years on the PGA TOUR policy board are officially up, but I do have one remaining year on the board for USA Golf, which helps with those competing American golfers in the Olympics, Paralympics and Pan America games. It is rewarding to give my input into any player issues that come up when planning for these events. Last year was the most time consuming but was super exciting that Matt Kuchar brought home a medal for the USA.

Finally, you may have noticed on my website that Amy and I are teaming up with our friends Dan and Ramona Ustian to host the Tee Up a Harvest event at Rich Harvest Farms October 8-9. I am super excited to have Jim Furyk join me to benefit Blessings in a Backpack in the Chicagoland area. There is a fun Sunday evening dinner event and a golf outing on Monday. Click on my homepage for the event details as there are lots of sponsorship packages available.

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2017 and how about even a hole in one!

Mark

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2016 Greggory Shamus / Getty Images Sport
Copyright 2016 Greggory Shamus / Getty Images Sport
14
Oct

The 2015-16 season just finished and the 2016-17 has begun. Hard to believe, but great for the golf fan.

After my finish of 175th on last season’s FedEx Points list, I went back to the Web.com Finals events to try to improve my PGA TOUR standing. I didn’t finish in the top 25 so I will be playing out of the past champion category on the PGA TOUR. Basically I am after the prior year’s top 125, the 50 players from the web.com Tour and the 126-150 FedEx finishers from last season.

What does that mean? Well, I will likely get into about eight to ten tournaments on that standing, including this Fall’s Sanderson Farms Championship in two weeks. I also was thrilled to receive a sponsor’s exemption into the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in November and January’s Career Builder Challenge in the Palm Springs area has a ten year exemption into their event. So I’ll be playing in that one at least through 2022! I’ll keep my schedule posted on www.markwilsongolf.com as up to date as possible.

As I have said many times before, if a player plays well they can’t keep you off the TOUR. I can play my way into the invitationals, FedExCup playoffs and the majors with some good play. I am excited for a new start this season and with my category I know that I need to be ready to play when given a chance. Know that I am up for the challenge and feel very close to some great play.

On some other news, how about that Ryder Cup! What an exhibition of golf under pressure. The Sunday front nine by Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy, along with the halved match by Phil and Sergio were things that stood out to me. Congratulations USA.

I also am about to roll off from my three year term on the PGA TOUR policy board. It has been an educational ride to hear the great minds in the room think many years in advance to do their best to guarantee continued success for the PGA TOUR. In return, I was able to put my two cents worth in as a player to help make sure the decisions also would make sense for the golfers. I was truly honored to have that role.

So if you are in the Midwest, get those last few rounds in and if you are in the South, I wish you all the best in your upcoming golf season. Watch for me this Fall beginning October 27th in Jackson, MS.

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It was sad to not be in the field at Bay Hill last week but seeing Arnold Palmer generated some lasting memories of the King, and there’s one I’d like to share today.

In 1991, I qualified for my first USGA event, the United States Junior Championship, at Arnold Palmer’s own Bay Hill Club. The eventual champion was Tiger Woods but the lasting impression of the week came from a full field dinner on the eve of the first round. All of the young qualifiers (age 14 to 17) gathered in the Bay Hill clubhouse and Arnold Palmer spoke to us. The message I recall was confusing at the time but makes more sense every day I play this game. He put it on our conscience that we must give back to the game of golf. At the time, I was thinking, “The game hasn’t given me much yet, certainly not as much as you Mr. Palmer.” How short sighted, but in my defense, I was 16 and only thinking about the tangibles like a USGA trophy in my living room or money to live on from playing the PGA TOUR. My perspective evolved over time, making me realize that even before I was a teenager, the game had given me so much, including a unique bond with my Dad, a desire to follow the rules when no one was watching, friendships, a desire to work at something to get better, the feeling of winning and losing and how to deal with both, and even the tangibles like a few junior golf trophies. The game continued to provide more to me as I received a college scholarship and was able to compete against the best college golfers in the country for four years in preparation for turning professional. Then golf didn’t quit and has given me a long career in professional golf. It continues to deepen old friendships, develop new ones and give me a unique bond with my three sons. I try to remind myself every day that millions of people love this game so much and that is precisely why I am so lucky enough to play a sport for a living. So I vow to do my best to honor this game and share it with others through helping junior golf, being a fun pro-am partner and using golf to help those in need. I thank Mr. Palmer for giving all of us participants at the 1991 U.S. Junior that perspective at an early time in our lives. I wish Mr. Palmer well and congratulate him on an exciting tournament last week.

I am off from competition for the next few weeks, returning at Hilton Head in mid-April. My family and I can enjoy the Easter celebration this weekend, followed by my children’s Spring Break. In the meantime, I’ll be following the TarHeel basketball team’s run in March Madness. We will have a house divided on Friday as my wife’s Hoosiers square off with the TarHeels in the Sweet Sixteen. This will probably be more intense than a Packers-Bears game.

Thank you for your continued cheers. I feel so utterly close to contending again and hope to give you all something to cheer about when I return to the PGA TOUR.

Mark Wilson

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2011 Christian Petersen / Getty Images
Copyright 2011 Christian Petersen / Getty Images
11
Jan

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.

Mark Wilson

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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
Copyright 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.

– Mark

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2015 Marianna Massey / Getty Images Sport
Copyright 2015 Marianna Massey / Getty Images Sport

Hello everyone.

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.

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Watch for me at TPC Boston!

Thanks,
Mark

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