2016 Greggory Shamus / Getty Images Sport
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.
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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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