Tag:mark wilson
Posted on: February 26, 2012 11:19 pm

Winners and losers from a great match play week

Hunter Mahan leads our list of winners from the Accenture Match Play. (Getty Images)

By Shane Bacon

The Accenture Match Play is our first really big tournament of the season, and with so many talented people involved, it brings us our first winners/losers of 2012. So who killed, and who tanked? Read on and see ...


Hunter Mahan -- Obviously. Mahan played some incredibly inspired golf, beating some big names in the game and stepping up to Rory McIlory, who was playing for something much bigger than just the Marana trophy. Also, with his recent Presidents Cup success, Mahan has shown he’s a match play titan, and is music to Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III’s ears. 

Ping Golf -- They had three of the top four finishers rocking their new equipment, and the talk of the week was Mahan’s new Nome putter that seemed to help Hunter knock in just about any big putt he needed to make. 

Mark Wilson -- This guy needs to be known more than he is, and this week showed that no matter how short he hits it off the tee, his iron play and short game are second to none. Wilson has won three PGA Tour events in just over 13 months. People need to start acknowledging him as an A-class player in golf. 

Sang-Moon Bae -- Look at the list of players Bae knocked off before losing to Rory Mcilroy; Ian Poulter, Charl Schwartzel, and John Senden. Sure, the last wasn’t the biggest name possible, but Bae made McIlroy sweat, and showed that he’s a name we must remember when major championship week rolls around. 


Rory McIlroy -- Yes, he made it to the finals, and yes, he nearly became the top dog in golf, but if McIlroy wants to be The Man, he must close these types of tournaments out. He has played some incredible golf over the last few months, but winning is everything, and his game in the finals seemed shaky at best. 

Tiger Woods -- Anytime Tiger isn’t in the hunt he’s considered a loser, but boy did he look lost this week with his golf swing. When the season started I thought Woods was close with his game. Now? I’m not so sure even he could be convinced he’s ready to win a PGA Tour tournament. 

Luke Donald -- You’re the number one ranked golfer in the world, and no matter who you’re playing, you can’t lose in the first round of a tournament you’re defending. Donald showed that while the rankings say he’s the best, his game might not agree. 

Rickie Fowler -- Another week, another disappointment. I think Fowler is a good player, but it seems his name rings louder than his game. Fowler lost in the first round to a veteran that admitted after his match that he’d spent the last week away from golf. Not the best endorsement for Fowler’s time to win PGA Tour events. 

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter.
Posted on: September 17, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2011 5:35 pm

Wilson fades with 77, but it coulda been worse

LEMONT, Ill. -- Mark Wilson had already resigned himself to the sentence, which given the magnitude of his alleged malfeasance, seemed wholly unreasonable.

This time, however, the occasionally byzantine, draconian and borderline cruel rules of golf didn’t bite him in the butt, which would have made a difficult day at the BMW Championship even tougher to stomach.

Wilson, a Chicago resident, began the day at his home course, Cog Hill, as a 36-hole co-leader, but started dropping shots in short order. On the 14th hole, his tee shot came to rest in a greenside bunker, 18 inches from the ball of playing partner and leader Justin Rose.

Since Rose's shot might have splashed sand all over Wilson's ball, the latter elected to mark it. After Rose hit his explosion shot, Wilson unwittingly grazed the surface of the sand with his wedge as he bent down to replace his ball.

Generally speaking, it's a two-shot penalty for grounding a club in a hazard, and Wilson knew he was probably in trouble, unintentional contact or not. He reported it to rules official Brad Fabel on the next hole, and the tour immediately began reviewing the rulebook.

"I pretty much decided, I thought I had the penalty," said Wilson, who shot 77 and dropped into a tie for seventh. "I had to focus on, I made a 5 on No. 14 and it would be a bonus if I get a 3."

He immediately made a double-bogey on the next hole, causing some to wonder whether having the ruling dangling over his head like a sword was a distraction.

"No, I'm a big boy," Wilson laughed.

After 45 minutes of combing through the rulebook, and calling the U.S. Golf Association for a quick advisory, the tour officials determined there was an exception in the rule that allowed for accidental contact made when replacing a marked ball in a trap. Rules official Slugger White gave the good news to Wilson after he finished his round.

"I'm happy it worked out OK," said Wilson, who once called a penalty on himself during what eventually became a victory at the Honda Classic. "A 77 is a lot higher than I was thinking I was going to shoot. I certainly didn't want to sign for 79."

Clearly, it was the proper call. If Wilson had seriously intended to test the surface of the sand, he could have elected to rake the bunker after Rose hit his shot -- that would have given him a far better indication of how the sand had settled in that particular spot.

As it stands, Wilson is projected to finish 15th in FedEx points based on his current position of T7, which would allow him to advance to the series finale in Atlanta next week.

Rose, the 54-hole leader, was hally the matter was settled without further pain and suffering. Everybody associated with the game has gotten so used to bizarre rulings, videotape reviews and accidental disqualifications, it was a relief when common sense, for once, seemed to apply.

"Obviously, I've asked him to mark his ball, so if there was ever going to be a penalty, I was going to feel pretty guilty about that," Rose said. "When he's gone down to replace it, obviously your body is in an unusual act, you're in the bunker but you're in a hazard, but he's in some sense grounded his club trying to stay balanced, I suppose.

"I think that was the right decision. There was certainly no way he was ever testing the surface.  That would have been a harsh thing to have happened."

Posted on: September 16, 2011 6:27 pm

Rose and Wilson tracking Tiger at Cog Hill

LEMONT, Ill. -- For those who believe that as much can be learned in defeat as can be gleaned in victory, Justin Rose and Mark Wilson could be living proof of that notion this weekend.

Assuming one of them ultimately delivers the goods, of course.

Rose is in contention for the second time in four years at Cog Hill, where he played in the penultimate group of the final round with eventual winner Tiger Woods in 2007 and got a front-row seat at how to seal the deal. Wilson, tied for the lead with Rose at 11 under, played with Woods in 2009 when he shot a course-record 62 en route to his fifth career victory at Cog Hill.

Talk about witness to history. Woods practically drew a template of how to play the course while both of them watched and tried not to get run over.

Rose, 31, said had flashbacks of the day while shooting 3-under 68 Friday. Four years ago, Woods shot 63 in the final round and blew past everybody, Rose included, on the way to his fourth win at Cog Hill.

"I remember that day clearly," Rose said. "We were both sort of 4 under through seven or eight holes, going along really nicely, and I think I shot 68 in the end, and as the round went on, he was very jovial and laughing and joking around to start with, and then the way he closed it out was a huge learning curve right there.

"He got more and more focused, more and more into his shot, more tunnel vision as the round went on. I kind of thought about that, funny, enough today on the 13th tee, about the way he closed that round out."

Rose bogeyed the 13th Friday, but made an eagle two holes later to reclaim the lead. He bogeyed the last to settle into a tie with Wilson at 11 under. Wilson played with Woods on Saturday when the former world No. 1 recorded his last victory logged on the PGA Tour.

So both of the guys tied for the lead had front-row seats in seeing how Woods delivered the goods.
"Yeah, it definitely is a big lesson when you see someone who's playing that way and the way they have the ability to close out," Rose said. "There's nobody better than him at that, so it was a good lesson to learn that day."

Wilson thought of Woods, too, during his second-round 66 on Friday.

"[I] bogeyed the first hole, and the first thing that popped in my mind was when I played with Tiger in 2009, he shot 62 after an opening bogey," Wilson said. "So obviously my mind is in the right place thinking of stuff like that."

Posted on: September 16, 2011 5:35 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2011 5:53 pm

Wilson: One guy who dearly loves Cog Hill

LEMONT, Ill. -- The lady behind the 18th green at Cog Hill was wrapped from stem to stern in a blanket festooned in Chicago Cubs logos, the baseball team with undying band of loyalists that never seem too concerned with the club's century-long World Series losing skein.

The Windy City fans have a far more successful guy right in front of them to pull for that could use some love this weekend.

Or, maybe they just like the feeling of sheer futility.

Hometown guy Mark Wilson tore up the West Coast early in the year and became the first six guys to log two victories this season, and he shares the lead while playhing in front of his homies at the BMW Championship.

Wilson, a Wisconsin native who first played Cog Hill when he was 15, now lives in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst, shot a 5-under 66 to move into a share of the lead with England's Justin Rose.

As the day wore on, the fans got louder and louder behind Wilson, who estimated he had about 100 friends or family members in the gallery to root him on. The others started catching on, eventually, too.

"All of a sudden, they love him," cracked playing partner Hunter Mahan. "Fans love a front-runner."

He was that, defined, early in the year.

Wilson, 36, began the year with two career victories, then won two of the first three to start 2011, at the Sony Open and Phoenix. Now he has a legitimate chance to surge to the fore in the player-of-the-year conversation, since nobody has reached the three-win plateau yet.

"I feel like I'm playing very close to the same form I had when I started the year out," he said. "My mind is in a better place, and I'm just kind of accepting the results; whatever happens, happens."

What's happened has been a batch of birdies on a course where plenty of others have struggled or posted some downright homely numbers.

Wilson, on the other hand, has the place all but wired. He began practicing at Cog Hill seven years ago and has logged at least 100 rounds on the public-access track, where he feels mroe confortable than any other PGA Tour venue. He's one guy who will rue the move away from the facility after this year.

Not just because the owner lets him play for free. He not only knows how to steer his way around the venue, but how to navigate his way here in Chi-town traffic, as well.

"I know how to get here in the morning, and it just is very simple," he laughed. "I know if there's construction there or a hold up on the bridge, I know another way to go.  So yeah, I feel very comfortable."

Wilson understands that to get back in the conversation for the top-player award, he'll need to win at least one more this season.

"People think about, 'What have you done for me lately,' all the time on the PGA Tour," he said.

Category: Golf
Posted on: May 13, 2011 7:15 pm

Act of integrity gets Wilson the weekend off

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Mark Wilson, a two-time winner this season who claimed his first PGA Tour event in 2007 despite calling a penalty on himself that week, red-flagged himself again Friday at the Players Championship.

This time, he won't get any karmic payback at the end for being honest -- he missed the cut by one.

Wilson, who won the Honda Classic four years ago despite a penalty assessed for a rules breach committed by his caddie, asked a tour official in Friday's second round to review videotape to see if he had unintentionally double-hit a shot on the fifth hole at TPC Sawgrass.

The tour eyed the tape and got back to him, informing him that no penalty had been committed. Trouble was, they reviewed the wrong shot. After telling Wilson he was clear, the official came back a few minutes later after realizing the error. The videotape of the actual shot in question was inconclusive, so Wilson went with his gut instinct and added another stroke to his tally on the hole.

He missed the cut by a shot at 1 over.

"If it was 1 percent that I thought I did it, I'd have called the penalty on myself," Wilson said.

Wilson, a guy with deep religious convictions and about as honest as they come, shrugged off the penalty. "I won't remember this 10 years from now. Webb Simpson did it [called a penalty on himself] and guys do it all the time out here. It's a gentleman's game."

Wilson noted that he had nine holes left when he committed the double-hit and had plenty of time to get back inside the cutline and didn't.
Category: Golf
Posted on: March 18, 2011 3:48 pm
Edited on: March 18, 2011 3:56 pm

Wilson searching for third title of 2010

PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Mark Wilson isn't just playing alongside the big boys nowadays.

He's playing like one of them, too.

The PGA Tour's only two-time winner this season jumped into the mix for yet another title this week with a second-round 66 at the Transitions Championship, this time while playing alongside two of the biggest names in the sport over the past decade.

With defending event champion Jim Furyk and Hall of Famer Vijay Singh in his group, Wilson moved to 6 under overall and into a tie for seventh with his second-round score on an Innisbrook Resort course that should play to his strengths -- consistency. Playing with this pair was an illuminating experience.

"Oh, there's no question about it," said Wilson, who tops the earnings and FedEx Cup lists. "It's all about attitude and their attitude was great. You know we are just all up there trying to take care of our own business and that's what makes it fun. There's no drama, just winning and just get the ball in the hole."

Furyk and Singh, with 50 PGA Tour wins and four majors between them, know how to do that quickly enough. Wilson, who has three wins, might still be the man to beat in their particular trio, however.

"I have not really played that well since [winning] Phoenix," he said. "It was a good start to the year but the last few weeks have not been as planned, so just got the putter rolling. Made all of the putts I should make."
Category: Golf
Posted on: January 17, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2011 4:33 pm

Sony Open and PGA Tour: When more means less

The Hawaiian Swing is over, but allow us to kick up a parting breeze.

This unpalatable scenerio happens perhaps once a year, when the PGA Tour elects to cram a weekend of full play into a final Sunday, as was the case over the weekend at the Sony Open, when golfers were forced to slog 36 holes.

Because of rain earlier in the week, and a single-minded addiction to a 72-hole format as the standard of tournament legitimacy, another title was nearly ruined.

Because of the daylight crunch, the leaders after the third round was completed Sunday were not re-paired. Instead, everybody was immediately sent back out and played the fourth round in the same groupings as their morning 18.

Golf almost had another asterisk-worthy development when Tim Clark, playing on the front nine as he completed his final round, got hot and moved within a shot of eventual winner Mark Wilson, who finished on the back nine.

The idea on Sunday is for the leaders to experience the same demands, the same circumstances, and sure as hell the same pressures as the others in contention down the stretch. That didn’t happen Sunday, when Clark finished 65 minutes ahead of Wilson, on a completely different side of the golf course. Clark had teed off on No. 10 in his final round.

"It would have been a sneaky way to win a tournament," Clark admitted to the Golf Channel after his round.

Sneaky, cheeky and decidedly reeky.

So, the question posed before the court of public opinion is this: Is a tournament in which leaders are paired together for the final round, even if the event is pared to 54 holes, any less worthy than a tournament in which the contenders are not within a mile of one another in terms of time and geography, but complete the entire 72?

Hint: The answer is no.

Clark, who has certainly had trouble closing the deal in the States over the years, wasn't experiencing remotely the same pressures as Wilson or playing partners Matt Kuchar and Steve Marino, who had to watch his every move and knew acutely what needed to be done to win.

Worse, who were the fans at the course supposed to track on foot when Wilson and Clark were on two different sides of the course?

The worst example of the tour's misguided devotion to completing 72 holes, damn the drama, came three years ago when Andres Romero won in New Orleans. The circumstances were nearly identical -- everybody played rain-delay makeup golf on Sunday and the leaders were not repaired before being sent out for the final 18 in the afternoon.

Freewheeling it with no pressure at all, Romero shot two low rounds, then sat in the clubhouse for two hours and played with a laptop computer as players like Woody Austin and Peter Lonard -- acutely aware of the numbers required to win -- fell apart under duress. For all we know, Romero was updating his Facebook page while the others were sweating it out.

All of a sudden, certain Sundays look more like U.S. Open sectional qualifiers: Everybody plays two rounds in the same threesome, then they add up scores at the end of the day and see who gets the plaudits.

Rain is nobody's fault. Sure, four decades ago, the PGA Tour didn’t pair players according to their scores, either. But that was when dinosaurs walked the earth relative to the modern, televised game, wherein fans expect to see the contending players mixing it up together on Sunday.

As for Romero, you might recall the second-most memorable time he was atop the board in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event on a Sunday. He stormed to a two-shot the lead at the 2007 British Open at Carnoustie, seemingly realized what he was doing, and completely unraveled down the stretch.

Category: Golf
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