February 07, 2011
SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. -- On Sunday night, after a long day of golf at the Waste Management Open, Mark Wilson, a Green Bay Packers fan through and through, went back to watch the game with his two kids. Problem was, kids don't always approve of your plans, and Wilson remarked after his Monday playoff win, that he didn't catch a lot of the Super Bowl because he was enjoying Candyland with one of his sons.
Wilson beat his son in Candyland, and then beat Jason Dufner, and the rest of a star-studded leaderboard to win his second PGA Tour tournament in three starts, making him the leader of just about everything there is in golf right now.
His first win was at the Sony Open, when Wilson had to battle it out with Tim Clark and Steve Marino. This week, the names were shinier, and ended with Mickelson, Fowler and Singh. But Wilson hung tough, slipped past a bad swing on the tee of his 72nd hole (which probably felt like his 172nd hole of the continually delayed week in Phoenix), and made birdie on his second playoff hole.
So does this mean that a guy like Wilson could be dominant? Maybe, because it sure doesn't seem anyone else is going to take command.
Dustin Johnson, the sexy pick this season to dominate the tour, caught fire in his first round with a seven-under 64, but never was a factor after that. Phil Mickelson, who came up a shot short a week ago at Torrey Pines, made noise early with rounds of 67-65, but couldn't control a loose swing that produced two even par rounds to close, not good enough on the birdie-friendly TPC Scottsdale. Even Rickie Fowler, who finished second here a year ago, couldn't continue the magic he showed with a second-round 62, and slowly slipped down the leaderboard as the days went on.
But there was Wilson, a 36-year-old man that said he prayed a lot during his rounds to keep himself calm, and said a putting tip he got from Dr. Greg Rose has helped him play better, calmly hitting green after green (he lead the field in greens in regulation, hitting 15 or more greens in all four rounds this week) on his way to a win.
Can Wilson keep this streak alive? It sure seems like it. TPC Scottsdale isn't really a short-hitters golf course, so if he can win here, it seems he'd be able to contend everywhere. While it may seem crazy to think Wilson would be a factor at Pebble Beach, which starts in just three days, you have to think that a guy hitting his irons this well is going to have a good chance with the small greens at Pebble Beach.
Also, he's got momentum, a hot putter, and some serious, serious confidence. He may not look the part, but Wilson's game is better than anyone other player this season. Don't be surprised if he's looming yet again in just six short days.