Rookie diary: Chris Wilson’s initiation

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Editor’s note: Wilson is playing the Farmers Insurance Open, his third PGA Tour start of the season. Wilson cashed his first PGA Tour check at the Bob Hope Classic, where he eagled his 72nd hole to make the cut.

Jan. 27, 2010

My name is Chris Wilson and I’m a rookie on the PGA Tour. I am originally from Columbus, Ohio, and played golf at Northwestern. So, yes, it is possible to play college golf in Chicago and make it to the ‘big show.’ I graduated spring of 2007 with a communications degree and a psychology minor. After turning pro the summer following graduation, I played two-and-a-half years on the NGA Hooters Tour. My life changed completely in December 2009 when I realized my dream of getting my PGA Tour card by grinding through all three stages of Q-School.

One of the first things I did after getting my card was buy myself a little present. As most 25-year-old men would probably do, I went car shopping! I ended up ordering a BMW 3 series from a local dealership in Ohio and am still awaiting its arrival.

A few other things in my life have changed since getting my Tour card. First, and most importantly, my Twitter followers has more than tripled (TheRealCWilson.) Shameless self-promotion.

photo

Chris Wilson chips onto the 18th green at Bear Lakes CC in West Palm Beach, Fla., during the final round of the 2009 PGA Tour Q-School.

On a more serious note, I have met a lot of very nice people involved with the Tour and with the early-season tournaments. There are also a few Tour players who have been helpful and offered advice to help me with the process. Other than seeing some new places and meeting new people, I have tried really hard to keep some sense of familiarity while in an unfamiliar environment.

There are two great stories from my early season.

The first took place at a pro-scratch event called the Tommy Bahama Desert Marlin in Scottsdale. I was practicing, getting ready for the following week’s Sony Open, when from across the green I hear, “Hey, Rookie! Quit grinding on your putting!” It was none other than PGA champion Rich Beem. I made my way over to introduce myself and we began to discuss the day’s round.

I told him our team didn’t have the best day, and on top of that my pocket had a slight tear in the side. Before I could point out where the tear was, his hand had grabbed the pocket and violently thrust downward, leaving my bare leg exposed from my pocket to my ankle. Luckily I had my best underwear on that day. After the incident, Beem said, “Go to the bar. We need four beers, Rookie.” I happily obliged, and more than considered myself initiated to the Tour.

Wilson’s Rookie Diary

Ever wonder what life is like for a PGA Tour rookie? Well, Chris Wilson is here to tell you. Wilson, 25, will file a weekly diary on Golfweek.com to give you an insider’s view of the PGA Tour. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/TheRealCWilSon.

The next came on my last hole before the cut at last week’s Bob Hope Classic. After bogeying my 15th and 16th holes to drop to 8 under par and one shot outside the cut line, I knew I needed at least one birdie coming in to make the cut. I parred 17 with a two-putt and desperately needed something good to happen on the last hole.

I drove it into the fairway and had 164 yards to the pin. My caddie and I decided on a little 7-iron to make sure we had enough club to get at least hole high. The ball left the face with solid contact and was on a great line. The soft applause grew louder until everyone threw their arms in the air, and exploded as my shot fell into the hole for an eagle 2. What a way to make my first cut on the PGA Tour.

I’ll do my best to make it a little easier on myself these next few weeks.

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