Tait: Wilson in a lull, heads to Euro Q-School

Oliver Wilson

The form of two Englishmen provides a stark reminder of the thin line that exists between success and failure in this crazy game. Simon Dyson is enjoying the best season of his career, while Oliver Wilson just can’t seem to figure out where he’s going wrong.

While Dyson is competing at Sun City, South Africa in the cash bonanza Nedbank Golf Challenge, Wilson is considering six rounds of hell at next week’s European Tour Qualifying School. Crazy thing is, after witnessing both in amateur golf, I would have thought it would be the other way around.

Dyson has won twice this season, the KLM and Irish Opens. He currently is ninth on the European money list with just under €1.5 million in earnings. It’s the third season in which he’s won two tournaments. He also won twice in 2006 and 2009. Since turning professional in 1999, he’s won over €8.3 million.

Wilson’s career hasn’t been bad up to this point, either. He has over €5.6 million in earnings. Although he’s yet to win, he has nine runner-up finishes since turning pro in 2003. It seemed only a matter of time before he joined the winner’s circle, yet Wilson has struggled this season.

The former Augusta State player missed the cut in this week’s UBS Hong Kong Open. That marked his last chance to secure playing rights for next year. He is 130th on the money list with just under €200,000 and has run out of tournaments.

While Dyson has lit up this year’s tour, Wilson’s only return on all his hard work is a 12th-place finish in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at the start of the year. Since then he has missed 15 cuts and finished no better than 18th.

It’s not what was expected from a man who made his Ryder Cup debut at Valhalla in 2008. Nor is it what was predicted from a man who shone in the 2003 Walker Cup. Wilson won two and a half points out of a possible three at Ganton to help Great Britain & Ireland win the match. That wasn’t surprising given that he won five tournaments and was a three-time All-American while at Augusta State.

Contrast Dyson’s amateur record with Wilson’s and you could be forgiven for thinking it’s Wilson who should have notched six wins so far in his career. Dyson played on the 1999 GB&I team that won at Nairn. However, unlike Wilson – who was one of the GB&I stars – Dyson played a bit part in a team that included Luke Donald and Paul Casey. Dyson gained just a half point from the three matches he played.

My instinct told me that Dyson might have a few good seasons on the European Tour, but I couldn’t see the affable Englishman as a multiple winner.

Boy was I wrong!

It says a lot about Dyson’s self-belief that he’s forged out a nice career on the European Tour, and is looking for more success.

Wilson should take heart from Dyson’s success. Let’s hope the 31-year-old can get through Q-School and start following in Dyson’s footsteps. Wilson has too much talent to be languishing at the bottom of the European food chain.

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