Number Crunching 2013: Oliver Wilson
Over the final two weeks of 2013, we will be breaking down players that rose and fell over the past 12 months. Check out the entire series here.
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Ranking/movement: -475 (No. 480 to No. 955)
Why the fall? Oliver Wilson has suffered one of the most dramatic drops in the rankings in recent years. That slide continued in 2013.
Wilson spent most of his year on the European Challenge Tour after losing his European Tour card in 2012. It was quite a letdown for a player who reached the heights in 2008 when he played on the European Ryder Cup team and finished seventh on the 2009 European money list.
The 2003 Walker Cup player got off to a bad start early last year. He missed the cut in his first nine events, and finally played the weekend in early June when he tied for 52nd at the Challenge Tour’s Scottish Hydro Challenge. His stroke average during those nine tournaments was 74.83, with three rounds in the 80s.
“The first half of the year was horrific,” said Wilson, who played college golf at Augusta State. “I can’t really describe how bad it was other than to say it was embarrassing.”
The 33-year-old rallied to make the cut in eight of his next 13 events, posting two top 5s. He was runner-up in the Northern Ireland Open Challenge and tied for fifth in the Kazakhstan Open. He eventually placed 42nd on the Challenge Tour money list and finished with a 71.94 stroke average (137th).
Wilson, who has nine second-place finishes on the European Tour, missed his card by two shots at the European Tour Q-School. Thus, he faces another season on the Challenge Tour.
Wilson says: “My driving of the golf ball was horrific. I was hitting about four fairways a round, and half the fairways I missed I was out of play. I’ve got a good short game, but it wasn’t good enough to get me out of that sort of trouble. I spent the last four months hitting driver off the deck and got my confidence back that way. It was a good end to the season . . . I feel as if I’ve turned the corner and have started moving forward again. The confidence is growing.”