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Will Wilcox

“5 things” with Wilcox, Golf Digest

OAKVILLE, ON – JULY 21: Will Wilcox watches his tee shot on the 11th hole during the first round of the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Club on July 21, 2016 in Oakville, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Willy Wilcox is in his 10th year as a professional golfer. The Alabama resident is enjoying a successful season thus far on the Web.com Tour, with two top-5 finishes that currently place him in one of the top 25 spots that earn a PGA Tour card for next season. The 31-year-old had status on the PGA Tour the past four seasons, with his best season coming in 2015—earning more than $1.1 million—and Wilcox’s career earnings are more than $3.2 million. He once shot 59 in a Web.com Tour event, but his most famous highlight was a hole-in-one on No. 17 at the 2016 Players Championship and his epic celebration. We caught up with Wilcox ahead of this week’s Players Championship.

How often are you reminded of your hole-in-one on No. 17 at the Players?

“Pretty regularly. It’s still surreal. And I definitely think it’s good I made that hole-in-one because nobody else was going to react like I did. A lot of guys, like Sergio’s reaction wasn’t great (laughs). I mean, they’re going to play it every year. But with me, it was just a flood of everything, so it was pretty sweet. And it really resonates with kids and people who would react the same way. Kids from all over the world have contacted me or come up to me and said, ‘If I made a hole-in-one, I would have reacted the same way.’ So that’s pretty cool.”

RELATED: Listen to our full chat with Willy Wilcox

Is No. 17 really as uncomfortable and scary as everyone says it is?

“When you’re just playing with it buddies, it’s almost funny if you hit it into the water. But if you’re in tournament play, it’s not as funny. And I did hit it in the water the next round. That day the pin was up, the wind was pumping into out of the left so it was a 120 number and you’re hitting 8-iron, so that’s a lot different than flipping a pitching wedge. So that hole, when the wind is blowing is an absolute animal.”

How does your mind-set change playing on the Web.com Tour vs. the PGA Tour?

“I look at it different from most players. If I’m paying my bills and playing golf, then I’m in good shape. So I’m more motivated now than I was on the PGA Tour last year just because I found my game again, I’m not losing a few balls every round. Last year was such a tough year. I was so unmotivated because I was playing so bad — I just couldn’t wait for it to be over. Because that’s a hard spot to be in because everybody’s so good and I just developed some bad habits, that six months into the season, there’s not much you can do, so you’re kind of screwed. So this year now that I’m playing well, I go into every week, it feels like the Masters.”

What did you learn from your buddy Ryan Armour recently winning his first PGA Tour title?

“He broke through at 43, which is awesome. Basically, it took him awhile to get a perfect set up. I just believe stronger in dialing in equipment after seeing what he did. It took him awhile, but now that he’s got it figured out, he’s got about 20 extra yards in the air. He’s hitting his 7-iron 180 where as before he was like a 166 7-iron. So the more technology, the more ability to tinker comes out, not necessarily with heads and shafts, but just learning how to dial in equipment with lofts, lies, grinds, weighting. Before I just grabbed a club and started playing, but now I’m looking around and seeing how dialed in everyone is so now I’m going to TrueSpec and I’m trying to stay on top of my equipment better. All these other guys have that advantage, so I might at least do it as well.”

RELATED: Willy Wilcox’s unusual path to professional golf

You’re a huge Tiger Woods fan as evidenced by your Twitter feed. Have you had any brushes with him?

“Nothing good (laughs). Honestly, I had a little thing with him at Medalist a few years ago where I was taking a video of him on the range and he was pretty offended. So yeah, that didn’t work out pretty good. I think he might know who I am, and I don’t think he’s a big fan. So that’s kind of depressing, but I’ll continue to love him.”

Click on the following links to shop Wilcox’s gear at Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy.

‘My hands were shaking’: Wilcox overcomes pressure to thrive in Great Abaco Classic

GREAT ABACO, Bahamas – Will Wilcox has made 149 starts across the PGA TOUR and Web.com Tour, in addition to countless other amateur, college and mini-tour events.

Wilcox considers last week’s The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay — playing on a sponsor invite and knowing he needed a top-25 finish to keep his season going — as one of the most stressful weeks of his golf career.

“My hands were shaking when I first teed off last week,” said Wilcox, who entered the season with only past champion status. “It was a lot of pressure … just a do-or-die moment. I’ve had a few in my career, and I’ve been lucky enough to get it done.”

Indeed, Wilcox rose up with a T13 finish to extend his season to this week’s The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club. Most importantly, the finish will ensure him a strong position in the reshuffle that takes place after next month’s Club Colombia Championship.

Wilcox teed off at 6:55 a.m. Sunday in the opening round at The Abaco Club, and the peaceful setting matched his demeanor. Knowing that his season isn’t on the line this week, like it was in Exuma, the Alabama native produced a 6-under 66 to hold a share of the opening-round lead, with play suspended due to darkness.

The 31-year-old struggled to find success for the majority of 2017; he struggled to find a comfort level on the greens, and he missed all four cuts in the Web.com Tour Finals.

Wilcox discovered an alignment problem during the offseason, though. With the help of a mirror and some alignment tools, as well as Golf Channel’s Martin Hall, he got ‘going in the right direction.’

“I’ve always been lucky enough … to make putts just doing whatever felt right,” Wilcox said. “Basically what happened is I went too far in one direction. I kept opening my stance, opening my stance, and then the clubhead was aimed incorrectly.

“So you’ve got two competing factors, and then you have no idea where the putter face is with the ball. Fortunately, it was something that simple, but it took 30 days to where it felt normal. Now, it feels great.”

The three-month break between the Web.com Tour Championship and the season opener allowed Wilcox to ‘really grind on my putting’ – he figures he averaged two or three three-putts per round in 2017, and he knew that needed to change if he wanted to see better results this season.

So far, so good. Markedly improved putting, coupled with a swing tweak made about a month ago, give Wilcox reason to believe that better days are ahead.

“I knew that what I was working on was good, and you can feel it in your hands and the way the ball was coming out, and increased distance when you start hitting it better.” Wilcox said. “And the putting was just getting better and better and better throughout the offseason.

“On the first tee today, I was totally relaxed, other than it being pretty dark out. Now that last week is over with, I’m really feeling alright.”

Will Wilcox

Wilcox In Contention at The Players Championship

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida–The 42nd playing of The Players Championship kicked off on Thursday at TPC Sawgrass, and it marked the very first time with Will Wilcox in the field.

The first round started for Wilcox at 7:26AM off the first tee with Cameron Tringale and Daniel Summerhays. The players were met by benign conditions and soft greens making the difficult stadium course more easier than typical conditions.

Will made three consecutive birdies on holes 7, 8 and also on number 9 after nearly holing his third shot with a wedge from 83 yards. A par on 10 and Will was back to the races with consecutive birdies on 11, getting up and down from the green-side bunker, and 12 hitting another wedge 2 and a half feet for another tap-in birdie.

Will closed the first round with four under par 68, a great start in his very first Players Championship. He is off for his second round on Friday at 12:41PM

After his first round, Will spoke with Kelly Hawkins from the PGA Tour:

Will Wilcox

15th Place Finish at Zurich Classic in New Orleans

New Orleans, Louisiana–Wet and wild conditions met the PGA Tour for the 2016 Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Rain delays on Friday, Saturday and Sunday forced the hand of tournament and tour officials and the event was shortened from the standard 4-round 72 holes to 3-rounds and 54 holes and a Monday finish.

Will Wilcox shot rounds of 70-69 to comfortably make Friday’s cut, however the weekend delays would test the patience of all players in the field.  Wilcox birdied his first hole on Saturday, hitting a wedge to 5 feet and sinking the putt.  On the par 5 second hole, Will hit the fairway with his driver and then proceeded to rip a three wood from the fairway from 274 yards away. The ball ended 6 feet 7 inches from the cup for eagle. Play was then called for the day with severe rain, thunder and lightening throughout the bayou area.

Will returned Sunday morning for a 7:30AM start, and sank the eagle putt quickly escalating him to 3-under par thru the first two holes of his third round and tied for fourth. Wilcox then played holes 3 thru 11 even par before play was called for the day.

Standing on the 12th tee at 7AM Monday, Wilcox set out to complete his third and final round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. A hot start produced birdies on the 12th and 13th holes moving Will up the leaderboard and inside the top 20.  A bogey on 15 and three pars to finish on holes 16, 17 and 18 left Wilcox in a tie for 15th for the week.

Will’s upcoming schedule includes the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina this week before heading to Ponte Vedra, Florida the following week for The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

Will Wilcox

After Slow Start, Wilcox Rallies into Contention at Hilton Head

The PGA Tour travels to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina this week for the RBC Heritage.  Players were greeted by chilly, blustery conditions for rounds one and two with winds between 15 and 25 miles per hour and temperatures in the 50s and 60s.

Will Wilcox got off to slow start in his opening round on Thursday.  Teeing off on the back nine first, Wilcox found himself 4 over par thru his first 8 holes in the difficult conditions, including a double bogey 5 on the difficult par three 14th hole–the most difficult on the Sea Pines lay out. Ever the fighter, Wilcox battled back on his final nine holes with birdies on 1, 3, 6 and 9.  Thanks to a score of three under par 33, Will was able to post a very respectable score of 1 over par 72. A practice session on the range after the round showed signs of progress in his ball-striking and an optimism for Friday’s second round.

The weather forecast for Friday called for blustery winds, and potential rain throughout the afternoon.  A 1:20PM tee time awaited Mr. Wilcox off the first tee, and thankfully the rain held off for much of the day.  Thru three holes, Wilcox had yet to make a par with a bogey-birdie-double bogey start for 2 over par thru three holes.  Pars on holes 4 thru 7 settled the round, before Will made birdie on the difficult 8th hole from 10 feet after sticking it from 198 yards.  Will played aggressive on the short and narrow 332 yard par four 9th hole, hitting this tee shot just short of the green and converting the up and down for his second consecutive birdie.  Will made the turn even par for the day, and 1 over for the tournament just inside the “cut-line”.

A solid day of ball striking continued on the back nine as Will made stress free pars to open his final nine of the day on holes 10 thru the difficult 14th par three.  An approach shot into the par 5 15th to 17 inches set up his fourth birdie of the day. On the difficult par four 16th, Will drained a 24 foot birdie putt from across the green to the front left hole location for two in a row to get him to minus two for the day and a tie for 33rd place.  After missing the green long and right on the tricky par 3 17th hole, Will made a tidy up and down from 45 feet for par.

A bogey on the 18th, his final hole, left Will 1 under for the day and even par for the event–tied for 39th place…just 6 shots off the lead with 36 holes left to play.

A 10:09AM tee time awaits for Saturday’s third round.

Will Wilcox

Final Round 65 Propels Wilcox to 6th Place at WM Phoenix Open

After two missed cuts to start 2016, at the Sony Open and CareerBuilder Challenge, Wilcox took a week off to spend time with partners at the PGA Show in Orlando, FL and focus on knocking off the off-season rust.

Wilcox arrived in Arizona last Monday feeling as though he still had work to do, but confident that he was headed in the right direction. A Tuesday practice round, combined with a few extra hours on the practice facility proved fruitful as Wilcox started to feel more and more confident with each round as the Phoenix Open progressed.

Hard work pays off, as Wilcox fired his best round of 2016 at the perfect time during Sunday’s final round at TPC Scottsdale for the Waste Management Phoenix Open.  Wilcox started the final round in a tie for 31st place.  A final round of six under par 65 was good enough for the lowest score of the day, and included seven birdies! Wilcox birdied three of his final five holes to finish in a tie for 6th place!  The finish moved him up to 122nd in the world rankings.

Highlights from the Waste Management Phoenix Open included the following stats:

  • 2nd in field in Strokes Gained Putting
  • 3rd in field in Sand Saves
  • 6th in field in Greens in Regulation
  • 6th in field in Total Strokes Gained
  • 8th in field in Total Birdies
  • 19th in field in Total Driving Distance.

Wilcox upcoming schedule includes the next three PGA Tour events: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles and the Honda Classic in West Palm Beach, Florida.