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Wilson Named UGA Senior Men’s Player of the Year
“Selecting this year’s UGA Senior Player of the Year was no easy task,” said UGA Executive Director Bill Walker. “Because of the breadth and depth of the quality of our players, that’s the way it is nearly every year.”
Craig Wilson finished third on the UGA Senior Player Performance list, but he won the two major tournaments on the UGA senior schedule, the UGA Senior Amateur (stroke play) and the UGA Senior Match Play titles. Winning those major championships earned him the UGA Men’s Senior Player of the Year Award. It is the first time in recent history that a senior has won both major titles.
The award will be presented to him at the UGA Annual Meeting to be held January 20th at Hidden Valley Country Club.
“We have a very, very competitive group of senior players, deep and strong,” said UGA Executive Director Bill Walker. “The selection committee felt that his achievement of winning both majors in the same year deserved the special recognition as Player of the Year.”
“Wilson played in only six events, but quality is just as important as quantity,” Walker said.
Others who had successful years and were close in the voting included Pat Murphy and Brett Sampson. Murphy had a good showing at the USGA Senior Amateur where he earned the 63rd seed and advanced to the quarterfinals before losing.
Wilson qualified as the 23rd seed in the UGA Senior Match Play Championship at Davis Park and then defeated Mike Jones and Dan Hatch in close 1-up matches. In the quarterfinals, he defeated Bill Probst, 5 and 4, and claimed the title with 1-up victories over Dana Nelson in the semis and Brett Sampson in the finals.
Sampson was also Wilson’s biggest threat in the Senior Amateur at East Bay. Wilson played brilliant golf in shooting 65-64 in the opening two rounds and had a big lead going into the final round, but he had to sink the final putt of the tournament for a 70 to hold off the hard-charging Sampson by one stroke for the title.
Wilson played on the BYU golf team back in the school’s heyday in the early ‘80s, and of that experience he said, “Hanging around future tour players like Rick Fehr, Keith Clearwater, Dick Zokol, Rick Gibson, and Eduardo Herrera and watching them play was enough to alter my future plans into a different line of work. The “yips” confirmed it.”
“The yips were embarrassing and caused me to quit the game from time to time. I would dabble at it occasionally, but the yips kept coming back,” he said.
A few years ago, Wilson switched to a left-hand-low putting grip, and it has cured the yips and “made golf enjoyable again.”
He also credits his ‘golf guru’ friend ‘Doc’ Ron Cohn for helping him with his ‘golf attitude.’
“About a year ago, Cohn offered to help me with my game. He watched me play three holes and then taught me a whole new concept to “never consider your golf swing when playing. Just think of the body being in the right place.” Once the body is “in the right place,” there's nothing else to think about.”
He credits Jake Sowby, the Titleist Rep in Seattle (a former U of Utah golfer), with encouraging him to upgrade his equipment. He got new wedges and a driver and ditched his 33-year-old Ping Eye2 irons.
“The new driver added 20 yards to my distance, the new wedges had more spin, and I started loving the game again,” Wilson said.
“I love playing with our senior tournament group. It’s a blast to hang out with them,” he said.
He also credits his participation in the eight-man team leagues as a turning point in his new love for the game.
“It’s an honor to be named UGA Senior Player of the Year,” Wilson said. “The UGA senior field is very strong and the competition is keen, and that makes this honor very special,” he added.
Wilson got his MBA at BYU, has been successful in business, and now teaches at LDS Business College. He is married and has five children. He has been in the presidency of the Holladay North Stake for nine years and served a mission for the LDS Church in Alberta, Canada.