Phil Mickelson won his third Masters Tournament on April 11, 2010. Mark and Amy Wilson watched him drain his birdie putt on the 18th hole from their hospital’s labor and delivery room in Elmhurst, Illinois. Minutes later, Amy gave birth to their second son.
Mark Wilson barely missed qualifying for the 2010 Masters Tournament by coming up just a few strokes short in the September 2009 BMW Championship which would have qualified him for the Tour Championship which would have then met the criteria for an invitation to play the 2010 Masters.
Wilson yearned to be playing in the Masters that year instead of watching it on television. But he told me, “I kind of thought in the back of my mind that God didn’t want me in the Masters that year. My mind wouldn’t have been there. It would have been with Amy. It just wouldn’t have been right. I will say that God works in mysterious ways.”
Wilson qualified and competed in last year’s tournament and enjoyed his family being with him. “Playing in my first Masters last year was just so much more magical than being there by myself like I would have been in 2010 because I would have missed my wife and the birth of our son. Last year, I had my family with me, and we incorporated my second son’s birthday into our family’s Masters Week. It was a great week for us.”
A delightful tradition of the Masters Tournament is the Par 3 contest on Wednesday. Wilson said, “I love that Par 3 course. I plan to play, and our kids will definitely be a part of it. A friend of ours is making the caddy bibs for our two boys.”
“I’m really looking forward to playing Augusta again this year. The Augusta National is one of my favorites. Alister MacKenzie designed the National using the topography the way God laid it out, and his courses are among my favorite to play. Moreover, the National put some extra love in that grass. I don’t know how they do it, but I’ve never seen grass manicured the way it is at Augusta National.”
Mark Wilson is a champion golfer. His dad began teaching him the game when he was two years old. He won the Wisconsin State High School championship when he was 14. Playing for the University of North Carolina, he received the Ben Hogan Award, the college golf equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. He won the 2012 Humana Challenge and placed third in the 2012 Accenture Match Play Championship. He currently ranks fourth in FedEx Cup points. He is twenty-sixth in the World Golf Ranking. Throughout his amateur and professional career, he has many memorable moments.
“About those moments,” Wilson told me, “I can usually look back to a low point not very far from a notable achievement that really shaped me into having those memorable moments. That’s what makes those high moments so meaningful.”
It would certainly be a memorable moment for Wilson to put on the Green Jacket this Sunday (April 8, 2012), but he keeps winning at golf in perspective.
“In this game, you can get greedy. If you win one tournament, you want to win another one or you want to make the Ryder Cup team or get into a major like the Masters. There is always the next goal to be had. The media keeps telling you that, but those are not my goals. Those are the ones they are infusing into me. My goal is for the light of Christ to shine through me into other people through this game of golf of which the Lord has given me the talent to play and play well. Golf is the platform from which I am able to glorify God.
“I know there is a lot more to this life than just my golf score. I think God wants people to be saved with Him. So, I think that it’s my responsibility to let his light shine through my life in a way that makes people wonder what makes me tick. Hopefully, they’ll investigate and see stuff written about me and realize it’s my relationship with Jesus Christ who gives me peace and salvation. God’s agenda for me is for Him to use me so that many souls will be saved so that we can party up there with him in heaven together forever.”
Rev. Dan White is pastor of North Columbia Church, Appling, GA, and a free lance writer. Reach him at email@example.com