Harbour Town playground tumble teaches eternal truths for PGA Tour player

dlauderdale@islandpacket.comApril 11, 2012 

PGA Tour player Mark Wilson was alarmed when his 4-year-old son took a hard fall Tuesday on the Harbour Town playground.

But it helped him illustrate his faith to 550 people Wednesday at the 16th annual Christian Heritage Breakfast at the Crowne Plaza.

Wilson said he was lucky to be raised in a home of good Lutherans. Les and Virginia Wilson of Menomonee Falls, Wisc., introduced him to faith at home and through a Lutheran school.

"I was thinking God was up there basing my success on all the good works I did," Wilson said. "I thought maybe he'd bless me with a 68 the next day."

He said being on "the journey" of the PGA Tour and being a father have helped him see faith as something much more real.

"I look at the heavenly Father and know he must be like me with my own sons, when he has to say, 'Why did you do that? I told you how to have peace and live a happy life.' "

Young Lane Wilson's breath was knocked out momentarily. He was playing with the boys of other PGA Tour golfers Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson and Tom Gillis. Mark Wilson was out with his younger son, 2-year-old Cole, on the Pirates of Hilton Head boat ride when he got the text from his wife, Amy.

"It was a little vision of what it's like for God, who always forgives and helps us up," Wilson said.

He said he's digging deeper into the Bible to better understand what God expects. He's reading the Bible through this year for the first time. He's reading the daily devotionals on fellow touring pro Ben Crane's website: www.BenCraneGolf.com. He said he prints some out to keep in his yardage book.

"I want to find out more about who our heavenly Father is," Wilson said.

Wilson turned pro to pursue his dream in life as soon has he earned a degree in mathematics at the University of North Carolina. It took a decade to capture his first win on the PGA Tour. Now he's on a roll. Three of his five wins have come in the past 15 months. He comes into today's RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing ranked 28th in the world. He's eighth on both the money list and the FedExCup rankings.

Nonetheless, Wilson said he finds peace in knowing there's more to life than winning at golf.

"If what I played for is winning and that was the only thing," he said, "I think I'd be a mess out there."

Wilson's parents also introduced him to Hilton Head Island. They've been coming to a timeshare in Palmetto Dunes Resort each March for three decades, along with friends from the Oconomowoc Golf Club.

Wilson said his father taught him that anything worth doing is worth doing right.

He said golf has taught him that when he falls, he'll get up stronger.

It's a lesson he passed to a new generation this week on the Harbour Town playground.

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