Hooray for the little guys. The TV announcers didn’t really play it up, but the real conflict going on Sunday at the Humana Challenge was between one of the true little guys on Tour, Mark Wilson, and one of the biggest of the big guys, bomber Robert Garrigus. Wilson commented after the round that Garrigus was out driving him by silly amounts. On one hole Wilson hit driver, then hybrid, while Garrigus hit driver – 7 iron. Of course, Wilson ended up winning by two, and in the end it didn’t really matter that he was so much shorter than his opponent, as he was long enough to still reach the 18th in two, and because of the fact that when he is playing well he can hit a hybrid as close as most longer players hit much shorter irons.
To the eye Mark Wilson’s swing is classic and conventional. It has a whip-like transition and produces a lot of speed for a little (145 pounds) guy. Upon closer analysis, however, Wilson’s swing has quite a few unconventional elements. As you will see in the video, his tempo is quite unlike anyone I have ever measured. Coming in at 27 /6, way off the accepted norm of 3/1, Wilson gets to the ball once the club is moving in that direction faster than any other player. His shaft is bending noticeably in transition on just about every swing, and he hits the ball with authority even as his right leg fires toward the ball and his hands travel relatively more toward the target (“chasing”) than you might think, as his upper right arm stays behind him and he is forced to straighten it out to the right as he hits the ball. His routine is precise and business-like, and it is this combination of precision and efficient power that makes Wilson so effective. It is odd to think that he has not been more successful in the 4 majors, having only played in 8 with his best finish being 26th. While I am not a fan of some of his technique elements, I would still expect him to make a strong showing in at least one major this year.