The Riverine Herald : 2018-11-28

FRONT PAGE : 12 : 12

FRONT PAGE

PAGE 12—Riverine Herald, Wednesday, November 28, 2018 riverineher ECHUCA’S ANSWER TO HAPPY GILMORE Waking every morning at Noosa; squeezing in a quick surf and some gym time before smacking a few balls around the golf course and then getting on a plane headed for some exotic locale to smack a few more golf balls around some world class course. FRASER who knows little about the game – well, all the better. “Rizz certainly is a life of the party guy, someone everybody gravitates to without knowing it I reckon,” Wilson said. “I’d like to say yes (his knowledge of the game has improved), but I’m not 100 per cent convinced. Don’t get me wrong, Rizz is a smart guy, he’s studying his third degree, and he picked up caddying straight away. “The routine’s just so strange to him. It’s just about getting him in the groove and he’ll be as good as any other caddie out there. “It’s the same for anyone, even someone who hasn’t done it a great deal, it’s getting that flow and gelling together,” he said. With shades of Happy Gilmore, having made a name for themselves as rowdy and entertaining, the duo frequently get asked by tournament organisers to “turn up” the dial on their wacky show – it draws crowds, they tell them. Wilson said that’s the way he sees the game going in future; down the path of the Twenty20, the futsal, and the AFLX of the world. “Golf had a much bigger following 20 years ago than it does today, and I think part of that reason is because people have become accustomed to shorter and more entertaining games. “The thought of being there for five hours – some people say that’s far too long to watch a sport. If I can add a bit of colour and attention, then a shorter form golf could be huge for the game. “Just think of cricket, the test format started with five days and all of a sudden the 50-over game came in. But even that takes nearly a whole day, so now the Twenty-20 format is huge. “Golf has the potential to do that. There are so many things that are yet to be harnessed and if we could do that, we could throw in things like time limits, or a shot clock would make people watch it, just that added pressure and reality TV kind of feel, you know, why not mic the players up?” he said. “We’re just scratching the surface and I’d love to be around when that stuff kicks off. “I think we’ll be forced into that format within the next decade. “It’ll get to the point where the PGA Tour is the only safe brand of golf in the world. That hand will be forced soon, and the younger demographic will force the trial of new things.” playing golf for a decent living. “I’m living with my best mate and I’m surrounded by people who are willing to help me succeed. “Just the jump in productivity alone out here I’ve noticed is the main thing. With the weather in Melbourne it was a bit of a no-brainer (to move to Noosa), and it’s already starting to pay dividends. “I was exposed to moving away pretty early, I moved out at 19, and have been travelling around the world for anywhere between 20 and 35 weeks a year for the past three or four years. So it’s just second nature now,” he said. But he can’t dwell on that fantastic result at the Foshan Open. Just a few weeks later he was back on the course — this time at the Isuzu Queensland Open, missing the cut by one shot with a +4 after two rounds. A few weeks after that Wilson took to the Australian Open in Sydney, and missed the cut by just three shots. Golf is no walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination. Wilson hits anywhere between 80 and 150 balls a day at the driving range, six days a week, and between 15 and 20 hours a week on the course, aiming for at least four rounds a week to keep him on the ball. Then there’s that time in the gym, the swim and eight hours sleep a night before a tournament. No wonder the time flies. “I love sharing my success story with kids in country schools, because when I was going through school it wasn’t realistic to think you can get there. “We get small-minded in the country and are told that’s okay by people who haven’t experienced a whole lot. They think because they haven’t gone on to greatness, it’s not possible for others. “I wasn’t the most talented golfer in my school, let alone the state but I’ve gone on to do some pretty cool things,” he said. Moving to Echuca at age 10, Wilson’s family bought a property across the road from the local golf course – and he was hooked. “As soon as I started winning, at about age 11, I got the bug. “I played every sport at school and wasn’t that great at any, but I just loved sport. And I figured that if there’s one you can edge a pathway in, and do it as a job, then you grab it,” he said. And if you can make money while playing one of the hardest sports in the world, and you can do it while “mucking around” with your childhood mate RISING with the Queensland sun at 5.30am, a seven minute walk to the beach, a surf, an hour in the gym, seven or eight hours on the range and the course; then a few hours of admin. Throw in a laugh or two with house mate, best buddy and caddie Riley ‘Rizz’ O’Neill and it’s bed time for Jack Wilson – he has a big tournament to play in the morning. So far the 27-year-old Echuca golfer has had a year to remember (although maybe not the Oz Open) to date. He’s competed on the PGA Tour of Australia and the Asian Tour, as well as featuring in European Tour events, the Challenge Tour and PGA Tour Canada in previous years. And his recent results have been nothing short of sensational. In the Foshan Open in China, Wilson was well and truly in contention to close out a win; just one shot short of leaders Frenchman Victor Perez and Scotsman Robert MacIntyre with three holes remaining. After three rounds of world-class golf, Wilson finished the fourth and final round on 16 under, missing three strong birdie chances in the last three holes. Perez won after a play-off with MacIntyre – both finished the round on -19, leaving Wilson tied for seventh. It was a gut-wrenching way to finish the tournament, Wilson said, but on another day it could have been him standing atop the podium. “I’ve been there a number of times before, and I usually tell myself I have to do something special and get a bit more aggressive as I get closer, but in reality I don’t have to do anything special,” Wilson said. “So this time I stuck to the game plan and kept it much the same for the last three – I just wasn’t able to execute it and get the ball close enough, so I had three pars where it could have been three birdies on another day. “And with that you go from being in contention for $80,000 (prize money) down to about $10,000. “My career looks a lot different with that kind of money, but that’s what this game is – a matter of millimetres,” he said. But he’s not letting the Foshan Open get him down. Not many people can say they get to live “their best life” every day, walking distance from the beaches of Noosa with their best friend, while PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTED BY PRESSREADER PressReader.com +1 604 278 4604 ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY COPYRIGHT AND PROTECTED BY APPLICABLE LAW

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