13 to watch for 2013: No. 11 Willie Wood

January 03, 2013
Vartan Kupelian

TOP 13 FOR 2013: No. 12 Rocco Mediate | No. 13 Colin Montgomerie | MORE: Champions Tour rookies in 2013

For Willie Wood, all the doubts and uncertainty should be gone. After a memorable 2012, he knows full well he belongs on the Champions Tour and he knows he can win. It will make for a very interesting year for a player whose talent has provided so many great triumphs over the years going back to his amateur and college days at Oklahoma State.

As a professional, the victories had been few. He had gone 189 starts on the PGA TOUR, 105 events on the Web.com Tour and 15 more on the Champions Tour without victory since winning the 1996 Deposit Guaranty in Mississippi.

He had 23 top 10 finishes on the PGA TOUR but only that one win. He turned 50 in late 2010, finishing T13 in his debut at the AT&T Championship, but it wasn’t until last year’s Dick's Sporting Goods Open at En-Joie Golf Club that he won again. That's a long time to wait but Wood’s stock-in-trade is perseverance. That’s what made his victory at En-Joie so gratifying and popular among his peers. Even the man he beat in a playoff at Dick’s, Michael Allen, referred to Wood's determination in hanging in there.

Here's the best part. Wood wasted little time validating the victory. He finished third in the next event, at the Boeing Classic, and returned to the winner’s circle for the second time in three events at the Pacific Links Championship in Hawaii.

Wood added another top 10 at the AT&T Championship – that’s all four of his top 10s in his final seven events – and won $1,012,869. The finish could set the stage for a very big year.


Best finishes 1st Dick's Sporting Goods Open, Pacific Links Championship
By the Numbers
Starts: 14
Cuts made: 14
Top-10 finishes: 4
Money List rank: 15th
TOUR ranking
Driving distance: 45th
Driving accuracy: 47th
Greens in regulation: 22nd
Putts per round: 5th
Scoring average: 8th