Wilcox thrilled the galleries surrounding the par-3 17th when his pitching wedge from 147 yards hit just below the hole and his yellow Srixon ball trickled into the cup. It marked the first ace on the iconic island green since Miguel Angel Jimenez in 2002, with more than 6,300 competitive shots missing the target in between.
The only thing better than Wilcox’s shot may have been his celebration, as he hugged anyone within reach and high-fived a line of fans leading up to the green.
“I’ve seen so many Tour players make hole-in-ones and hole shots, and they’re just like, nothing. Like, what’s wrong with you?” Wilcox said. “I get pumped up. I came in 15th in New Orleans and I acted like I just won the Masters, and if I come in 38th here, then I’m going to party on Sunday night.”
Thanks in large part to his memorable shot, Wilcox will have a chance to play the weekend following a 1-under 71 in the second round. At 5 under, he trails Jason Day by nine shots heading into Saturday.
The ace created plenty of attention, but the 29-year-old is keeping his eyes set on a more pragmatic prize after seven missed cuts in 16 starts this season.
“Obviously the hole-in-one is huge, but playing for this big purse, I’m just trying to keep my card,” he said. “To make the cut in this thing is awesome because I missed the cut by a mile last week in Charlotte. I love this golf course.”
Wilcox said “everybody” in his family is in attendance this week at TPC Sawgrass, and he spent the two-hour weather delay fielding congratulations and well-wishes from friends, peers and social media fans alike.
“Everybody around the hole was excited, but Twitter followers were exploding and all that stuff, which I think is great because getting your name out there is always good,” he said. “Obviously a lot of people in the world saw that. Why would you not watch The Players? If I wasn’t playing in it, I’d be sitting and watching it right now. I’m just being honest.”