The gentlemanly Mark Wilson was once a class clown


Mark Wilson has one of the most sterling reputations on the PGA Tour, so when speaking to his father a couple years ago I had to ask him what kind of child Mark was and whether he ever spanked him.

You might be surprised to learn that Wilson, among the most polite, good natured and generous men on the PGA Tour, was a class clown growing up in suburban Milwaukee, Wis. In fact, Mark's third-grade teacher became so exasperated with him disrupting class that she moved his desk into a cardboard box in a corner of the class.

“It backfired,” said Wilson, whose victory Monday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open was his second PGA Tour victory this season. “I felt like I had my own little apartment in the third-grade classroom.”  

Les Wilson, part owner and CFO of a plastics company, said Mark was a great kid, but he did spank him once. It had nothing to do with Mark’s class clown antics, though. After once warning Mark not to venture down and play on busy Town Hill Road, Les caught him playing there.

“That’s the only time I ever spanked him,” Les said.

Wilson’s gentlemanly reputation has been earned with work he’s done for the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer Fund and for the Blessings in a Backpack foundation that benefits needy school children. He famously earned his first PGA Tour victory at the Honda Classic in 2007 after calling a penalty on himself.

With his two PGA Tour titles this year, Wilson's jumped from No. 234 at year's start to No. 51.