Oliver Wilson earned global recognition with his astonishing recovery from 792nd in the Official World Golf Ranking to winning the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, and the 34 year old Englishman has received another glowing tribute by being named The 2014 Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month for October.
Wilson, who receives an engraved alms dish and a Jeroboam of Moët & Chandon champagne, captured his maiden European Tour title with scores of 64-72-65-70 for a 17 under par total of 271 – one ahead of England’s Tommy Fleetwood, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Scotland’s Richie Ramsay. Wilson’s success enabled him to climb from 252nd to 39th in The 2014 Race to Dubai and earn entry into The Final Series culminating with the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai from November 20-23.
Playing on a sponsor’s invitation, Wilson secured victory on the Old Course at St Andrews to complete a remarkable transformation in fortunes – he had lost his European Tour exempt status at the end of 2011 after playing in The 2008 Ryder Cup and notching a Tour record nine runner-up finishes without a win.
On the eve of the WGC-HSBC Champions – a tournament he nearly won in 2009, losing a play-off to Sergio Garcia – Wilson said: “It’s the first time I’ve managed to win this. It’s obviously been a great month for me and it’s nice to back it up with the Golfer of the Month award.
“It’s another little memento of what I’ve achieved. I thought about what could happen earlier in the year, and if you win certain tournaments, but I don’t think the HSBC came into that equation at any stage. It’s fantastic to be back at a tournament like this. I haven’t been back since 2009. It’s a great event and I love the course.”
The European Tour Golfer of the Month Panel, comprising members of the Association of Golf Writers as well as commentators from television and radio, focused their attention on winning and exceptional performances on The European Tour International Schedule whilst also considering outstanding achievements worldwide.
Frenchman Alexander Levy (Portugal Masters), Finland’s Mikko Ilonen (Volvo World Match Play Championship), Australian Scott Hend (Hong Kong Open), Denmark’s Thorbjørn Olesen (ISPS HANDA Perth International) and Germany’s Marcel Siem, who claimed the BMW Masters, the first of the Final Series events, following a play-off with England’s Ross Fisher and Levy, were also all winners on The 2014 European Tour International Schedule in October.
Derek Lawrenson, Golf Correspondent of the Daily Mail and Chairman of the Association of Golf Writers, said: “The reaction to Oliver Wilson’s stunning Alfred Dunhill Links Championship victory said it all about a triumph that stands as the game’s feel-good story of the year. Being a nice guy might have ensured he wasn’t forgotten when it came to handing out the invitations, but he showed the ruthlessness of a winner in making it pay off for his first victory on tour to instigate the most spectacular change of circumstances imaginable.
“No-one was more delighted than the man he beat down the stretch – Rory McIlroy. Now he has followed in Rory’s shoes in winning this award, and not only was it thoroughly deserved, it was most welcome.”
Iain Carter, BBC Golf Correspondent, said: “For Oliver Wilson to take advantage of a sponsor’s invitation in such fashion after the way his game had declined in recent years was one of the stories of the golfing year. He beat the World Number One in the process of warming the hearts of anyone lucky enough to have witnessed his victory.
“Wilson showed why he had been right to persevere despite so many setbacks and produced the standout performance of the month. Marcel Siem’s victory after his injury problems deserves special mention while Alexander Levy showed why he will be a player to watch in the coming years.”
Spain’s Miguel Ángel Jiménez (December), Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher (January), France’s Victor Dubuisson (February), Welshman Jamie Donaldson (March), Levy (April), McIlroy (May, July and August) Germany’s Martin Kaymer (June) and Ireland’s Paul McGinley (September) have also won The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month awards this year. Sweden’s Henrik Stenson won the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai in 2013 to finish Number One in The 2013 Race to Dubai, following which he was voted The 2013 Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year.