HALF a million pounds in prize money, a place at next month’s Race to Dubai finale plus a European Tour card for two years mean that Oliver Wilson’s long overdue win can already be called life-changing.
But it might just prove to also be the spark the Englishman needed to reignite his career, having slipped to 792 in the world as his search for a first win on the main tour stretched to 227 tournaments.
At 34, Wilson is still young enough to rediscover the consistency that earned him nine second-place finishes between 2006 and 2009 and landed him a place on Europe’s Ryder Cup team in 2008.
Sunday’s victory at St Andrews will instil huge confidence in him, especially having held off the world’s best player in Rory McIlroy to claim the title.
McIlroy was among those to express their delight for Wilson, who is a lovely guy and very popular on the tour. For all of his hard work and perseverance to finally pay off is fantastic and great to see.
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship may not be up there with the Ryder Cup or winning the Race to Dubai, as McIlroy seems certain to do, but he’ll still be pleased with yet another strong display to finish tied for second. It just underlines how great he is and he is a delight to watch in this form.
Sharing second with Rory were England’s Tommy Fleetwood, who now has four top-five finishes in his last six outings, and Scotland’s Richie Ramsay.
Both men will be looking to go one better this week at the Portugal Masters, which also features Wilson, European Ryder Cup skipper Paul McGinley and former Major winners Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke and Jose Maria Olazabal.
Across the Atlantic, England’s Roger Chapman produced a strong finish to take a tie for third at the Champions Tour event at Pebble Beach and give his chances of competing on the tour next year a timely lift.
I’ll be back in action too this week at the Dutch Senior Open. It’s only my fourth event on the tour this year but perhaps I can draw on the inspirational golf I witnessed at Gleneagles last month.
Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer and media commentator. Follow him on Twitter @torrancesam