JOHN DEER CLASSIC
Hawaii’s Wilson withstands the heat, ties for 39th
SILVIS, Ill. » Born and raised in Hawaii and a resident of Las Vegas, Dean Wilson knows something about hot weather.
And as a professional golfer, he deals with it often, for hours at a time -- especially in the middle of the summer, when temperatures on the golf courses approach 100 degrees.
That was the case at the John Deere Classic, where the Castle High alumnus shot a final round 1-under-par 70 yesterday to finish 8 under and tied for 39th.
Hawaii's only PGA Tour regular moves on to the B.C. Open in Verona, N.Y., this week and then the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee before taking a break.
Australian John Senden won his first PGA Tour event, shooting 19 under and edging J.P. Hayes by one stroke.
The heat and humidity became an even bigger issue than usual when 16-year-old Michelle Wie withdrew nine holes into Friday's second round, and was hospitalized because of heat exhaustion and stomach problems.
Around a dozen spectators also received medical treatment for minor heat-related issues during the four-day tournament, officials said.
Wilson said the tournament did a good job of anticipating heat problems, but everyone on the course is always vulnerable -- from fans to volunteers to caddies to players.
"It's really hot out there. They're doing everything they can, water on every hole, which is nice," Wilson said. "But in the case with Michelle, if you're not prepared for it and you're not used to it, it can get ugly out there. You've got to be prepared, drink a lot of water and just be used to it."
Wilson is a proponent of an idea that comes up every now and then among the players: being allowed to wear short pants on hot days.
"We were talking about that today. You know, in Asia they let us play in shorts when it's hot and humid," said Wilson, who started his pro career in Japan. "I'm thinking maybe next year they should experiment with that and see what the feedback is. Give the pros the option of wearing shorts for a week and see how it goes over.
"I've heard people say it wouldn't be good, it wouldn't look professional. But in other sports they wear shorts," Wilson added.
Tour veteran Jeff Maggert likes the uniformity of the current rule that requires Tour players to wear long pants.
"When do you allow it and when do you not? Some guys would want to wear shorts when it's 40 degrees," Maggert said.
Although she didn't really use it as an excuse, Wie mentioned she had to get used to wearing long pants in her post-round news conference Thursday, after she shot a first-round 77 that crippled her fifth attempt to make a cut at a PGA Tour event.
"I don't know. Wearing a little skirt can interfere with your swing, too," Wilson said. "(But) it's a different feeling, definitely (wearing long pants). In shorts it's a different feeling."
Freelance golf journalist Rory Spears said players wearing shorts could also be a marketing opportunity for the tour.
"They could make it uniform and put the logo on shorts, and sell them," Spears said. "Cha-ching, cha-ching."
Since professional attire in Hawaii is much more casual than on the mainland, maybe the Sony Open is a good place to start.
"That'd be good, just to see how it goes," Wilson said. "But Sony might not be so good because you have lots of guys coming off of winter with the white legs."