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September 14, 2014

Billy Horschel


CHRIS REIMER:  We'll go ahead and get started.  I want to welcome and congratulate our 2014 TOUR Championship by Coca‑Cola winner and our FedExCup champion.  Billy, you spoke a little bit inside about what it meant to look down and see your name on the FedExCup and to win here at the TOUR Championship.
BILLY HORSCHEL:  It's surreal, it really is.  It hits me a little bit and it still doesn't hit me.
But you know, I woke up this morning and I just had this sense of calm over me, which is a little bit unusual, but I was just so calm waking up, and I wasn't nervous at all, and got to the course and felt so relaxed out there.
You know, I warmed up pretty well and got off to a pretty solid start, had some three good looks on the first three holes, and just kept playing solid.
Unfortunately, maybe the back nine could have been a little bit cleaner, but it was good enough to get the job done, and I'm thrilled to be the FedExCup champion and the TOUR Championship champion at that, too, especially with the year I've had.
The PLAYOFFS are the biggest, besides the majors are the four biggest events we have on the PGA TOUR and that's when the light shines the brightest, and I was able to rise to the occasion and get the job done.
And just gives me so much confidence, so much thrill to accomplish something like this, especially with the guys I was going up against.

Q.  Billy, the first hole I noticed I was walking along the first few holes and you had a comment, something about how hard those guys hit it, and you seemed very relaxed from the get go.  You were just kind of making light of the situation.  How important was that for you to be kind of relaxed?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  I've been relaxed this whole week.  I've been focused the whole time on what I needed to do, and the drive Rory hit on No. 1 was just‑‑ was dumbfounding.  I sort of went over to Roger and Billy Casper, and I said you guys hit it that far in your guys heyday, right?  And Roger said something, you know, I hit it that far when I nicked it a little bit.  It was just funny.  We were cracking up about it.
But I play the best when I'm relaxed.  I play the best when I'm having fun out on the golf course, but at the same time I am focused on what I need to take care of on the golf course.  So in between shots, I'm going to be focused but I can joke around and have a conversation, and then when it's my turn to play my shot I get back into my little zone, especially the last three weeks, that's what I've realized I need to do better, and it's turned out really well.

Q.  Your caddy Micah was telling us that walking up 18, you told him about a dream that you had earlier this year that you were going to win the FedExCup.  Can you tell us more about that?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  Oh, yeah.  I'm not upset that he said that (laughs).  There's certain things throughout my life that have come true, and I've sort of seen it beforehand in my‑‑ when I sleep at night.  I just sort of, you know, have a premonition or whatever you want to call it.
You remember, you know, being‑‑ I was hit in the eye with a baseball bat at an All Star practice when I was about 10 years old, and I think I remember the adult saying I wasn't crying, I was saying I saw this coming.  Like I remember, I had a dream saying I was going to be hit in the face with a baseball bat.
There were certain other things through my life that has come like that.  And I just remember something like that in December or January, I just had this‑‑ you know, I woke up and I wasn't sure if it was real or not because it was very faint, but I remember holding up the FedExCup trophy, and as the season went along, I never thought about it, but I just said, well, maybe it was just a dream that wasn't real.
And obviously being in the position where I was, I thought about it last week after I won.  I've thought about it this week a little bit that maybe this is actually something that is supposed to happen.  And maybe that's why when I woke up this morning I was calm knowing that this is my chance to win the FedExCup trophy.
And like I said, it may sound crazy.  People may think I'm insane, but I honestly don't care now.

Q.  Billy, three trophies in two weeks.  Have you ever done that before?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  Never.  I don't think I've ever won two tournaments back to back at that.

Q.  And secondly, your putting was solid all week.  Can you talk about that putt on 16 today?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  Yeah, the putt was huge on 16.  Unfortunately, I hit a bad drive.  Just didn't commit to it to go ahead and release it and I blocked it way right.
I had nothing over there.  I mean, you know, I probably could have hit something crazy and maybe got it close to the green or on it, but smart play was just to chip out, have a wedge shot.  Hit a good wedge shot.  I thought it was actually really good and it just came up a couple yards short and spun down the ridge and I'm looking at this putt.  I'm reading it.  I see the line perfectly, and I'm thinking to myself, I'm like, man, if I can just put the best stroke I can possibly make on it, I think this ball is going to go in the hole.
I thought back to about the putt I made at No. 10 at Denver last week, where I made a big par putt on that whole, and I'm like I'm due for‑‑ I made a lot of long putts this week, but I still feel like there's a lot more putts to be made and I knew I was due for a long one.  And I put the best stroke on it I could and got up to the top of that ridge, and I'm like, man, this looks like it's going into the hole.  Had a little bit of steam to it and it went in there dead center.  That was just a great feeling.
I knew where Jim stood.  I knew where everyone else stood and I didn't want to give a shot back coming in.  It was obviously the key to winning the FedExCup trophy and TOUR Championship, because if that happens, you know, it gets a little bit tighter and who knows how the finish ends.

Q.  So no dreams of playing in the Ryder Cup this year?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  No.  No dreams of that.  That's okay.  I'll be supportive of the U.S. team, and even with this extra win, I still don't feel like I deserve to be on the team.  I haven't played good enough this year.  I haven't played good enough over a two‑year period to be on the team, and I understand that.  I'm not upset with that.  I'm over it.  I've been over it since the picks were made at Deutsche Bank, and I'm fully supportive of the U.S. team and everyone else.
And Tom texted me earlier in the week and I said, hey, I'm fully behind you, so hopefully the team can go over there and bring back the Ryder Cup trophy, because it's been too long since we've had it in our hands.

Q.  Before the captains' picks were announced, Brittany's due date is the week of the Ryder Cup, so did you guys have any kind of contingency plan like inducing labor early or‑‑
BILLY HORSCHEL:  Yeah, we talked about it early in the year because I knew where I stood.  Obviously my standings going into the year were really good, and so we had a couple of thoughts.  I honestly wasn't going to play the Ryder Cup if we couldn't induce labor early.
The birth of my child‑‑ my first child, I wanted to be there for her and be there for our baby girl.  But you know, when I started playing bad this year, you know, I sort of put it out of my mind that I wasn't going to be picked.  And obviously I wasn't picked, and it's going to work out perfectly.

Q.  Have you had a chance to speak with Brittany yet?  I know it's only been an hour or so.
BILLY HORSCHEL:  I have not.  I'm being taken all over the place, so I haven't had a chance to talk to her.  But I'm sure she's crying, she's happy.  She's going hysterical.  I wouldn't doubt there's probably 50 people at my house where we live in our neighborhood.  There's people coming over, saying congratulations, this and that.  So I'm sure there's a party at my house and I'm not attending, unfortunately.

Q.  Your parents gave you a big hug when you were walking off the 18th green.  What did they say to you?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  My mom was just crying.  I mean I was sort of tearing up, too.  To think about everything my parents have done for me just means so much.  We're blue collar to a tee.  Neither of my parents have a college degree.  My mom has been going to college the last five years or six years to get a degree, and she graduates in December.  And I mean, my mom's‑‑ I mean, to do college and to work a full‑time job, 50, 60‑plus hours a week, is pretty amazing.
So my parents have given‑‑ my brothers, Chris and Brian and I such a great life and such a great opportunity to do great things in this world without the means that other people have.  So for them to be there for this great victory that I have and with everything that comes from it, you know, my parents are‑‑ I'm going to take care of them very well.

Q.  How aware were you of your position on the leaderboard, or rather, other guys' position on the leaderboard?  Did you look at the leaderboard coming down the stretch or anything like that?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  I didn't really look at the leaderboard until, I think, 14 or 15.  I took a peek just to see where I stood.
One of the biggest challengers to the FedExCup was Rory McIlroy.  Unfortunately he was not‑‑ didn't have his good stuff today.  So I knew I had‑‑ I was comfortable a little bit in that, and I don't know how all these numbers worked out and everything.  I never got involved in it, but I knew Jim was nipping at my heels, and I knew he was in the Top 10, I think, in the FedExCup standings going into this week.  So I knew I just needed to keep playing well.
And the birdie at 15 was huge, gave me that one‑shot lead again, it gave me a one‑shot cushion.  So that was a big thing.  I haven't birdied that hole all week.  So that's why me and my caddie were a little bit excited that we finally birdied it.  Our stats guy Mark Horton can get off our butts about not birdieing that hole.
So I knew where I stood.  So the last four or five holes, I knew where I stood coming down the stretch.

Q.  And secondly, since you're such a visionary, you've had such an up‑and‑down year, did you ever envision or think this was possible to have this sort of run, PLAYOFFS, two wins, a second place?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  Honestly, as much as I'm a positive guy and I see things glass‑half‑full kind of guy, I felt like I could do it.
But at the same time, coming home from Barclays and talking to my wife, I sort of said there's a couple of things I need to do mentally different on the golf course and be a little bit less hard on myself, get out of my own way, commit to some shots better.
But we sort of talked about I'm sort of like I wish the year would be over, this season would be over.  I want 2014‑2015 to go ahead and start again just because it's been a year that I haven't wanted and I just want a fresh start because things haven't been going my way.
But at the same time, I knew that I went to Deutsche Bank thinking I need to play well here to get to Denver.  Let's get to Denver first and then we'll worry about getting to the TOUR Championship.  And I played so well at Deutsche Bank I finished second and secured my spot into the TOUR Championship, and then the goal at Denver was just to move up as far as we can, try to finish in the top 3, so we would be in the Top 5 coming into this weekend to get the victory, especially what happened Monday at Deutsche Bank was just another big step in the right direction.

Q.  You talked about having a tough season, and then towards the end of the season you started to bring it on.  What really clicked in your game towards the end of the season after having such a tough beginning to the year?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  Just a couple of things.  Like I said, the mental mindset, changing the way I acted out on the golf course.  Being a little bit less hard on myself, being accepting of the golf shots, however they turned out.
The other thing was I got one of the best teachers in the game of golf.  I don't think anyone can come close to what he does.  He's just not a swing coach.  He's a short game coach.  He's a putting coach.  He talks to me about the mental side of the game and I mean Todd Anderson is just unbelievable.  There's not a better guy in this business and I think if you went up‑and‑down the range, talked to players and coaches, they would say the same exact thing that I'm saying.
But you know, we just made a little tweak in the putter grip and allowed my hands to get a little bit further away, gave me a little bit more control of the speed of the putts because I felt I was hitting good putts.  And that, you know, the ball just started rolling better with the speed I wanted.
But at the same time, I got a great team, like I said, with Todd Anderson, Michael Fugate.  I've got a great trainer at home in Jeff Fronk and Andy Myers takes care of me out on the road.
We then added this English guy called Mark Horton this year, and he's been a big, big help to my game.  I'm not sure I would have won this FedExCup without him.  The way he shows me my strengths, the way we game plan, the way he has belief in that I'm one of the best players in the world, you know, just gives me that extra little confidence that I can get it done.  I mean, the information he gives Mike and I is second to none.  Sneds won the FedExCup with him.  So he's won two FedExCup championships in the last two out of three years, so I think that's pretty guy.  At the same time Sneds and I and Brendan de Jonge are not going to let him allow anyone else to come join the team.  I think we're going to be pretty tight locked on the information and not giving all the good stuff out anymore.

Q.  Congratulations, Billy.  Mike has said afterwards that after what happened at the Deutsche Bank, you went on Twitter and read all the stuff that people were saying about you.  Now, a lot of guys wouldn't even think about going on Twitter.  Why did you do that and why did you read all of that bad stuff?  And what did that contribute to getting you this far?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  I'm a sociable guy.  I want to interact with the fans.  I'm not sure if you guys noticed that I talk a lot.  But I like interacting with the fans.  I think the social media part has brought the fans and the players, whether it be golfers or others, football, basketball players, other athletes closer together.
And I'm not afraid of what people say.  You know, it doesn't bother me.  If anything, you know, it maybe gives me a little chip, a little added motivation that I can prove them wrong.  But like I said, 98 percent of the stuff that I read on Twitter was very, you know, just a lot of positive stuff.  Two percent was negative, and you know what, people are always going to say negative stuff about you.  You know, you can't go throughout life where everyone likes you.  That's just the way it is.
And I try and be nice and be gracious and be respectful and have fun debates between people on Twitter, but at the same time people are going to be who they are.  I'm a guy who, you know, you're going to be like that, it doesn't bother me at all.  So it gave me just a little added motivation, not that I needed anymore.  But I just wanted to prove some people wrong that I did have what it takes to get the job done, and I proved them wrong, and I proved them wrong again this week that I can get the job done.

Q.  Along those same lines, you say you're a sociable guy.  You had pretty much the backing of the entire gallery, and then you decided to do the Gator Chomp.  So with that in mind, you realize you turned most of this area against you; right?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  (Laughs) that's okay.  You know what, I love interacting with fans, and I love just having a great little, fun little back and forth with fans.  I don't mind it.  I've always been like that out on the golf course.  I know I'm in Georgia country, or the majority of the time, you know, the Bulldog country.  I know Georgia Tech is closest in town, but the Georgia Bulldogs are a big thing here.  And listen, I love doing the Gator Chomp.  I'm proud of being a University of Florida Gator.  If people got turned off from me by doing the Gator Chomp, they've got their own issues.  It was all out of fun.  I just wanted them to know that a University of Florida Gator came into Georgia Bulldog country and was able to come out victoriously.

Q.  You're speaking about your family and your parents.  There may be some folks in the room that hadn't heard the story.  If you could just talk about when you were a kid and you had to hit the ball over the pond at your house in order to go play golf with your dad.
BILLY HORSCHEL:  Yeah.  Started hitting balls around three years old in our back yard.  We live on two and a half acres and would follow my dad out there.  My dad didn't like going to golf courses where ‑‑ whether it be kids, men or women couldn't hit the ball certain yardage in the air.  So he would never take me out to the golf course.  We would go to a driving range, but never take me to play any holes until I could clear this creek that was about 100 yards from the back of our house.  I don't remember when I cleared it, five, six, seven.  I think my parents have a better understanding of that.
But I remember clearing it and just being so happy and ecstatic that I told my mom and I waited‑‑ I told my mom and waited till my dad came home from work, and I probably stood out in the driveway two, two and a half hours straight just waiting for him to pull up in the driveway so I could tell him.  And that was awesome.
And at the same time, you know, the first time I hit the ball over the house, my parents were watching and I was ecstatic about hitting the ball over the house, and then I tried to do it from the front yard to the back yard and decided that the front window was a better option to go through.  And then I decided to blame it on my younger brother Brian, because that's how older brothers do it.
Like I said, we grew up in a great place, my brother and I, Brian, and my parents couldn't be more supportive of us throughout our lives.

Q.  I know you say you're over the Ryder Cup captain's pick, but is there any part of you that wishes the picks would be made‑‑ were to be made tomorrow instead of two weeks ago, and do you think that should be something that should be considered in the future?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  I'll give you my honest answer:  I have not even thought about the Ryder Cup.  It's been out of my mind for several weeks.  The only time I think about it is when you guys ask me the questions.  So I don't care.
I want to be on the team.  I want to be part of the U.S. team.  It's the greatest honor we have to represent our country and represent our sport and be able to wear our colors.  But at the same time, I wasn't‑‑ I didn't play well enough to be picked.  So I'm not upset at all.  You know, should they change the process, you know, and pick later?  I don't know.  That's not my decision.
You know, that's something they have to think about, but like I said, I haven't thought about it at all.  I hope, you know, I'm going to be wearing my red, white and blue colors from Ralph Lauren, who is sponsoring the team, while I'm watching it on TV over there and pulling hard for Tom Watson and the rest of the team to bring home the trophy.  I hate‑‑ whether I'm on the team or not, I hate when we aren't victorious, and you hear all the naysayers, this and that, but we've lost enough in the last decade that we need to start winning.
CHRIS REIMER:  Anything else, guys?  All right, Billy Horschel.  Congratulations.
BILLY HORSCHEL:  Thanks, guys.  Thank you all.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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