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October 14, 2014

Billy Horschel


MARK STEVENS:  Talk about your thoughts coming into this week and what you've been up to the last few weeks since your big win in Atlanta.
BILLY HORSCHEL:  Yeah, I love this event.  Obviously I've only played in it once, but what Shriners does with all the children and with me having my little girl, you know, I couldn't imagine what all these families have to go through, so with Shriners being there taking care of them, I love the tournament.  They do a heck of a job putting it on.  I like the golf course a lot.  Las Vegas isn't a bad place to start the year out.  I knew ahead of time before I won the FedExCup that I wanted to play Shriners before I played Malaysia, China, I wanted to at least get one event in, so it was a perfect place for me to start the year, and like I said, I think Shriners does a great job, and what they do across the United States with all their hospitals and taking care of these kids, I'm happy to be a part of it.
MARK STEVENS:  Recently after you won the FedExCup, you had your first baby.  You can probably relate now.  Talk about what you've been up to since.
BILLY HORSCHEL:  Yeah, been off for four weeks.  It's weird because I feel like I've been away from the TOUR a lot longer than four weeks, and today my little girl was four weeks old, and I feel like it's only been two weeks.  It's a little bit different.  One seems like it's been a long time, and the other one hasn't, but I guess that's the way it goes, obviously from talking to people, it just seems like having kids and time flies by a lot quicker.  Just been a at home the first two weeks and didn't touch a club.  I did a little outing for the PGA TOUR up in Sea Island the week after the FedExCup, TOUR Championship, but besides that, just was home enjoying being a dad, and my wife and I were just taking in every day.  About a week and a half ago I started hitting some balls and getting after it.  Game is in good shape.  I'm no longer the hottest player in golf.  Four weeks has cooled me off a lot, so don't expect me to come out here and play the way I did at BMW and TOUR Championship.

Q.  The fact that you became a dad right when Ryder Cup was about to start and the fact that you weren't chosen, did that turn out to be a blessing in disguise in your mind because it gave you some quality time with your baby?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  Yeah, if I happened to be chosen, we had decided what I was going to do.  We were going to see what our doctors, what they recommended, with my wife, whether they could induce early or anything.  But it was a blessing in disguise.  I loved it that she came when she did and that I wasn't picked because I was home for two weeks and I got to be with her for four weeks total.  Those are four weeks early in her life that I'm happy I could be a part of because I'm going to miss a lot of weeks, unfortunately, with playing golf.  So being there the first four weeks, it meant more to me than it did to her.

Q.  Just to follow up on the Ryder Cup, did you get a chance to watch at all, and what were your thoughts about the way things were handled with the U.S. Team and just the result being so negative and the heat Tom Watson has taken in the aftermath?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  Yeah, I watched a lot of it.  Obviously being home, there wasn't much golf on TV, so the Ryder Cup was the only thing to watch.  Unfortunately the U.S. Team didn't win again.  Like every American, I think we're sort of tired of it.  We're at a breaking point, and that's what you saw.  You saw some players that were frustrated, and all they wanted to do was vent a little bit.
I think that the process needs to change, and I've sort of in the little interviews I have done for being the FedExCup champion, this and that, with the Ryder Cup being brought up, I have sort of been a little hard on the PGA of America, but I feel like they need to do a better job than what they have done already.¬† They do a heck of a job with the PGA professionals around the country and taking care of the clubs and Country Clubs and everything else, but when it comes to understanding the guys out here on TOUR and everything else, I don't think they get it because they're not out here on a regular basis.¬† I think they need to get their opinions‑‑ I think they need to ask the PGA TOUR, they need to ask some other stuff, because that's where I think we can make the greatest strides.¬† I know they put a task force together, and is it the right thing, I don't know.¬† Maybe it's a step in the right direction, but who knows.¬† I think they need to do something, and maybe this could be it.¬† Yeah, I think unfortunately we didn't win and we need to get back on the winning side, and I think at the same time the players, we need to stop thinking about getting revenge for the loss at Medinah and everything and this and that.¬† We need to just sort of‑‑ the last decade of Ryder Cups, we just need to burn that book and start a new chapter and start fresh and forget everything.
We still have a commanding lead in all Ryder Cups, but we need to forget about the last decade of Ryder Cups and start fresh because, like I said, I'm not in team rooms, but it just seems like in my opinion we may be a little tight just because we want to win so badly.  We want to make up for past Ryder Cups.

Q.  You referenced your run in the Playoffs and how well you played.  What was more important for you, your mental approach or the way you were hitting the ball?
BILLY HORSCHEL:¬† It's mental approach.¬† The ball‑striking, the putting, all that stuff, will always be there, will always come and go.¬† But mentally it's an area that I need to keep improving on.¬† I'm a perfectionist.¬† I'm pretty hard on myself, and at times I get back in my own way.¬† I need to take a step back and sort of reassess my mental approach, and I did that after I missed the cut at Barclays.¬† With that, I just said I need to enjoy the moment a little bit better, enjoy where I am, and just allow my game to show up and not put so much pressure on myself and be such a perfectionist out there on the golf course, and I was able to do that.¬† Obviously with being the FedExCup champion you can have expectations soar, but that's not going to change.¬† I'm just going to keep that same mental approach.¬† I don't expect anything less, I don't expect anything more from myself with being a FedExCup champion.¬† I'm just going to have the same expectations I've had ever since I started playing this game, ever since I got on the PGA TOUR.¬† I'm going to keep getting better.¬† I'm going to keep working hard, and if I just keep making small strides at improving in this game, then hopefully everything else will take care of itself, and that's the way it did at BMW and TOUR Championship.

Q.  What has been kind of the biggest adjustment with all that's happened in the past few weeks?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  I haven't changed.  Nothing has changed.  I guess the biggest adjustment is people just recognize me a little bit more.  You get recognized, people want to take your pictures and congratulate you, and that's great.  I'm happy.  I did something that's pretty special, and people want to reach out and have a picture taken with me or congratulate me.  I'm fine with that.
At the same time it's sort of weird because I'm just a low‑key guy off the golf course.¬† I just like going to my restaurants in Ponte Vedra, whether it's a lunch place or something and grabbing a sub and going.¬† That's a little bit different.¬† I think everyone has been respectful, and since then if I've been at dinner or anything like that, I don't get bothered.¬† Obviously I know other guys in the past or other athletes in other sports are not that lucky, but hopefully everyone can just see me as a regular guy and can sort of when I'm out with my family or anything, will be respectful in that I'm with my family and maybe there's another time or maybe wait until I'm done with dinner or leaving that you ask for a picture or something like that.
Like I said, that's the only thing that's changed.  It's a great thing to have because, like I said, people just want to congratulate you, and it's something that I did that was pretty special.

Q.  You talked about getting better each year.  How do guys do that process of improving and deciding what to work on, what to change, what to tweak without putting themselves at risk without making a bad change and that kind of stuff?
BILLY HORSCHEL:¬† Everyone is different.¬† I think the first thing you have to understand is who you are as a person, who you are as a golfer.¬† You've got to understand your game very well, the ins and outs of it.¬† I think some guys think they're good at certain things and they really aren't, and they think they're bad at other things and they're actually really good at them.¬† For some reason I've sort of always been‑‑ I'm not sure if I'm just lucky or maybe my parents taught me this way or my dad, where the game just‑‑ there's little things that can always be improved, and there's certain areas, I know my short game needs to be improved, the bunker play needs to be improved, my wedge game needs to be improved, now you need to look at the technical side, is there something technical or mechanical that needs to be improved, or is it a matter of practicing.¬† Could you do a better job at the way you're practicing, getting more out of your practice type deal, or is it the way you think about it on the golf course.¬† So there's many different facets of it.¬† I just‑‑ my personal opinion, I'm not saying anything bad about anything else, I just think I understand it better than some other guys do, and so that's why I'm always‑‑ I just want to make small improvements.¬† I know I'm a great ball striker.¬† My swing doesn't need to change.¬† There's certain things we can improve on to make the swing consistent or a little bit more powerful, but we're not making swing changes.¬† My putting is good, so we don't make big adjustments there.¬† My short game, yeah, technical wise we've been working on the mechanical side making it a little bit better, but it's nothing radical.
It's understanding that you see it too much out here.¬† Some guys win a couple times and they feel like‑‑ a great example is Martin Kaymer.¬† He won the PGA and has won a couple times and felt like he needed to change his swing to win at Augusta, and he went sort of through a little downward spiral for a little bit, but now he's back up.¬† I think he realized that that wasn't the right way to go.¬† Like I said, you've just got to understand your game, understand what you do well, and just keep improving on that, and weaknesses, improve little by little, and hopefully it all turns out in the end.

Q.  In the middle of last season, would it be accurate to say you were unsatisfied where you were with the game and the results you were getting?
BILLY HORSCHEL:¬† Yeah, I mean, like I said, I expect high things from myself, and I was sort of‑‑ I think I was probably around‑‑ I played well at Memorial, I played well at St.Jude and I played halfway decent at U.S. Open besides the first round, so that little three‑week stretch, and then I played well at Tiger's event, quicken loans, so that little four‑week stretch or four‑tournament stretch, I felt like I was getting something in my game, something was starting to come along, and I go over to the British and I had a great practice session.¬† All week over there was really hitting it well, was playing well, unfortunately I got on the bad side of a draw with a four, five‑shot difference and I missed the cut.
I understood that and I was a little disappointed because of a couple mental mistakes I made where I would have done a little better job I would have made the cut.  Then I didn't play great at the PGA, I didn't play that great at Wyndham, and I missed the cut at Barclays.  I was getting frustrated.  Like I said, I was frustrated that the results weren't showing up because my practice was really good.  I saw a lot of good things at practice, it just wasn't carrying over.  So yeah, I was getting frustrated, but like I say, I was frustrated, I was wanting the new season to start because I didn't think the season was going to end the way it did for me.
I just had a big mountain to climb, so when I went to Deutsche Bank I just said, let's start fresh, take it one week at a time and see what happens.

Q.  At that point what were you hoping for?  How did you envision that season ending?
BILLY HORSCHEL:¬† Yeah, so I was 82nd going into the Deutsche Bank, and I have some good friends that live out in the Colorado area and I really wanted to play the BMW Championship.¬† I've heard a lot of great things about Cherry Hills, and Colorado I just love that area out there.¬† My goal was let's just get to Denver and then we'll worry about getting the TOUR Championship, and I played so well at Deutsche Bank there in Boston that I pretty much secured myself into obviously BMW and then all the way into the TOUR Championship.¬† Then we went to BMW with the mindset, let's try and get into the top 5 on the FedExCup going into TOUR Championship, and we knew we needed something like a top‑three finish.¬† That was the main goal was just to play really well there and at least finish top three so we could have a chance of being in the top 5 and controlling my destiny at TOUR Championship, and luckily enough I was able to win and I played great the next week.
It was a fresh start.¬† That's the way I look it.¬† I took those last three events as a fresh start.¬† The season hadn't been as great as I wanted it, but I knew that everything could change quickly.¬† I knew the game was in the right spot.¬† I just needed to allow it to be‑‑ I just needed to be a little bit easier on myself.

Q.  When you look back on those 12 straight rounds of under 70, I mean, that's really hard to do.  That's an amazing accomplishment, especially given the pressure you were under.  What did you take from that whole experience that will help you going forward if you run into a tough stretch of road, which every golfer does?
BILLY HORSCHEL:¬† Yeah, it was obviously 12 straight rounds of‑‑ in the 60s was pretty special.¬† I think what I'm going to take from it the most was when things aren't going great, I can fall back on the mental side of it, the way I thought about things, the way I handled certain shots, the way I handled the pressure.¬† So that's what I can fall back on.
I know there's going to be stretches where I'm going to hit the ball bad or not make many putts, but there's stretches where I feel like my game is in the right spot, and I can fall back on that mental approach and see if there's something I sort of diverted from that I can get back on to.  That's just the simple things that I think I can take from it.

Q.  What's the schedule for the rest of 2014?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  Yeah, I'm playing this week.  I'm going to go home for a couple days next week, and I'll head over to Malaysia, China, and then after that I will take a couple weeks off, play Tiger's event.  I'm playing Shark Shootout, so that's pretty cool.  I played it last year.  Greg Norman puts on a great event down there at Tiburón, so I'm looking forward today that, especially Tiger's event, first time playing his, and with it being in Orlando it's even nicer, don't have to come all the way out to California, so I'll have family there, and then I'm done.  I'll go snowboarding for a week, have Christmas, and then head back out to Maui.

Q.  You talked about deciding to start the season before the end of the FedExCup.  What were the reasons for this week, just timing?
BILLY HORSCHEL:¬† Yeah, before I went on that run we had a schedule in place of where I wanted to play in the fall, and with winning and with everything that came, we sort of tweaked it a little bit, and I just felt like I didn't want to take, what is that, six weeks off without playing an event before I go to Malaysia and China because those are pretty good events, pretty big events, some big‑time players play.¬† It's over in another part of the world where golf is starting to boom.¬† So at least wanted to make sure my game was in the right shape so I could play well in front of people that haven't seen me play before, so I felt like I needed at least one event to get the feet wet again and get the feeling of playing tournament golf.¬† I felt like Shriners was a perfect event.¬† I spent four weeks at home with my little girl, which was a great time.¬† We had planned on playing Frys but I couldn't imagine playing last week and leaving home that early, and at the same time I wasn't ready to play yet.¬† I needed to take time off, take time away from the game, and so I took the right amount of time so I felt like I was reenergized, I had that desire to go practice and play hard and work to get ready for it.¬† So that's just the way it was.¬† We put a schedule in place and we changed it just based off some stuff that happened.
MARK STEVENS:  Thanks for your time, Billy.  Good luck this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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