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July 14, 2016

Billy Horschel

Troon, South Ayrshire, Scotland

Q. Is it extra pressure because of what's coming in tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, I knew today was going to be the best weather we had all week, and it's always crucial to get off to a good start especially in a major in the first round. Knowing the weather could be nasty in the next three days -- it changes every hour, it seems like. I woke up this morning, and somebody said it could be bad this morning, and it could let off in the afternoon, and I tee off at dinnertime tomorrow, three o'clock, so I could get a better side of it. But who knows what the weather is going to be like.

But, yeah, it's important to get off to good start. And I knew that when I got to a couple under, okay, I need to keep pushing, need to keep being aggressive. Need to keep trying to make some putts, make some birdies, because I know the next few days is going to be tough. I know the next few days some bogies could pop up.

Q. When you look at your season, I think you've missed one cut all year. Is that an indication of how close you are and what you need to move to the next step? You've had three top 10s.
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, I think the more consistent you are on a yearly basis, that means you're getting to be a better player. Obviously this year I've had three top 10s. There are a couple of tournaments, a few tournaments that in my mind I probably threw away good finishes. Maybe not on Sundays, but probably on a Saturday where I was in good position, didn't play well on Saturday, had to play well on Sunday to do something.

But I feel like my game's in a lot better spot. I've been close all year. I'm just a few things off. Maybe it's a bad swing, maybe it's just missing a couple of short putts, whether it's birdie putts or par putts to get some more momentum. My short game has improved dramatically in the last couple months, probably since Augusta. We've done some really good work, and it's one of the weakest areas of my game, and I feel like I can rely on that now when I'm not hitting great or missing greens.

I feel close. I feel like there's something special happening. It sort of reminds me a lot of 2014 since I played fairly well in 2014 but just got nothing out of my rounds the entire year. And I feel like 2016 is a lot like 2014. So in my mind I've got The Open, I've got PGA, I've got Wyndham, and then I've got the FedExCup. So roughly I've got seven more events and hopefully something special happens and I can get on a little train, a little momentum because obviously in the past, my history shows that once I get some momentum, the train keeps going. It would be nice to start it here and carry it on for the next couple months.

Q. There were a lot of problems on the 11th hole today. Okay. Can you talk to the difficulty of the 11th hole?
BILLY HORSCHEL: You're lucky I like you (laughing). No, the 11th hole I think is one of the toughest holes I've ever played. It's just a scary tee shot. You just can't see where you're going. The way the fairway angles and the way the wind comes in and off the left it's just a tough tee shot, especially for a right-handed golfer. If it's not blowing too hard into you, you can carry. Obviously there's gorse about 250 and there is this mound with a lot of nasty stuff behind it that's about 285. If it's not blowing into me I can carry that so my right line can be a little further right, but if it's into me I can't do that, the longer guys can. It's just a scary tee shot.

I remember I heard my caddie tell me Jack Nicklaus when he played it, he just hit 2-iron, 2-iron and played it as a four and a half, and tried to play at 2-over par for the weekend. I think that maybe was when the hole was a little shorter. But it's a tough tee shot. Just the hole, you've got to sack up and hit a couple good shots. At worst, walk off with no worse than a bogey.

Q. Along those same lines, you birdied 8 today. What were your thoughts on that?
BILLY HORSCHEL: 8 is a lovely hole, starting 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, coming in, just beautiful stretches of holes, beautiful architecture, beautiful way it was designed. You know, growing up, I mean, when I was in college we played a course in Ocala that has a replica hole called "the Postage Stamp". That hole plays a lot easier than the hole over here, I've come to realise that after I played my practise round and got the number 8 on Monday.

But I've hit some really good shots there this week. I think when you play practise rounds, you're obviously working on things, but there are certain holes that you want to have some good memories, some good shots in the back of your mind, and I hit some really good shots there in practise rounds. This week, today I wasn't trying to get all the way to the pin. I just sort of probably flushed it a little bit more and got back there. Just hit something real soft, real easy and just getting to straight.

Q. With tomorrow's conditions, do you like playing (inaudible) to the forecast when it's nasty and windy?
BILLY HORSCHEL: I love it. I think for me I'm a pretty mentally tough player. I love playing in tough conditions. I think historically I've done well in them. I think guys can get in their own way, complain about it and sort of forget that everyone's playing in it. So I think historically I've loved conditions like that. I think the cream rises to the top. Obviously, sure, I'm not a Top-10 player or Top-5 player in the world, but I think very highly of myself and I think very highly of my game. I think the way my mentality is and the way I strike my golf ball solid and I'm a good ball striker, I think it's a big advantage for me.

Q. Do you feel like you're stealing one when you go out and play a round like today with the sun is shining and not a lot of wind?
BILLY HORSCHEL: No, I just enjoyed the round today. I thought it was a beautiful day.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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