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May 16, 2018

Billy Horschel

Irving, Texas

MARK WILLIAMS: We'll like to welcome the defending champion of the AT&T Byron Nelson, Billy Horschel.

Thanks for coming back and joining us here in the Interview Room. Billy, obviously an exciting tournament for you last year winning in a playoff.

This is your fourth appearance in the tournament and obviously the first here at a new golf course.

So, first of all, just some feelings about coming back to defend at a new place and what your thoughts are on the golf course.

BILLY HORSCHEL: It's nice always to come back anywhere you are to defend the tournament. We would always like to go back to the course where we played well at but, at the same time, coming to a new course, exciting, you know, nervous, you know, little unknown how the course is going to play, understanding what the winning score is going to be. So, all in that realm.

But I've been saying it may be a touch easier to defend at a new course because except for maybe a handful, two handfuls of players that play this course a little bit, everyone is on an even level playing ground and so we're all trying to figure it out, how to play it, where to hit it and everything.

If we can dissect it a little bit quicker and better than anybody else, gives us a good chance as compared to Las Colinas where guys play that course a lot of, have a lot of good feelings.

They've got an opportunity to play well. One is sort of a little bit more, I won't say crap shoot type deal, but I feel like I got a little better chance. Don't have to worry about 230 other guys at Las Colinas, have a good tract here.

MARK WILLIAMS: You're coming in with a fair bit of confidence. The last four five weeks you played, we've seen some progression there with obviously the win at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans.

You feel pretty comfortable with your game, I would think.

BILLY HORSCHEL: My game is in great shape. We've done some really good work since last fall. I mean I'm probably one of the Top-5, Top-10 hardest working guys out here. For me to work even harder than I have sort of just a weird thing to say but Todd and I have really dissected why we haven't played well.

Ball-striking got off tremendously last year. That's been my MO, something I've always done really well out on Tour and we looked at old videos and gone back to some old fields and it's been a struggle.

Still isn't -- it's in a good spot. It's not in a spot I want it to be, still a little bit of a challenge to make the right swing at the right time but it's in a lot better spot than it was last year and I'm obviously putting better so that helps a lot.

If I can get my iron play to be back to where I've been my entire career with the putter now sort of figured out after we realized I was using the wrong length putter, which is all my fault -- I was speccing it off the wrong putter from FedExCup run -- we'll be okay.

MARK WILLIAMS: All right. We'll take some questions.

Q. Anytime you win a PGA TOUR event good things are going to come of it. What was the best thing that came out of your win last year?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Great question. Something I haven't thought about a lot. You know, when I look at the bigger picture of things, obviously winning on the PGA TOUR is great and it's the first win I had in three years since the FedExCup.

It was a struggle so there's a lot of ups and downs and reassured my position on the PGA TOUR but the bigger picture of things, and it wasn't playing planned this way and it wasn't, my wife and I didn't talk about it this way but it gave us -- it was the right time for us to win because it gave us the right podium, the right platform to come out with our struggle, my wife's struggle dealing with alcoholism.

So it was a perfect time, I mean, because we had talked about coming out telling our story but I didn't know when we were going to do it, I didn't know when she was going to be ready.

Obviously for me to win and she's like, "Hey, I'm ready, I want to do this, this is something I need to do to continue my be progression towards sobriety."

That's really the best thing that came out of me winning.

Q. And then from that standpoint, obviously the last -- obviously the last year has gone well from that standpoint.
BILLY HORSCHEL: The last year has gone really well. That's a friend of mine, not my wife.

No, the last year has been the best -- actually the last two years been the best of our entire relationship. My wife's two years sober on Monday. We've done a lot of -- it's been a long road to get to here type deal and my wife still battles everyday like everyone who deals with an addiction.

It's always going to be a disease, it's going to be something that they have to deal with everyday to try and maintain their sobriety.

But she's got a great support staff at home, she's got great friends. Our kids are doing great and, you know, the thing that we really want to get out of this is we're able to help a lot of people and we've helped a lot of people.

I mean I didn't realize that my wife when she came -- I knew it was going to be a big deal but the people that reached out to her through social media, email, people that we run in the same circles with have contacted her, have contacted me and we've been hopefully instrumental in helping them, you know, deal with the situation that they're dealing with and get help.

Q. Billy, can you talk about the challenges that not just playing at a new venue but playing at a new venue as dramatically different style than what you're used to?
Can you talk about preparing for that?

BILLY HORSCHEL: It's always nice to go to a new venue. It's exciting, like I said, but, at the same time for the guys I've been out on Tour for awhile, the guys that really prepare well, and I feel like I'm in that little bubble, you know, we sort of have an idea, a game plan before we step on the course of especially our practice rounds of how the holes are going to play, what we're we'll do on every tee shot.

To come to a new course is exciting but I don't know what the winning score is right now. I played 15 holes at this course. I didn't get to play the last three of the front-9 yesterday.

So, you know, I'm still trying to dissect, you know, what the winning score is going to be. I don't know how the wind is going to blow, where the pin locations will be. My caddy, Josh, has done a really good job of going around the course and pinpointing out where we need to hit the ball and so I'm relying a lot on him this week.

But it's a different style. I guess you could say it's a links style but I don't think you can run the ball up as easily as you would do over in Ireland and Scotland when we play The Open and championships and everything.

It's a really nice designed golf course. I thought -- I was a little uneasy coming here because I heard horror stories about this place and good things about this place.

I'm a big fan of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. I think they're the top two architects in today's game.

When I stepped on the course yesterday and played wow, this course is pretty cool. I don't think it's tricked up by any sense. So it's going to be neat to play this course.

You're going to see a lot of shots where you can use the slopes to your advantage if you know what you're doing. So it's going to be fun. I think you'll see a lot of good and bad just like every week.

Q. If you weren't the defending champion, would you be playing it or would you prefer to wait a year and see how it looks?
BILLY HORSCHEL: If you look at my history, I haven't played this event due to where it falls in the schedule. So, if I wasn't defending champ, would I have come back? I'll be honest with you because I'm honest everything I say. I'll tell you the truth. I probably wouldn't have come back or probably won't be here.

I'm happy I'm here. I think, like you said, it's really neat to be here. It's exciting to see a new course and, like I said, I think when you always -- trying always as a Tour player to give yourself the best advantage to win and coming to a new course where very little people have local knowledge or history of the course, it gives you a better opportunity to win if you do a really good job of dissecting the course quicker, if you understand how to play holes, how holes play and I do -- I've done a really good job of that because I've got a good statistics guy, Mark "Corwin" who was been with me since 2016 and my caddy.

We're going to have to probably change that game plan after Round 1 seeing how the course plays. But we did that at Cherry Hills where I was successful in winning there. There was no data or history for on the PGA TOUR. Last time they played there was some U.S. Open 30, 40 years ago. I think I do a really good job at new courses dissecting a game plan faster than some other guys.

Q. Slightly offbeat question, I don't know how the trophy situations work, Byron Nelson Trophy, you got last year is quite large.
Did you take that home, where did it stay all year? Do you get to keep that because it's the last one because they brought -- they created a new trophy this year.

BILLY HORSCHEL: I know I -- I know I didn't get the big trophy because it's not anywhere in my house. They sent me another one, a smaller version, which majority of tournaments do. Where is it in my house? I have no clue.

I don't like my trophies being up. If I had my way all my trophies and everything else would sort of be in a box in storage somewhere but I leave it up to my wife to put in it location that she sees fit and that's it.

I'm just not -- I'm not a big fan of displaying my accomplishments or anything like that in my house. I like my house being my house and when people come in, then it's my house. I don't want -- not to say it's gaudy stuff but that stuff being shown.

Q. Is your use of stats more about looking at your game and performance or more at looking at the venue?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Both, but I would say it leans more towards looking at the venues, see how holes play, you know, how holes play with certain pin locations, how holes play with certain wind directions.

So, that's the way it's been with working with my stats guy, Mark "Corwin" for four, five years now. I don't get involved in it. I'll get involved in Tuesday, Wednesday talking about some stuff.

Once the tournament comes and my caddy, Josh, talk about certain things and then Josh sort of relates or correlates that to me out on the golf course how he sees fit.

Q. You could be -- this being a new venue, mid tournament actually possibly have some analysis you've looked at and how some holes are playing and make adjustments in your attack?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yes. I won't go too much into it. It's information that we -- the people that work with, our stat guy sees that as very valuable information.

Q. This may sound crazy but when you win the FedExCup, financial gain is huge. But the real desire of a player is win more events and win bigger events.
Is there any down side to a player winning that amount of money impeding his pursuit of other titles?

BILLY HORSCHEL: Depends on the player. There's lot of guys out here that play for money and worry about money and so if that's all they're fueled by, yeah, it's going to impede them.

I've never been one to play for money. I've always played for accomplishing my goals and, yes, one of my goals was to be financially set to be able to take care of my family, and winning the FedExCup and go on that run really secured my family. I've been secure since 2014.

My parents, when they need something I take care of them. My brother is taken care of whenever they need something. Obviously that's a goal but -- there's a lot of guys that look at how much they make after Sunday's round. I don't care.

Yes, money is great but at the end of my day I'm going to be judged off what I did in the sense of tournament, how many wins I have, how many Ryder Cups did I make, how many Presidents Cups I did make, how many Majors did I have?

That's my goal, that what I've always been driven by and that's what will always be my thing. The day I don't have the desire to continue to wake up and try to push myself to be best and achieve those goals is the day I'll walk away from this game of golf.

Money has never been my thing, even though I don't come from money. But winning the FedExCup, like I said, was nice to make us financially secure at a way earlier stage than I could ever imagine. It just allowed me to free everything up and really focus on my goals.

MARK WILLIAMS: I don't see anybody else with a question. Thank you, Billy. Have a good defense of the title.

BILLY HORSCHEL: Sounds good.

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