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BARBASOL CHAMPIONSHIP


July 18, 2018


Billy Horschel


Nicholasville, Kentucky

THE MODERATOR: All right, well we will go ahead and get started. Billy Horschel, thanks for joining us for a few minutes; making your first start in the Barbasol Championship this week.

You come obviously with a lot of credentials being the 2014 FedExCup champion, PGA Tour wins, most recently individually last year at the At&T Byron Nelson, and then of course Z├╝rich Classic with Scott Piercy, site of you first PGA TOUR win.

Just some thought on being here this week.

BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, it's great to be here. You know, obviously the British Open Championship is going on this week, but I wanted to play some golf and I wanted to t compete. I feel like my game is in a really good spot, and I just wanted to build off some momentum that I've had the last few months and continue that momentum and get ready for the last half, stretch of the season with the PGA Championship and the four playoff events.

So I didn't want to take three weeks off. I wanted to come play. I'm grateful there was an opposite event to the Open Championship, and Barbasol put on a great event.

THE MODERATOR: What are you pleased with? What have you been working on? What do you feel best about as far as your game goes coming into the week?

BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, my game feels good all around; my ball striking has been pretty good all year, except for my iron play, which has been pretty atrocious until the last few weeks. I figured something out when I missed the U.S. Open and worked hard. Todd Anderson and I figured some stuff out.

Hit the ball beautifully at Hartford and Quicken Loans, and unfortunately didn't -- missed the cut at Hartford and played well at Quicken Loans. Just didn't play well on Saturday. Just had an off day.

But the game feels good all around. It's been great to see the game come back. It's just more or less being consistent day in and day out a little bit better, and that's what we're trying to get at right now.

THE MODERATOR: With that, we'll take a few questions.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the golf course and what you think of the golf course?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, this is great little golf course. It's unfortunate that they've had so much rain here a few days ago. I think we're going to have some rain this week, so it's going to be really soft.

The greens are in absolutely incredible shape. Course is in pretty good shape with all the rain they've had. I think the scores will be really low. I think it's going to allow some guys to be aggressive into the greens. I think you'll have to go low, so 18-, 20-, 22-under par is I think the winning score.

But it's a great golf courses. I play with one of the guys that owns the course, and I just raved about the condition of the golf course and the greens. And knowing the high school of it, that the Florida Gators won the 1993 National Championship here is also a little good luck, so...

Q. Another question on the course. What about the setup out here fits your game well? What do you think is going to help you?
BILLY HORSCHEL: I think it's really -- you're going to have to be really sharp with iron play from about 150 in. You're going to have a lot of wedges, you're going to have a lot of short irons in, so that's something that historically I've been pretty good at.

I feel like if I'm really good with that area of the game this week I'm going to have a lot of chances to make birdies. Obviously you get me inside 15, 20 feet of the hole I feel like I can make anything. I feel like this course fits me really well. I'm looking forward to a really good week.

Q. Is there any particular stretch of holes...
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, only played the nine holes each day, but I think there are some really unique holes out here. I think -- let me see here. Trying to go through it in my head here.

I think No. 3 is a par-4. I believe it's a really nice par-4 the way its tee shot is angled and the way the green is angled.

I think 3, 4, 5 is a par-5 -- no, 6 is a par-5, I believe. So that stretch of 3, 4, 5, 6, you know, is a nice little stretch there.

You got 8 and 9, which are nice little holes there with water in play; second shot on No. 8 and all water down No. 9 on the right side. So I think that's a nice little stretch there.

Get to the backside and the backside may be a little bit easier. The greens are a little bit flatter. Not nearly as much undulation, little mounds in them, so I think you're going to see probably guys make a little bit more putts on the back site; on the front side you've got to be really sharp with your iron play to be able to give yourself really good look at birdies.

I think if you're going to see anything, the scoring is probably going to be a little bit higher on the front side, and the backside guys are going to be a little bit lower.

Q. You're a big Gator yourself. Tyson Alexander is out here. Have you connected?
BILLY HORSCHEL: No, it's really cool so see Tyson in the field this week. He's had a really -- you know, a lot of guys it takes them a while to figure out how to play professional golf, get their game in the right spots. He's been bouncing around many tours and everything. Got on the Latin America Tour last year I believe, or maybe two years ago, and this year he's No. 1 on the Money List.

So he's really come into his game the last couple years and it's nice to see. He's always had a lot of talent. To see Tyson here this week, it's awesome because I feel like he's got the talent to be out here on the PGA TOUR on a weekly basis. It's just a matter of being, like I said, more consistent day in and day out; maybe a little bit more belief in yourself.

It's nice to see him here this week. Hopefully he has a great week. Who knows? Maybe he finishes Top 5, top 10, gets into next week. You know, build some momentum. There are a lot of crazy things that happen in this game of golf with guys, so you never know.

But I think he's got a really good chance to play well this week and possibly be up there near the lead come Sunday.

Q. What did you find out about your game?
BILLY HORSCHEL: You know, it's something we've been trying to do for the last six, eight months. Trying to get back to the way I swung it -- I swing it really good in '13, '14, '15 and a little bit of '16. Just got into some bad habits. A little bit of it is due to my fitness. I wasn't playing close enough attention to the areas that I needed to, flexibility and mobility and function, and so we've worked really hard on getting that a lot better.

It's been better for a while and now. Now it's just getting out of the bad habits and try and get back to the feels we've had and I've had my entire life.

It was more or less just trying to feel a little bit more stable on the right leg, which is always done; shorten up the swing a little bit. Then from there, I'm able to feel like I drive my right arm in front of my right hip and down the line a little bit more so it allows me to chase the ball, controls the club face a little bit easier.

That's what we've been trying to work on. Sometimes it's not -- the feeling of it is not right and you've just sort of got to play with what you've got. So it was nice to have a week off and try and really work on what we needed to do before Hartford and Quicken Loans.

So it was niece to see all the hard work I did before then sort of come to fruition those two weeks.

Q. There are a couple of University of Kentucky golfers who are playing in their first TOUR event. You aren't that far removed from that situation. What type of advice would you be able to give them?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Oh, man. You know, enjoy it. Understand that what you see on TV, those are the guys that are playing the best that week. So what they're going to realize if they make the cut or whoever they play with, they're going to realize, Wow, this guy hits it the all over the map or this guy doesn't hit it that great.

They're going to realize something like, Man, I'm not that bad. I don't have to be that perfect type deal. I think I when I came out on tour I knew that, but in the back of my head I just felt like I had to be perfect in every aspect of my game every week.

That's what saw on TV. You saw guys draining 20-, 30-footers; you saw guys hitting it close; you saw guys getting up and down.

You didn't see the guys who barely made the cut that were missing some putts or hitting bad shots or guys that missed the cut that hit it all over the map.

I think you realize that the guys they show on TV are the guys playing exceptional that week, and everyone is sort of way back behind everybody else.

It just gives you a little bit more belief in your game that, Hey, listen. I'm pretty close to what these guys are. My talent level, my skill level is really close to these guys. I just got to be a little bit more consistent day in and day out.

THE MODERATOR: One last question, at least for me. The answer probably depends on the day you get asked.

At this point in your career, what kind of a grade would you give? I had the opportunity to be with you for your first win in New Orleans, which still goes down as one of the greatest reactions of all-time; five PGA TOUR wins; FedExCup champion.

Looking back, how would you assess your career to this point?

BILLY HORSCHEL: Man, I'm a hard grader. You would not want me as your teacher. I mean, to be realistic, I would say I feel like what my talent is and what my ability is and what I've seen what I'm able to do in this game of golf against some of the best players. I mean, to be honest, the best would be a B-, C+. I know I've got a FedExCup and I've got five wins, and that's really well, but I feel like I should have played better in majors.

I feel like I should have major to my title already. There is a lot of other stuff I feel like I should have been on. Ryder Cup team, Presidents Cup team, but obviously I haven't been able to do that. That comes down to being consistent day in and day out. That's where, if anything, I lack that consistency compared to the top guys.

I feel like I have the fire power to play well, and when I'm playing well to compete with anybody. To be honest, I think it's a C+ in my mind.

THE MODERATOR: All right. Hopefully we can bump that up to a B+ or an A- after this week. Thanks for coming in, Billy. We really appreciate it.

BILLY HORSCHEL: Thanks, Dougy.

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