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October 14, 2011

Billy Horschel


JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Billy Horschel, our 36-hole leader here at the McGladrey Classic. Another solid day of golf out there, tremendous play. If we can just get some comments.
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, I knew today the wind was going to blow a little bit harder. I thought I was going to start on the front side today, and I knew it's probably the toughest stretch of holes on the course. 1 through 5, I mean, 1 is not too bad, but the wind coming left to right it makes it a little bit tougher. I knew if I could get by that little stretch with even par or 1-over I'd be doing pretty well. And I got by that 1-under, which was nice, and then you get 6 through 8 downwind, can make up some ground there. 9 is not too bad, a little cross-wind.
I played well. I tried not to make too many mistakes, tried to put the ball on the green, tried not to short-side yourself. It's just you take your wind -- you try not to fight the wind too much when it's blowing this hard. You try to use it as much of your friend as possible and let it help you out as much as possible, and I did a pretty good job of that today.
JOHN BUSH: Michael Thompson won the SEC Championship in 2008 at Frederica, you won it in 2009. Comment about that and about this island.
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, I had a chance to win it in '08. I think us, Alabama, and I cannot think of the third team. We were in the last wave of tee times. I think our teams had a chance to win. I know we each had a chance to win individually, and he obviously played really well that last day to get that victory, and I came back the next year and was able to get an SEC title of my own.
The area is a great place. There's a lot of nice people here. They may be Georgia Bulldogs, but I get along with them pretty well. We respect each other. It's a great place here. You've got great views from the golf course. It's easy living, as I call it; it's laid-back, just the South the way it is. I'm a little bit of a high-strung, emotional guy, and so the more I can stay nice and relaxed and even keel, it helps me out on the golf course.

Q. Speaking of high strung, I just wonder if you could talk about the finish. I'm sure you would have been pleased being right there around the lead going into the end and then to finish the way you did. Can you talk about that?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, I mean, I knew making the turn, 10, 11 and 13 were going to be holes that I needed just to focus on. 14, too, just put as much focus as I can into making sure I didn't do anything stupid because I knew I had a couple holes coming in that I could make up some ground. I got on 15 tee, and it's a par-5, reachable in two, and I hit two great shots, hit it to about ten feet and made the eagle.

Q. What did you hit on 7?
BILLY HORSCHEL: I hit 4-iron. I hit a good drive. Bud hit, I think, a 6-, 7-iron, and he smoked his drive.
I mean, I could really care less about the lead when I was out there. It's nice that I am leading, but I was just more focused on just keep trying to hit good golf shots and trying to make as many carefree mistakes as possible, and if birdies came, birdies came.

Q. The club selection on 16 and 18 first of all?
BILLY HORSCHEL: 16 was just a little 100-yard gap wedge. We had about 113, wind was humming behind us, and hit a little gap wedge to about 15 feet and made the putt.
And then 18, we had 173, and we just -- a little downhill lie, so we knew if we just hit a nice regular 8-iron, downhill lie was going to make it go about four yards farther than it normally does, and so it turned out nice, a nice little tap-in.

Q. Is there anything to be said for playing in the final group on a nice afternoon and the wind calms down a little bit and everything? Was it actually a pleasant experience over the last few holes?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, it's nice to play around here. I like to wake up early and play early practice rounds, but at the same time I like to practice late. When the sun goes down, it's just the nice, relaxed, calm feeling no matter where you are. The wind calmed down a little bit, but it was still humming the last couple holes, maybe 18 it calmed down a little bit. But yeah, it's nice to be around here late in the day, sun setting, you've got tomorrow good views, nice relaxed feel.

Q. At 139 on the Money List, are you pushing hard for 125, or are you panicked not to fall out of 150?
BILLY HORSCHEL: I'm not worried about any of it. I'm actually not worried about it at all. I've been playing really well the last couple months, and I'm back to where I was '09 Q-school when I first came out of college, just the way I feel about my game, my confidence. It doesn't matter how bad I may be hitting it or what may be going wrong. I am going to figure out some way to play well that day. It wasn't that way -- it wasn't that case late last year and beginning of this year. I was still struggling a little bit trying to find my game and my confidence a little bit. I'm not too worried about 139 or making my TOUR card or staying inside the top 150, just worried about playing well and just -- whatever happens after these two weeks, it happens. I'm 24 years old, I'm not someone who's been out grinding for years and years and worrying about it. I've got plenty of time. I'm lucky enough that I got out here early on, and so that helps out a lot.

Q. 24 used to be young, by the way.
BILLY HORSCHEL: I know, compared to Rory McIlroy and everyone else.

Q. And your health, when did you get that sorted out?
BILLY HORSCHEL: I had surgery last March of '10. Doc cleared me around mid July, and I probably should have taken another month or two to work on the game, but I went right back out and started playing again. I haven't had any problems with my wrist at all. It's just a little bit of the mindset of being able to hit down on golf shots and trust that the wrist isn't going to hurt sometimes when you have a certain shot.

Q. When did you get to that point where you could mentally let yourself go back at it?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Probably -- it was probably sometime -- somewhere at the beginning of this year I felt good about being able to hit shots, being able to hit down on some shots that I had to. So that's probably when it -- when I started feeling really good about my wrist. The game, I had made so many compensations for a bad wrist for so many months that I was still trying to work on getting rid of those bad habits.

Q. I only saw you play college once a year at Sawgrass when you guys were in that. But are you prone to sudden binges like that, a couple birdies and an eagle in a short amount of time? Have you done that in the past?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, I get on little hot runs. When it feels good, it feels good, and I'm not afraid to go after it, and when I'm not feeling good about a certain shot or a certain something, then I just sort of play safe. But I mean, I've had some really low scores in my career, in college and in amateur golf. When things start going well and the putts start dropping, I take it as deep as I can.

Q. Is it putting that kills you or the shots?
BILLY HORSCHEL: It's the putting. I'm a pretty good ball striker day in and day out, and if I just get a little bit of confidence in my putting and I start seeing the balls go in the hole, it's a big key.
I hit a lot of shots probably inside 20 feet. I mean, I'll have -- if I'm hitting well, I'll have at least somewhere between two and four putts inside ten feet for birdie, and I pride myself on making every putt inside ten feet, and if I can make a couple of the 15-, 20- footers, then the rounds go a little bit lower. So that's what happens usually once in a while.

Q. I don't want to get too arcane, but what were the bad habits you fell into compensating for the wrist?
BILLY HORSCHEL: My wrist wasn't strong enough to hold the club up at the top. I was getting a little too bowed, and when it was coming down, I was bowing it even more so it was shutting the face down real easy and I was hitting quick hooks. The face was closed before I even got to the golf ball, so me and my teacher, Todd Anderson, who works out of here at Sea Island, we work hard on making sure we keep a little cup at the top of the swing, and then when it comes down keeping the same cup in it all the way to the ball.
So that was a little bit of it pretty much. And then my posture gets out of whack from time to time. That's the big thing pretty much, my posture, if I'm going to swing it well.
JOHN BUSH: Billy, thank you, sir. Play well this weekend.

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