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January 25, 2013

Billy Horschel


MARK STEVENS:¬† Billy Horschel, got it to 9‑under today.¬† Two shots off the lead heading into the third round tomorrow.¬† Kind of talk about your round today, what went well, and what you're thinking about going into tomorrow's round?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  Yeah, I mean, I had a good day.  Obviously, playing the South Course, it's obviously tougher than the North Course.  I started out striking the ball well.  It's never going to be bad with me.  I've always been a good ball striker.
We've just been working on tempo.¬† I felt good on the range, and hit a couple good shots early.¬† Unfortunately, I three‑putted number 11, my second hole the par‑3 from about 12 feet and just a brain fart. ¬†But came back with a good birdie at number 12, and I just played solid the rest of the way for the next seven holes or so.
I had a couple of putts just slip out.¬† And then I had another three‑putt at number 2.¬† I had a 12‑footer for birdie, and hit it a couple feet by the hole and just missed a two‑footer, another brain fart.
But, overall, it was a good day the way I finished.  Finishing, I think, three birdies in the last four or five holes was good.  I played in some bad conditions.  Once I made a turn on hole two, three, and four, sort of the rain came down a little bit harder.
But it's a good day, and I'm excited about tomorrow.  I get to play with Tiger.  I found out when I tapped in for par number 9, I realized he was leading and I was in second place, so, yeah, looking forward to that.

Q.  Have you ever been paired with Tiger?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  I've never been paired with Tiger.

Q.  Can you expand a little bit about what you might expect tomorrow or what you're thinking about?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  I know there are going to be crowds.  It's nothing that I haven't dealt with before.  I've played the Walker Cup in 2007 over in Northern Ireland at Royal County Down and there was a guy I competed against three times called Rory McIlroy.  So there may have been 10, 12,000 people following us, and only a couple thousand following the rest of the group.  So I've dealt with crowds.
I guess, it's a little bit easier playing with Tiger because I guess the group ahead, they move a lot or something.  Just hearing what media says.
It's going to be exciting.  I've never been paired with Tiger.  He's one of the golfers of the many I've looked up to when I was a young kid, so I get to play with him.  It's going to be nice.  I've met him a couple of times.
He was gracious enough to give me a spot right out of college at his tournament, AT&T National in 2009.¬† Met him then, introduced myself, and I've met him a couple‑‑ we've talked a couple other times.¬† But, yeah, it's going to be a good day no matter what.

Q.  When you got the spot in AT&T National, what was the communication?  Did they kind of pick you out?  Did you ask them to play?  How did that work out?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  I mean, just like any kid coming out of college or any other professional golfer, you write for sponsor exemptions.  Luckily enough, I had a pretty good college career in 2009, and Tiger and Greg McLaughlin, the tournament director, were, like I said, gracious enough to give me one.
It could have gone any other way, but to give me one out of college, and I think it was based on what I've done in college and amateur golf.  I felt like I deserved a spot, and I think they did too and that's why I was rewarded with one.

Q.  Were you guys able to have many conversations or was it more just shaking his hands and meeting him?
BILLY HORSCHEL:¬† Yeah, I met him on Wednesday before the tournament wrapped.¬† He got done playing the Pro‑Am.¬† I told my manager at the time I said I wanted to see Tiger and thank Tiger for the spot.¬† We went up and he said a couple of words.
What I thought was pretty cool was there was no one that he was talking to before, but he said I know you've had a pretty good college career and you've done pretty well.  Just keep doing what you're doing.  You'll be fine, and you'll be out here in no time.  So I thought that was something cool at the time.
Obviously, he meets tons of players and for him to sort of mention my college career and a couple things I've done was, I thought, pretty remarkable.

Q.¬† You've started now with 10‑rounds of 70 or better for the season.¬† Can you talk about any off‑season adjustments that you might have made to help you get off to a good start this year?
BILLY HORSCHEL:¬† I didn't have an off‑season.¬† Unfortunately, last year I played conditional.¬† Played 17 events out here and five or six out on the Web.com.¬† Played pretty well out here.¬† Made 15 cuts, just didn't take care of business on Sunday, so I had to go back to Q‑school.
Then after Q‑school, I had a come other prior arrangements to do a couple golf things.¬† After that, I took a week off and went snowboarding in Snowmass.¬† It's my second year doing it, and I love it.¬† I'm sort of addicted.¬† I could have spent another month and a half out there.
But there wasn't much practice for me.  I didn't really start practicing, didn't really touch a club until a couple days before New Year's.  So it was two and a half weeks off.
My game had been pretty good going towards the end of the year, so I needed some time off.¬† So it was sort of a couple finer points I wanted to work on was more or less my putting.¬† Me and my teacher, Todd Anderson, looked at my stats and realized‑‑ I mean, we knew all along my putting was somewhere where I could improve greatly.¬† And there were just a couple of fundamentals and mechanical things that we worked on, and it's been something I've been really focusing on, spending more time on the putting green than on the driving range.¬† I spent four hours on the putting green on Wednesday, just trying to put the time in and feeling comfortable with what we're working on.¬† Just get that added confidence that I can get on the putting green.

Q.¬† Is it three for three in Q‑school finals for you?¬† What is it?
BILLY HORSCHEL:¬† No, no, it's three for four.¬† I missed in 2011, and I knew I wasn't going to get my card when I went there.¬† I stepped on‑‑ in 2011, it was out at PGA West again.¬† Didn't feel good with my game.¬† It's never bad, but I just didn't feel great with it.
I knew the whole week, sort of in the back of my head, I just didn't really feel great with it, and I didn't get my cart card, but, yeah, three for four is a good percentage, but I don't want to do that anymore.

Q.  I was going to ask you about that.  That's a tough way to keep getting out here.  What is the upside of that, Billy, as far as what you've learned from it and what you get out of it?  Just having to kind of keep moving on, keep pushing on?
BILLY HORSCHEL:¬† Yeah, I think the first two times I got through, I didn't learn anything from Q‑school.¬† I can't say I didn't learn anything in '09, my first year out of college and going to Q‑school, because I got hurt at the beginning of 2010.¬† So it sort of hurt me a little bit and learning from that process.¬† But this year I sort of made an added effort to pay attention to a couple of things I did different.
One thing that I learned is that I like to know a lot of things, and once I get addicted to something, I like to read a lot of articles.¬† I like to read a lot of anything.¬† I like information, knowledge, and paying attention to the leaderboards, which I've never done in Q‑school.¬† Going back to 2009 and any stage I played, I never looked at a leaderboard at all, so I never knew where I stood.¬† And I'm carrying that out to here, trying not to look at leaderboards.
Obviously, it's a little harder out here because they're every three holes.  And I'm not reading anymore Golf Week articles.  I'm not reading anymore Golf World articles.  I'm on Twitter still, but I'm not paying attention to certain things that, you know, little headlines that I could sort of get enticed into reading.
I don't do it all during the week.  It's tough, because I like to hear what other guys are doing or anything like that, and it's just I've learned it's not beneficial to me.

Q.  Why is that?  When you say reading about stuff, reading about other people or reading about yourself?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  Reading about other people, reading about myself.  I just sort of put maybe a little bit more pressure on myself.  Nothing good, I've learned, comes from it, for me, at least.  Some guys can read the articles and sort of let it go.  With me, it stays with me.  I think about it.
What it actually does is it takes away from me being‑‑ me just looking out for myself.¬† I like to‑‑ it sounds bad, but I'm not as selfish as I should be sometimes.¬† I think doing‑‑ not that reading articles is going to make me selfish or not selfish.¬† But it just takes away from focusing on what I need to do.¬† I need to be a little bit more selfish out here.¬† Not always talk a lot to everybody I see.¬† I can talk your ear off for days and days.
So whenever I see somebody, not going over there and talking 20 minutes while they're practicing and I'm not.  So it's more or less just me focusing on what I need to do and taking care of my business and just go about it that way.

Q.  Have you checked your cell phone since you finished?  Have you gotten any texts from buddies yet saying you're playing with Tiger?  And are you going to turn your cell phone off tonight so can you get some sleep?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  I've got some texts already.  I haven't read them all, but I have seen what a couple of people have texted me.  My phone's going off right now on my side right now in my pants with people texting me.  But I'm not going to turn it off.
I appreciate all the support that all of my friends and family give me.  So I think hopefully they'll respect that I'm going to be sleeping here in a couple of hours so they won't be calling me or texting me.  But, yeah, I'm not going to worry about it too much.

Q.  That first tee at '07 in the Walker Cup, remind me, was it you calming Rickie down or Rickie calming you down?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  I think it was a little bit of both.

Q.  Who hit the first tee shot?
BILLY HORSCHEL:¬† I did.¬† Buddy Marucci realized that ‑‑ he had played enough golf with me in amateur events leading up ‑‑ he couldn't wait a couple groups for me to go out.¬† He had to send me out right away, because I'm just antsy, fired up, and I've got to go when I've got to go.
So he sent me out.¬† I hit the first tee shot, and I was pretty calm.¬† Rickie needed to be calmed down.¬† A couple holes later, he was sort of a little‑‑ he was up, high on emotions and everything.¬† He was sort of wasn't hitting the shots he wanted, and we just sort of calmed each other down.¬† It was sort of a little yin‑yang thing for us.¬† If one of us got a little too high, the other one sort of brought us back to reality, in both ways.

Q.  Does it help being on the west coast with tee times at 11:00, instead of like 2 or 3:00 in Florida later in the summer?
BILLY HORSCHEL:  It helps a lot.  Obviously I've been in a couple of final groups, and McGladrey was one of them in 2011.  And waiting until 1:30, 2:00, I didn't know what to do with myself because I don't sleep in very late.  So it's nice to be out here at 10:30, 11:00.
I've learned with later tee times, I've found a couple things I need to do before I tee off to keep my mind away from wandering and anything else that can affect me before I tee off.

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