Photo courtesy of Brent Flanders
When Billy Horschel was 10 years old he had a dream that he would get hit in the face with a baseball, more specifically during practice. Then one day it happened. He was at practice and got hit in the eye with a baseball. Dreams can be very powerful so it’s no wonder that Horschel remembered that one from when he was a boy. He also remembered another one that became a major reality yesterday.
Several months ago, Horschel awoke in a fog and had a dream he was lifting the FedEx cup. At this point in his season the possibility of that happening could not have been further from the truth. After a 2013 season that saw him get his first win on Tour, he struggled through most of the 2014 season with his consistency and entered into the FedEx Cup playoffs ranked 69th (nobody had won the FedEx Cup ranked higher than 19 before this year).
Then he missed the cut at The Barclays and his dream seemed even less likely as it didn’t even appear that Billy would make it to East Lake and the Tour Championship, let alone win it.
Then something happened.
Almost over night it appeared that Horschel got everything to click, and just at the right time. He finished runner up at the Deutsche Bank and if it wasn’t for a chunked 6-iron on 18 in the final round he might have won. Then, instead of letting that get to him, he went out and won the BMW Championship and all of a sudden that dream was becoming more and more of a possibility. After the BMW he climbed all the way to second in points but still had to win the Tour Championship if he wanted to lock down the FedEx Cup and the $10 million bonus.
He didn’t have an easy road either. Rory, Rickie, Jason Day, Chris Kirk and Jim Furyk all kept the pressure on and made him work every shot. Kirk was tied with him after round one, Rory after round three. Then it was Furyk’s turn who matched Horschel two separate times on Sunday including at 15. Each time, Horschel hit a clutch shot or putt to maintain his lead, none ending up being bigger and more clutch than at the 16th hole.
After hitting a bad tee shot and having to pretty much lay up he left him self with a 30 footer to save par. With ice running through his veins we nailed the putt and pretty much sealed the tournament right then and there.
“I said, ‘I’m due to make one of these, I haven’t really made a long one, and obviously I’ve been fortunate to make a few this week, so just give it your best stroke and see what happens,’” Horschel said of the putt on 16. “It came off and got up on top of that ridge, and I said, this looks good, and it went in, and it was huge. I knew Jim was nipping at my heels and everything, and that was a big, big putt.”
For Horschel, life doesn’t get much better than it is right now for the Jacksonville Beach resident. On top of almost doubling his career earnings in one day ($1,4 million for winning the Tour Championship and $10 million for winning the FedEx Cup) he and his wife Brittany are expecting their first child any day now.
“From what I’ve heard, kids are very expensive, so the more money I can make, the better,” Horschel joked after winning the FedEx Cup.” But I love her to death, and I’m sure she’s going crazy and hopefully she’s not going into labor right now, but you know, it’s just unbelievable, everything that’s happened the last two weeks, and especially having a kid on the way. I’m not sure life can be better than this.”
Not a bad way to end the 2014 season for Horschel who still remembers it all started with that dream.
“There’s certain things throughout my life that have come true, and I’ve sort of seen it beforehand,” Horschel said. “I woke up and I wasn’t sure if it was real or not because it was very faint, but I remember holding up the FedExCup trophy, and as the season went along, I never thought about it, but I just said, ‘Well, maybe it was just a dream that wasn’t real.’”
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