Billy Horschel had missed his last four cuts in a row. He chastised fans on the 17th hole at The Players Championship for their behavior before apologizing on social media. Frankly, Horschel looked about as far as he could from the guy who won back-to-back playoff events to take home the 2014 FedEx Cup.
And then on Sunday he hoisted the trophy at the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Golf is an odd game.
Horschel beat Jason Day on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff at TPC Four Seasons, hosting the tournament for the final time, when the former world No. 1 missed a 4-footer for par. The former Florida Gator’s par 4 on the 18th hole was enough for his fourth PGA Tour title.
For Horschel, it’s a bit of karma working in his favor. Last November, Horschel missed a similarly short putt at The RSM Classic, costing him the championship.
“You always want to win with a birdie on the last hole,” Horschel said afterward. “It’s the way the game of golf goes sometimes.”
Horschel had been working hard on his game, seeing results on the practice range. However, he’d been unable for weeks to bring that progress inside the ropes.
“Come in here with missing four straight cuts, nothing of any type of momentum, only thing I can hang my hat on was my practice sessions for the last several months have been well, practicing sessions leading to the tournaments have been well,” he said.
However, as he was missing the cut at The Players, Horschel was given a pick-me-up that foreshadowed what happened this week.
“My caddie Josh Cassel walked down 17 last week and just said, he saw something in my game: ‘You know what, we’re going to go next week to Dallas, to the Byron Nelson and we’re going to win.'”
Not only does Horschel get in the Masters, he’ll also get into the U.S. Open and British Open based on his world ranking. He played this week hoping to make steps toward reaching those bigger goals, and he got more than perhaps he expected.
“I want to be in majors and having a chance to win big tournaments. I want to go down with the greats, if I can,” he said. “But I came here because of that and I came here because I needed to get a run of tournaments. I needed to play more tournament golf.”