Billy Horschel managed to finish off a tournament in style by winning the BMW Championship at Cherry Hills Golf Club in Denver, Colorado, by two shots over Bubba Watson and another over Morgan Hoffman. This tournament was the gateway tournament into the the top-30 players on the PGA Tour and thus entrance into the grandest payday of them all, the Tour Championship and the FedExCup. Win those and it’s $1.44 million for the former and $10 million for the latter, $11.44 million for both.
This is made easier for the top-5 players in the points standings — Chris Kirk, Billy Horschel, Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy and Hunter Mahan — because if they win the Tour Championship, they automatically win the FedExCup and the $10 million. Otherwise, someone lower on the points list could win the Tour Championship but not win sufficient Cup points to go to the top of those standings.
To spice things up, the Cup points are all reset from 2,500 points for the leader to 210 for the player in 30th place. With that tightening of the field and the points awarded for winning the Tour Championship (2,500), it becomes mathematically possible for the 30th guy to win the Cup if the leaders have a real bad tournament. So that eventuality of a non-top-5 winner will most probably come from someone who began higher up on the Cup list, say the 6th guy who will begin with 1,400 reset points.
After his win today, Horschel is ready:
“Yeah, it means a lot to win, especially an event in the FedExCup playoffs, because it’s amplified 10 times, really. You understand what a victory here does going down the road, especially to Atlanta. You get that much closer to winning the FedExCup and 10 million dollars. So that’s one way to look at it.”
“The other way is it’s just another notch in the belt of moving forward and hopefully, another step towards something bigger and greater down the road. I don’t know how long I’m going to play. I’ve talked to people that, I would love to play no more than to 40, 45 and then be done with my career. So when you look at that, I got 12 to 17 years of great golf that I want to play, and then I can just go hang up the clubs and spend time with my family.”
“So, getting a second win, two wins in the last two years is a lot. Not many guys do that. Hopefully this win will give me some more added confidence and shoot me up there into an upper echelon player is where I want to be. I want to be where the Rory McIlroys are, the Tigers are, the Phil Mickelsons, the Bubba Watsons, the guys that are winning Majors. I want to be there with them. I want to compete with them on a Sunday at a Major Championship, go head to head with them and have a chance to win Majors.”
“So, that’s what I’m looking forward to. I want to be in the final group, or near the lead, on every tournament on Sunday to have a chance to win. That’s the only way you learn to get better and hopefully, I can keep knocking out victories.”
It is fascinating that the media either won’t let go of Horschel’s 18th hole shank into the hazard at last week’s Deutsche Bank Championship to dash his opportunity to win, or they keep coming in in the middle of the movie.
Because that shank was such a shock to anyone who has ever made one and couldn’t believe it possible for a Tour pro, they keep projecting the embarrassment, shame and deflated confidence that such a thing surely must engender. Each of those presumed consequences are a function of an insecure ego; see the post I wrote in the very early days of this blog, “Embarrassment,” where I explored this very thing.
So surely this ignominy — they politely infer — needs to be psychologically recovered from and they want to know how long it will take, whether he has and how he did it. But Horschel has addressed this almost every day since he did it and he’s not buying into the “damaged goods” paradigm.
And it’s not just the media that’s projecting this on him. Apparently there were a number of less polite amateur critics on social media that luxuriated in his Schadenfreude; “choker!” they hurled at him and other such “expert” conclusions. Who would you have to be to say such things to a man when he was down?
But Horschel has said all along that he was completely unaffected by the shank as soon as he got to the drop area, was laughing about it after the round and didn’t see today’s win as any kind of redemption. In his mind, no redemption was required:
“I don’t even — obviously, now when you look back at it it’s awesome. But, I didn’t even think about it [today] when I won. That never crossed my mind. I’m still not thinking about it. I guess you say it’s redemption, but I was coming from behind. I had a one stroke deficit on 18, and I had to hit a good shot and unfortunately, I didn’t.”
“I think what I’m more proud about is the way people on Twitter and social media like to comment on that and say that I choked and you’re no good, all this. That doesn’t affect me, but I just like to stick it to them and it was nice to get that victory and stick it to some of those people that had some negative comments for me on Twitter, and I don’t mind it. You want to keep saying negative things to me that just adds fuel to my fire, and I’m just going to stick it to you every time.”
Which sounds, of course, like a response from a wounded ego, or at least a bruised one. And if it is, it probably comes from being falsely accused rather than any embarrassment over his alleged flash of incompetence.
He didn’t see it that way and immediately moved on. That’s what strong people do. As Kenny Loggins sang in the theme song, “I’m Alright,” for the movie, Caddyshack, back in 1980:
“I’m alright and nobody worry ’bout me,
Why you got to gimme a fight, can’t you just let it be?”