In his short tenure on golf’s big stages Billy Horschel was always a little easier to dislike.
He was cocky. He was temperamental. His critics said he didn’t know when to keep his mouth shut. And, unless you are a denizen of the Florida Gator nation, he just had too much of that same swagger that turned so many people off on former Florida football coach Urban Meyer.
Not that any of that ever bothered Meyer or, for that matter, Horschel.
But you couldn’t take your eye off of Horschel. And the more you looked, the more you started to realize he wasn’t trying to be somebody he wasn’t. He came from a blue collar golf background. He worked his tail off to improve his game. And he had a swing and a posture and a bearing about him.
Grudgingly, you watched him outpunch his weight.
Three Sundays ago in Boston he “fatted” a 6-iron that cost him a playoff win in Boston. He shrugged it off, defiant of the social media trolls who labeled him a choker.
Two Sundays ago he bounced right back with a playoff win in Denver.
And all of a sudden, while everybody else around him on the leaderboards – even world No. 1 Rory McIlroy – was running out of late-season gas, a young, fit Horschel had a wellspring of physical and mental energy to burn in reserve.
Sunday in Atlanta, Horschel won by three. If they had played nine more holes, he would have won by five. He is the FedEx Cup champion, the Tour Championship winner and $11.44 million wealthier.
Global Golf Post columnist Ron Green Jr. has a piece in today’s edition that centers around Horschel, the dreamer. It changed my mind about Horschel.
Our cover “banger” headline reads: “Color Him Rich.”
And it refers to the ostentatiousness of the loud pants he wears and the money he now has just weeks before his wife is due with the couple’s first child. But the cover image also shows a young, confident man in the prime of his life, right where he wants to be.
Billy. Not Bill.
A young man in full.
Rich, right now, in all sorts of ways.
And aware of the fact that, even though everybody in the world knows he should be on the American Ryder Cup squad that will go to Scotland later this month – the proper stance is to respectfully avoid second-guessing the flawed selection system that will leave him home.
The challenge now for Horschel will be handling everything that is going to come with his new stature.
Instead of expecting him to stumble and shaking my head knowingly when that happens, I find myself now rooting for him to adjust to the all the demands without changing his core.