Billy Horschel is hoping to repeat his BMW PGA Championship heroics of two years ago at Wentworth this week, but first, we grabbed the American for an interview with a difference.
In order to get the former FedEx Cup champ a little better, we caught up with him on the range in Surrey and asked him a host of questions that he doesn’t have to answer every day. From his favorite city and courses to embarrassing moments and the state of his friendship with Declan Rice since the midfielder left West Ham, this is Bare My Soul with Billy Horschel.
What was your first car and what do you drive now?
My first car was a manual Ford Saturn and now I’ve got a Porsche Cayenne Turbo, so a bit of an upgrade.
What was your first job before golf?
I worked with my Dad’s construction crew doing labor, getting the mud ready, shoveling, and cleaning up after them.
What’s the most extravagant purchase you’ve ever made aside from a house or car?
A boat. I treated myself to a fishing boat.
What’s the most money you’ve ever gambled on the course?
Around $20k, maybe. I must’ve won because I definitely don’t remember having to give anybody else the money!
How did you spend your first pay cheque?
It was a long time ago, but I think I went to a steakhouse for a big dinner.
What’s the oldest or coolest piece of golfing memorabilia you own?
I don’t really have much. I’m not really in to swapping stuff with other players or anything like that. That said, at some point, I’ll have Tiger sign a thing or two for me personally. He’s a great friend and he’s been good to me, so I’d love to have that.
Who’s the most famous person in your phonebook?
Well, Tiger’s pretty famous. And I’ve got Michael Jordan in there. Pretty tough to choose between those guys…
Last time you were starstruck?
I don’t get starstruck at all. I never have done, even when I was first out on Tour. Ultimately, we’re all just people.
What’s your most embarrassing moment on the course?
I mean I’ve acted like an idiot on the golf course once or twice and in the modern world that’s not fun because it’s always straight on social media. I probably should have been embarrassed when I slipped and fell on my butt at Augusta in 2021, but that was just pretty funny.
Which player would you least like to caddie for?
Man, that’s a f*cking fire question right there. Are you trying to get me in trouble? Rather than a specific name, I’ll just say I could never caddie for a player who’s willing to throw in the towel. If you’re playing bad, just keep grinding it out, even if we miss the cut by eight shots. I couldn’t work with someone who gives up too easily.
What has been your closest brush with death?
My Dad and I were playing a course in Alabama and the weather moved in out of nowhere. Next thing you know we were driving back to the clubhouse in the storm and a bolt of lightning struck about 40 yards away from us. It was pretty frightening. I don’t want to come much closer than that!
Which superpower would you most like to have?
What would you have been if not a golfer?
Hopefully an athlete in another sport. It was always my dream, so if it wasn’t golf then baseball. My love now is soccer, so I’d have loved to have been a soccer player.
Speaking of which, how’s the friendship with Declan Rice post-transfer?
(Laughs) We’re still buds. We’ll be friends for life. And we’ve made a pretty good start to life without him!
What is your most annoying habit?
My wife would say chewing ice. I think I have two. I sometimes interject too soon when people are talking and don’t let them finish. The other thing is when I give interviews and I say ‘um’ and ‘er’. I f*cking hate that and I’m working really hard to stop it so I don’t sound like an idiot. You could get away with it a bit more in the past, but everything’s filmed now and you just seem stupid. (Note: Billy will be delighted to hear he didn’t do it once during our chat).
What is your biggest regret?
I don’t really have regrets. The way I look at it, things happen for a reason. You make mistakes but you learn from them and without having those moments you don’t have the life lesson that can help you become a better person.
What was the hardest day you’ve ever had on the golf course?
My 84 at Memorial earlier this year was a tough one. That’s definitely the toughest one in recent memory.
Have you got any hidden talents/party tricks?
Not that I can think of. I’m a pretty boring guy! I can’t sing, I’ve got a little bit of rhythm but I wouldn’t say I’m an exceptional dancer. Maybe if I win this week I’ll do a little dance after a few beverages.
Given the power, what one thing would you change in golf?
Slow play. Guys not being ready to hit when it’s their turn frustrates the hell out of me. We can talk about guises and emotions, and I’ve had my issues with that where I’ve affected my playing partners, but it’s amazing how slow play impacts your partners and the lack of criticism that comes from that. They’re hurting their playing partners who are playing in time. The only way to fix it is to actually start penalizing them with shots – they’ll soon start playing more quickly, trust me.
Where’s your favorite city to play golf in?
That’s a good question. I know we’re here but it’s tough not to say London. I can’t think of many that would beat it with the quality of courses around it. I love it. Surrey is incredible. And London is a great city off the course, too.
What about your favorite course?
I love playing Bethpage. I’ve played it two or three times now. It’s fun playing in front of those fans and their energy. Yeah, they can be a little boisterous and there are plenty of comments, but they can carry you to victory. And it’s a great course.
Making the 2025 Ryder Cup there must be a big goal for you, then?
Oh yeah, it’s going to be a crazy sh*t show! Being there is a massive target for me over the next couple of years.
It’s only a couple of weeks until this year’s Ryder Cup. Who are you backing to lift the trophy?
I think it’ll be a much closer match than people think. We don’t play well over here; we’ve struggled in Europe. The European team is far stronger than people have given them credit for and no matter which team looks stronger on paper it always comes down to the team that gels and those key moments.
Is golf in a better place now than it was 12 months ago?
(Long pause) Hmm. I think it is. Listen, there’s been some divide in the game and some people look a bit silly from things they’ve said and done, but as a whole, I think it is in a better place. Professionally I think it’s about equal, but if you look at the game as a whole – which is far bigger than just the men’s professional game – then, yeah, I think it’s in a better spot.
What would you prefer to do: Win a Major or hole the winning putt in the Ryder Cup?
Oh sh*t. What a question. Can it be the Ryder Cup at Bethpage (laughs)? Right now, where my career stands, I have to take the Major because I’ve accomplished a lot, but there are still two things missing and that’s win a Major and be part of a victorious Ryder Cup team. One of them is more selfish than the other, and I love the team vibe, but golf is largely about individual accolades and that’s how history will judge us. If I were to win a Major, then I’d like to think I’d make the Ryder Cup team and that’d give me the chance to hole the winning putt and tick off those goals.
About the Author
Rob specializes in the DP World Tour, PGA Tour, LIV Golf, and the Ryder Cup, spending large chunks of his days reading about, writing about, and watching the tours each month.
He’s passionate about the equipment used by professional golfers and is also a font of knowledge when it comes to golf balls, golf trolleys, and golf bags, testing thousands down the years.
Rob uses a Callaway Paradym driver, TaylorMade M5 5-wood, TaylorMade P790 driving iron, Callaway Paradym irons (4-AW), TaylorMade MG3 wedges (52º, 58º), Odyssey Tri-Hot 5k Double Wide putter, and Callaway Chrome Soft X golf ball.