By Paul Myers
Any golfer would agree that winning one of the four majors remains the main goal that each every professional is striving for. However, when it comes to the biggest financial prize of all within the game of golf, there is no competition for the FedEx Cup. The winner of the year-end FedEx Cup takes home a prize that is unprecedented in golf, and rarely matched in any other sports – $10 Million. To secure such a prize is to win more money at one time that most people will be fortunate enough to see in their entire lives.
For Billy Horschel, the dream of winning a major championship is yet to be realized – but he does own the 2014 FedEx Cup crown and the impressive paycheck that goes with it. Going into the FedEx Cup Playoffs in 2014, Horschel had just one win to his name during his pro career, yet he went on to win two events in back to back weeks and take home the crown. Despite having just one top-five finish in a major during his career to this point, the University of Florida grad was able to rise to the occasion and grab the richest prize in golf.
An Early Start on the Big Stage
For a long period of time, Billy Horschel was well-known in golf circles for one reason – the incredible round of 60 that he shot in the 2006 U.S. Amateur tournament. While he wouldn’t go on to win the event, that single round helped him make a name for himself across golf. Of course, that wasn’t entirely fair to just view him in terms of one round, as he built an impressive career at the University of Florida. He was consistently one of the best college players in the country at Florida, and it is no big surprise to see that he has risen to such heights in the pro game as well.
A Ping Man
Take one look at Billy Horschel during a PGA Tour event and you will have no trouble identifying which equipment company he is affiliated with. Horschel plays Ping equipment throughout the bag, from his driver all the way down to his wedges. One of the interesting things about his set is that he frequently plays without a four iron – opting to use that club spot for an extra wedge instead. This is becoming more and more popular among Tour players, and amateurs as well. The thinking goes like this – how many times during the average round will you face a shot that calls for a four iron and can’t be handled by a three or a five? Most shots fall somewhere between clubs anyway, so hitting the five a little harder or the three a little softer isn’t that big of a challenge for a player of Horschel’s caliber. In your own game, you might want to experiment with exluding one of your long irons in favor of an extra wedge. You just might find that you don’t really need that additional long iron much after all.
He Packs a Punch
Horschel is not the biggest guy you will see on the PGA Tour on a weekly basis. He isn’t small – he’s six feet tall, and in good physical condition to be sure. However, compared to some of the taller players, he is rather average in terms of size. That doesn’t stop him from creating impressive club head speed, though. So far in the 2015 season, Billy Horschel’s swing speed comes in at an average of 112.25 MPH. This speed has generated an average driving distance of 294.2, good for a rank of 67th on Tour currently. So while he isn’t the biggest hitter on the Tour, he has more than enough power to deal with some of the many long golf courses that are played on a week after week.
How does he generate that speed? With a swing that looks just about as technically perfect as a golf swing gets. Many players on the Tour have something in their swing that looks a little ‘homemade’ or unique to them. That really isn’t the case with Horschel. A golf teacher would have a hard time picking apart too much about what he does in the golf swing, because it is just technically beautiful to watch. The swing looks simple, compact, efficient, and powerful, all at the same time. Any golfer would do well to watch the motion that Billy Horschel makes in his golf swing and work on copying it to the best of their ability.
Not a Bad Employer, Either
Working as a caddie on the PGA Tour has its perks, especially when your player wins the FedEx Cup and the $10 Million prize that goes with it. Horschel rewarded his caddy in kind for the help he provided on the way to the title by sending $1 Million his way after the win. There aren’t any kind of specific records for caddy payments, but this has to be one of the largest paydays for a caddie in golf history. In just a short time on Tour, Billy Horschel has come to be one of the more popular players, and it is actions like this that only go to further his good reputation.
Billy Horschel made about as much noise as you can make in golf in 2014 without actuallywinning a major. However, with the game he possesses and the incredibly solid golf swing that he has honed over the years, it won’t be any surprise at all to see him threaten the winner’s circle in the biggest events of 2015 and beyond.