The Lead Horsch(el)
By Torleif Sorenson on 9/15/14
Billy Horschel missed the cut at The Barclays, the first of four "playoff" events in the 2014 PGA Tour season. However, he had played well enough to make the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston one week later. Horschel more than made up for his MC in Boston by finishing T-2. The very next Sunday at Cherry Hills outside Denver, he won the BMW Championship and was brimming with confidence — even to the point where he felt he could win the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta just one week later.
That he did yesterday afternoon, shooting 66-66-69-68 = 269 (-11) to not only win his second consecutive event, capture the FedEx Cup, and a bonus check for a cool $10 million. Horschel finished the championship first in GIR (57 of 72), tied for fifth in proximity to the hole (avg 32 inches), sixth in strokes gained in putting (0.815), tied for eieth in scrambling (10 of 15, 66%), and 12th in overall driving distance.
Confidence, indeed, can go a long way.
It is equally interesting to note that since the FedEx Cup playoffs began in 2007, no player who has won the cup entered the playoffs ranked lower than 19th. This time, Horschel began the playoffs ranked 69th in the points standings.
With a T-2, a win, and then another win in the last three weeks, Horschel clearly has the hot hand. But because the three wildcard selections for the U.S. Ryder Cup team were made five days before Horschel started his hot run, he was left off the team and, presumably, will watch the Ryder Cup from his home in the Jacksonville, Florida area — if he is not at the hospital with his wife, who is expected to deliver the couple's first child in roughly two weeks' time.
The Shot of the TournamentWithout question, this award must go to Rory McIlroy:
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