Drive to Succeed

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//by Damon Noisette

Billy Horschel’s name wasn’t at the top of many oddsmakers’ lists going into last year’s PGA Tour FedEx Cup Playoffs. By the end of the four tournament stretch, the golf world saw the University of Florida alumnus rack up a second place finish at the Deutsche Bank Championship, win the BMW Championship, and outduel his  2007 Walker Cup rival Rory McIlroy on the way to winning the Tour Championship and claiming the FedEx Cup — along with $11.4 million in prize money. The 27-year-old Ponte Vedra resident just started his 2015 campaign not only as the 13th ranked golfer in the world, but as a first time father to two-month-old daughter,  Skylar, with his wife Brittany, whom he met while pursuing a degree in Sports Management in Gainesville.

How did you get your start on the UF golf team?

I had the smallest scholarship you can have, a book scholarship, $400 a semester. It was good enough to get me on the team and I was very thankful for it. I got upgraded over the years.

What drew you to Ponte Vedra as a place to live?

I’m originally from Grant, Florida, which is just south of Cocoa Beach. What I loved about Ponte Vedra is it still had that small town feel but had the city and the  Jacksonville Jaguars’ being here. It’s just the perfect location because I’m not a big fan of big cities and big traffic. My older brother lives in Charleston, South Carolina, and I’m only about three-and-a-half hours from him.

How did it feel to be out on the field at the Florida-LSU football game with the FedEx Cup?

To go out on the field and be recognized for something I’ve done outside of the Gator golf program, it’s just an awesome feeling to have. 90,000 people in there  cheering for you, I love it. I love my Gators to death. I wear my colors proudly.

What inspires you to make such bold fashion choices on the course, like the octopus pants you wore at the 2013 US Open and frog camo pants at the PGA Championship?

My sponsor, Ralph Lauren, has a great design team. I love the stuff they come up with and bring to me. It’s something unique, colorful, and it shows people I’m not afraid to show my personality. People should be proud to wear something different and be unique.

What do you do for fun off the course?

I grew up on the water but I’m sort of tired of fishing. I’d rather snowboard.

How does being a new father go with the travel demands of a professional golfer?

It’s tough. I’ve played three events already and it’s tough leaving, especially when I was over in Asia for two weeks, missing Brittany and Skylar. They’re going to start traveling with me once the year starts up. I know I’m going to miss some things and unfortunately that’s the way my job is. It’s the way I have to provide for my family and I’m happy I can provide that way because it’s a great living and a great life.