Billy Horschel: Passionate, Colorful Zurich Classic Champion

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2013 Winner Visits New Orleans for Media Day

Billy Horschel holed a 27-foot putt at TPC Louisiana for his first win on the PGA Tour.

When the defending Zurich Classic champion was told at the tournament’s media day Monday that he had the best fist pump on the PGA Tour, his emotions from the moment were still fresh.

“I can’t tell you what that putt meant to me,” Horschel stressed. “It did remind me of Tiger Woods, but I was so caught up in the moment.”

Horschel had reason for the double fist pump seen around the world; it capped a performance hindered by two rain delays that were followed by a course record-tying round of 64. He made six birdies in a row in one stretch.

The Zurich Classic has a way of motivating their champions to reach greater heights. When Bubba Watson won the title, his next win was The Masters. Jason Dufner went on the win the PGA Championship the same year he triumphed here.

After winning the Zurich Classic, Horschel enjoyed a bounce. In the US Open at Merion, he was tied for the lead after 36 holes and finished fourth.

“Of course knowing how to win is huge. The Zurich Classic gave me that confidence.” The triumph also earned him his first visit to The Masters next month.

Without a doubt, 2013 was a special year for the 27-year old Horschel. He led the PGA Tour with eight top 10 finishes and finished 13th on the official money list at $3,501,703 by making 22 out of 26 cuts. He went on to finish 16th in the season-ending FedEx Cup.

Horschel’s journey included being a four time All-American at the University of Florida and a member of the winning 2007 Walker Cup Team. His professional career started with four trips to PGA Tour Qualifying School followed by wrist surgery in 2010.

Known for being a feisty passionate player, he was also selected as one of the Top 10 Most Colorful Players on the PGA Tour. Who could forget his octopus pants at the US Open?

Presently living in Jacksonville Beach, Florida with his wife Brittany who is expecting their first child in September, his sunshine state roots are the foundation of his growing family at home. The couple met when Brittany was also on the University of Florida Golf Team.

When asked what winning The Zurich Classic meant to him, Horschel exhibited a passion for more than just hitting a golf ball: “I am now able to financially help my parents and my brother; this means a lot to me.”

It is obvious that Horschel is a family man. He feels he has extended part of his family in the Crescent City now.

“New Orleans is like family to me. The people are so kind to me here,” explained Horschel. ” It would be special to defend my title in a city I love.”

As a PGA professional who has seen many young talents rise on the tour, I would not be surprised if he follows Watson and Dufner as Zurich winners to pick up a first major very soon. Now that would be colorful.

DEFENDING CHAMPION BILLY HORSCHEL LEADS A PACK

OF TOURNAMENT  WINNERS IN 2014 ZURICH CLASSIC OF NEW ORLEANS

Florida native broke through with first career win in 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA (March 24, 2014) — Billy Horschel, who won his first career PGA TOUR victory here last year, heads a large group of tournament winners from the past two years in the 2014 Zurich Classic of New Orleans, announced Steve Worthy, CEO of the Fore!Kids Foundation, producer of the tournament.

The Zurich Classic field currently includes 19 regular season winners from the last two years, along with Justin Rose, the defending U.S. Open champion and Ernie Els, 2012 British Open winner.

“Billy is one of the brightest young stars on the TOUR today,” said Worthy. “He will be joined by some of the TOUR’s new generation of winners like Rickie Fowler and former Tulane golfer Michael Thompson,” Worthy added.

Horschel enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2013, winning the Zurich Classic and making the cut in 22 out of 26 starts, with a career-best and TOUR-leading eight top-10 finishes. Three weeks before the Zurich Classic, he extended his PGA TOUR-leading consecutive cuts-made streak to 20 when he played the weekend at the Shell Houston Open en route to his career-best finish a tie for second.

A few weeks later at the Zurich Classic he told Zurich CEO Martin Senn on Wednesday of tournament week, “I’ll see you Sunday from the winner’s circle.” He scored six consecutive birdies in the final round (holes 7-12) en route to an 8-under 64 that led to the win. He sank a 26-foot, 8-inch putt for birdie on the 72nd hole, following two weather delays to claim his first career TOUR win.

Horschel was a three-time first team All-American at University of Florida in 2006, 2007 and 2009 and a second team All-American in 2008.

Other recent tournament winners who have committed to play this year’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans include:

  • Woody Austin (2013 Sanderson Farms Championship)
  • Charlie Beljan (2012 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.)
  • Jonas Blixt (2013 The Greenbrier Classic.)
  • Ken Duke (2013 Travelers Championship)
  • Rickie Fowler  (2012 Wells Fargo Championship)
  • Tommy Gainey (2012 The McGladrey Classic)
  • Chesson Hadley ((2014 Puerto Rico Open)
  • J.J. Henry (2012 Reno-Tahoe Open)
  • Chris Kirk (2014 The McGladrey Classic)
  • Martin Laird (2013 Valero Texas Open)
  • George McNeill (2012 Puerto Rico Open)
  • Carl Petterson (2012 RBC Heritage)
  • D.A. Points (2013 Shell Houston Open)
  • Ted Potter, Jr. (2012 The Greenbrier Classic)
  • Kevin Stadler (2014 Waste Management Phoenix Open)
  • Kyle Stanley (2012 Waste Management Open)
  • Johnson Wagner (2012 Sony Open in Hawaii)
  • Boo Weekley (2013 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial)
  • Mark Wilson (2012 Humana Challenge)

“Our field is extremely deep again this year,” said Worthy. “The top players are attracted by our large purse, a great title sponsor and all the attractions New Orleans has to offer. These guys—and their wives—love the food, the atmosphere and our tournament,” Worthy said.

About Fore!Kids Foundation:

Since 1958, the Fore!Kids Foundation has raised money to fund children’s service organizations through golf events like the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the Golf Ball Gala, an AJGA event, a kids’ summer junior tour, and several charitable golf tournaments. As a 501(c)(3) corporation, Fore!Kids has helped to raise more than $26 million to date for children’s charities in metro New Orleans and Baton Rouge. More information at www.zurichgolfclassic.com.

About the Zurich Classic of New Orleans:

Televised in more than 116 countries, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans generates a significant economic impact on the city of New Orleans and the entire state of Louisiana. Independent research has shown that the tournament generates spending of more than $30 million within the local economy and garners $17 million in positive national and international media exposure for both the city and state throughout the year beyond the four days of competition.

Purse for 2014 totals $6.8 million. The winner’s share is $1,224,000.

Single-day grounds tickets are only $25 each and weekly passes are $75, available by calling the Tournament Office at 504-342-3000 or online at www.zurichgolfclassic.com.

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