The biggest cheque in professional golf has just been won by the unheralded Billy Horschel.
In just one day on the golf course, Billy Horschel has doubled his career earnings. By holding off Rory McIlroy and the fast finishing Jim Furyk, Horschel netted himself over US$11 million.
Golfers are awarded points depending on where they finish in the regular PGA Tour events. The top-120 ranked 120 golfers earn themselves a spot in the first of four FedEx Cup playoff tournaments. By the fourth and final tournament comes around, the TOUR Championshipfield has been culled to 30 with not just the US$1.44 million first prize on offer by also a bonus $10 million for winning the FedEx Cup.
Horschel was ranked 60th going into this year’s playoff events but would now be ranked as the hottest golfer on the planet. He also won last week’s BMW Championship which giving him a decent shot at winning golf’s most lucrative prize and his final round 2-under 68 was his 12th successive round in the 60s.
Entering the final round, Horschel held a two shot lead on veteran American Jim Furyk – himself a winner of the FedEx Cup in 2010. After holding sway for much of the opening nine, Fuyrk eventually tied Horschel for the lead at the 15th hole and most golf pundits wondered if the relatively unheralded 27-year-old would be good enough to win.
Horschel’s superb birdie at the 15th, followed by a clutch par-saving putt at the 16th proved good enough. When Furyk stumbled in his search for birdies over the closing holes, Horschel could par the last two holes for a momentous three stroke victory.
Jason Day was Australia’s best for the week finishing in a tie for fourth place just four shots behind Horschel.
So who is Billy Horschel?
If you follow the PGA Tour closely, Horschel will not be a complete unknown to you – but for the rest of the greater sporting world, many would not have heard of him.
In relative terms, Horschel has appeared to have come from nowhere. He lost his PGA Tour card in 2012 but got it straight back thanks to a fourth place finish at the qualifying tournament and from then on it all seemed to click on the PGA Tour.
According to Billy Horschel’s PGA Tour profile, he “read all four Twilight books in two weeks and is a believer in Bigfoot and UFOs.”
He notched his first victory at the Zurich Classic in 2013 and finished the year with some good results – most notably his 7th place finish at the TOUR Championship. Perhaps we should have seen this coming?
Horschel’s results at the majors have been average which may explain his anonymity on the international stage. He finished top-5 at the 2013 US Open but otherwise hasn’t troubled the scorers on a Sunday. Yet.
So we will see him at the Ryuder Cup right?
The US Team captain made his choices to round out his 12-man team a couple of weeks ago and Horschel wasn’t named as one of them. Watson picked Hunter Mahan, Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson to join his team. He’s was criticsed for overlooking Billy Horschel and Chris Kirk. After both players have had an impressive month of golf, the criticism is getting louder by the minute. It’s probably deafening today.
Previous FedEx Cup winners
2013 Henrik Stenson
2012 Brandt Snedeker
2011 Bill Haas
2010 Jim Furyk
2009 Tiger Woods
2008 Vijay Singh
2007 Tiger Woods