Tearful Billy Horschel Reacts After 84 At Memorial Tournament

Defending champion Billy Horschel was at a loss for words after opening up at Muirfield Village with his worst round of the year

Billy Horschel
Horschel didn't manage a single birdie
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A year ago Billy Horschel won the Memorial Tournament by four shots and golf will never have felt more straightforward. There would be a Presidents Cup debut later in the year but this year has been a real struggle. In his pre-tournament press conference he talked about there being two lows but his opening round was far beyond what has happened this season.

The seven-time PGA Tour winner, he also secured the PGA at Wentworth in 2021, opened up with a 12-over 84 at Muirfield Village which featured no birdies, six bogeys and three doubles. There was even a double-hit in there which would have counted as two shots before the new rules were introduced in 2019. 

The 36-year-old was visibly emotional as he described what had just gone on in his post-round chat with the media but, all credit to him, he fronted up and gave us all an insight into what pro golf is like when things aren't going anywhere near as planned.

"It's tough right now. I'm working really hard, trying to do the right things, and the team's doing everything really well. It sucked. Sort of thought I didn't hit it very good in the pro-am and even after the round it wasn't bad. I mean, on video it looks good. Technically it's not that far off," Horschel explained.

"But I'm not able to hit the cut the way I want. I can't get the ball to start left the way I want. So then when it comes down to having to be more precise on a course like this, it's tough. I'll keep working. As much as I would love to throw in the towel and not come out (on Friday), that's just not in me. I'm just not one of those players.

"There's plenty of those guys out here on Tour that would make an excuse about being injured and everything. But I'll show up and I'll go out there and give it my all like I always do and try and find something, try and play well, and move on. I mean, it's a day and I've had plenty of these days this year. Not this bad, but it's just a day. We'll get by it."

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Horschel's group, which included Patrick Cantlay and Hideki Matsuyama, were put on the clock on the 13th and then there was the double-hit on 14, which still resulted in a double-bogey, before Horschel limped home with another pair of bogeys.

"I'm making a big number on every single hole it seems like. I'm struggling every hole. I was taking a lot of extra shots than what we normally would do. So, yeah, my confidence is the lowest it's been in my entire career. I think ever in my entire golf career.

"It's funny, as low as it feels, it feels like I'm not that far off at the same time. Which is insane to see when you see me shoot 84. It wouldn't make sense to a lot of people. But I don't think I'm that far off. I just need, I need the swing to be a little bit better, I need to do a few more things a little bit better. I just need to see a few more quality golf shots and that's just what I haven't had.

"And it's tough when you come to a course like this and you need to be precise tee to green and I'm not really precise right now from tee to green. Around the greens I put myself in awful positions trying to get up and down. And my putting's tried to bail me out as much as it can. It's a challenge out there, there's no doubt about it. But like I said, I'll keep plugging away and I'll keep pushing forward and I'll keep grinding hard I'll keep working hard and hopefully it (expletive) comes around soon. Sorry."

Needless to say the reaction on social media was one of support and Eddie Pepperell was quick to get behind Horschel as the American looks to discover his game.

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Mark Townsend
Contributing editor

Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on skysports.com. He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.