Horschel! Billy made par save after par save and held off a charging Gerry Watson for his second career PGA Tour victory one week after a chunked 6-iron on the 18th hole cost him a chance to beat Chris Kirk in Boston.
1) Horschel’s Saturday 63 gave him a three shot lead heading into the final round, and that proved to be enough, as Sergio and Ryan Palmer folded like lawn chairs on the back nine with a bizarre series of layups, airmails, bladed chips, and shanks. We’ve been tooting the Horschel horn since the beginning of time. He’s got so much game, it was really only a matter of time before he broke through. We wrote this not exactly bold prediction before the WGC Cadillac Championship:
“Just assume he’s going to be in our picks on an ongoing basis, even if his form has been a touch off recently.He’s gonna win once in his next 20 events, believe in the value now?”
Room to spare! This is the 17th event since that was written. Horschel proved that when his putter is on, he can compete with anyone on tour. We’re legitimately proud of you, Billy. And needless to say, beyond pumped.
2) It was inevitable that the Ryder Cup talk was going to be revisited. Here’s what Billy had to say in his press conference:
“I’m sure Tom Watson isn’t kicking himself for not picking me. I’m sure he wants to kick me for not playing well sooner.”
The focus now should not be on why Billy didn’t get a captain’s pick. It should be, why did they have to decide the captain’s picks 24 days before the event started? I wrote last week about how recency bias seemed to lead the “Chris Kirk ’14” Ryder Cup campaign. Kirk followed up his win by finishing 15 shots back of Horschel this week, and SHOCKINGLY I haven’t heard any of those people say anything about Kirk this week. One hot week does not mean you are trending, and it certainly doesn’t mean you’re going to play well in Scotland.
What I do see now is people reacting like it’s completely ridiculous that Watson left Horschel off the team. While I think Horschel fits the profile of a Ryder Cup player perfectly, can you blame Watson for not picking him based only last week’s tournament? That was just his second top-10 since the Hyundai, and the last shot he hit was a chunk under extreme pressure that went in the hazard. Billy’s quote above sums it up perfectly. He didn’t play well enough in time to get selected. Hell, a few weeks ago, he was tweeting at us with his on Ryder Cup opinions:
@NoLayingUp…. I'll take Sneds everyday that ends in Y. You can have Todd.
— Billy Horschel (@BillyHo_Golf) August 25, 2014
All that being said, a T2 followed with a win is a trend. And after ranting about recency bias and how current form means very little, do you think I want Horschel on the Ryder Cup team?
And I would have said the same thing about Kirk if he followed up his win with a top-5 or top-10 performance. A trend is a lot more telling to me than one good week. Mahan getting a top-10 at the PGA, then winning the Barclays? That’s a trend. So that brings me back to the question above. Why are the teams decided so far in advance? Why can’t we wait until the FedEx Cup cash grab is over? So much can change in a week, much less three weeks. If picks are made today, I would guess that Horschel would have gotten a pick over Simpson. And I’d be feeling a lot better about our chances.
3) As exciting as Horschel’s win was, Sergio’s lay up on 17 and subsequent collapse was a complete disaster. From 253 out (at altitude it likely plays closer to 220, or less), he laid up to 83 yards, airmailed the green, and then bladed a chip in the water. He made 8, and fell to a T4 finish. To make matters worse, he was two back of Horschel at the time. Sergio, you’ve made over $50,000,000 in your career on the course alone. Are you really playing for 2nd place? We spend more time defending you than most, so don’t let us down like that. No laying up, bro.
4) Rory ended the regular season with three consecutive wins. Two of them were majors. The other was a WGC. That launched him to first place in the FedEx Cup standings. He’s followed that in the playoffs with top-25’s in all three events, and top-10’s in two of them. His reward. He’s dropped to 4th in the FedEx Cup Standings. He’s played the three playoff events 8 shots lower than Chris Kirk, yet Kirk passed him and sits in first. Playoffs!
5) When Rory was not busy four putting the 12th hole (twice), he was caught mocking ex-fiance Caroline Wozniacki’s incident from earlier this week where she got her racket stuck in her hair. You’re still checking in on her matches, man? This was kind of childish (via Adam Sarson):
Shot Tracker of the Week
Morgan Hoffman came into the playoffs in 124th position, and has balled out like a guy who’s got nothing to lose. He shot 62 (course record) on Saturday, and followed it with a 63 to make it to the Tour Championship, and into the Masters next year. Bad ass.
Oil Spill of the Week (Brought to you by BP)
As noted above, Sergio’s oil spill was two-fold. First, the layup from 253.
Then the meltdown that followed. How many acute angles can you count?
- The Tour Championship at East Lake outside of Atlanta. NLU will have boots on the ground with Tron Carter!
(Top photo courtesy of Getty Images)