An emotional release after a first-round 84 led to an outpouring of emotion. One football star had Billy Horschel’s back…
It was tough to watch. Everyone saw Bill Horschel’s tears as he broke down in an emotional Memorial Tournament press conference back in June.
The defending champion had just shot 84 – 12 over par – and it all proved a little too much for the avid West Ham fan.
“It’s a day,” he said. I’ve had plenty of these days this year – not this bad – but it’s just a day. We’ll get by it.”
It felt like the whole of golf was there to help him do just that, but it was one of Horschel’s beloved Hammers – club legend turned sporting director Mark Noble – who hit home hardest.
“You know, it was a lot of people that reached out to me. I mean, the one that comes to my head right now is my buddy Mark Noble,” said Horschel, whose bag is emblazoned with the club crest and colours.
“He’s a West Ham legend, he just retired last year from West Ham, really close friends.
“He actually texted me two days later. He said, ‘Hey, sorry I’m two days late, but I couldn’t write this text because I was so emotional writing it’.
“We are very much wired very similar in the way he played professionally and the way I am professionally and the way we handle things and care so much.
“He was like, ‘Listen, there’s a lot of times I would come home and I would cry because we were playing so bad or I’d be doing everything I can to get the team to play at a higher level and it wasn’t happening’.
“Just him sharing that with me, him telling me, which I knew already and I’m very well aware of, how great of a player I am and a person I am.
“Just those little things. Even though I may know that about myself, it never hurts to hear that from people that you love a lot.”
Two months on from that low point, Horschel now stands on the brink of a remarkable turnaround.
A Saturday 63 – a seven-under-round – has him tied with Lucas Glover for the lead at the Wyndham Championship, the last event of the PGA Tour regular season.
He knows that he needs to finish solo second or better to make the top 70 and get into the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Horschel’s third round feats at Sedgefield Country Club meant TV viewers saw plenty of his Memorial interview on repeat.
In it, he said he felt he “was close”. Now, he thinks it may have been a turning point.
“Listen, that interview, that moment, as I’ve talked about a while, it was sort of like a release,” he said..
“I don’t fully understand why it happened then and there, because I had shared some of that with my team and my family before leading up to that, but right then and there it just happened.
“From that moment I’ve been in a better head space, the game’s been going in the right direction since then. Listen, I’m not afraid to be open and share anything with the public, I think I’ve always been that way, I think people understand that about me. Yeah, it’s been a nice upward trend since that moment.”
Given that hugely candid moment, where it felt like viewers were staring into his soul, Horschel was also asked about men suppressing their emotions.
“I don’t think anyone should,” he added. “My wife, you know, with her addiction to alcohol and mental health issues, I think learning more about that side of it.
“I’ve tried to tell people, I said, ‘Hey, just share it with somebody’. It’s amazing how when you can just get it off your chest, you feel a little bit better about yourself that you’re sharing it with someone. And you never know what happens when you do share it with someone.
“They may be feeling the same thing you are and they can relate and people can work together work on issues that you may be having. I wish more people would be more open and more honest, but I know everyone’s not that way.
“But I think in society right now, or going down — I’m going down a road right now, but I think the more people can be more open about how they’re feeling and everything, I think everyone would be in a lot better spot in mental health and a whole bunch of other issues.”
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