FedEx Cup - Billy Horschel Wins BMW Championship
Posted at September 8, 2014
Billy Horschel has launched himself into FedEx Cup contention with a glorious win at the BMW Championship, wearing RLX by Ralph Lauren!
Billy Horschel came so near and yet so far seven days ago at the Deutsche Bank Championship, with one notably poor shot effectively ousting any chances of catching eventual winner Chris Kirk. Lesson learnt, memory forgotten it would seem, as the RLX tour ambassador bounced straight back to win the BMW Championship with a solid final round of 71 to rocket himself up the FedEx Cup rankings. Second place by a mere 9 points means that Billy is well in with a chance of stealing the $10 million dollar prize from the grasp of Chris Kirk at the Coca Cola Tour Championship next week, but there's plenty of others also gunning for that accolade.
McIlroy, Watson, Mahan - a truly formidable trio which would strike fear into any pro to have them in your rear view mirrors, but not for Billy Horschel. Confidence is at an all-time high after a relatively comfortable two stroke victory and Horschel sees every reason to believe in himself and his impressive game for next week's final stop at East Lake, Atlanta. His recent successes have gone a long way to sticking it to the critics, as Billy would say, and simply nothing would taste sweeter than a Tour Championship/FedEx Cup double. The biggest cheque in golf would certainly help with that, too.
One man who won't be getting his hands on the Tour Championship once more is Henrik Stenson, however. The defending champion has been de-throned even before a ball has been struck, having failed to qualify in the top 30 of the FedEx rankings. Fatigue is a key factor, here, and there is no way of denying that. Henrik hasn't lost his game, T4 and T3 major finishes in 2014 prove that, but the way that the PGA Tour season plays out over many gruelling months has a huge effect on the players. Scheduling is vitally important in the modern game at the moment; "If you want to perform at the very highest level, at your peak, you’ve got to get the rest and practice in. You can’t play every week." explained Stenson. The fact that he expressed relief at missing the Tour Championship next week speaks volumes, too.
Morgan Hoffmann, above, had no such troubles in qualifying for the Tour Championship - posting rounds of 62/63 at the weekend to finish 3rd.
Even the man of the moment, Rory McIlroy, is prone to fatigue. Indisputably the best golfer on the planet based on current form, McIlroy threw away any hopes of BMW Championship success with two inexcusable four putts at the same 12th hole on Saturday and then again on Sunday - birdie chances horribly turning into woeful double bogeys within a minute. A slight lapse in concentration and the world number one's round is over. It's not fun to watch, and Rory is under no illusions about the PGA Tour's scheduling, either. On Thursday past he inadvertently criticised the sheer volume of events on the calendar in praising the success of the NFL's structure - "It’s always in demand. People want it. Once the Super Bowl finishes, they can’t wait for football season to start up again.”
It's worth noting, too, that Billy Horschel has only played in five tournaments since mid-July. Physically fresher than anyone with the momentum, the form and the excessive confidence means that the 27 year-old in a seriously strong position to win the Coca Cola Tour Championship, and Billy knows it: "I'm probably going to play very well and I will have a chance to win on Sunday", he grinned.