Horschel and Ernst both missed the cut in their PLAYERS debut. (Getty Imgaes)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Editor’s note: Billy Horschel and Derek Ernst won each of the last two weeks on the PGA TOUR and are playing in their first PLAYERS Championship this week. They will file a daily diary for PGATOUR.COM, documenting their week on and off the course beginning Tuesday.
Billy Horschel: It sucks that I missed the cut. I can go back and look at my holes and the mistakes I made were just simple mistakes. I didn't make enough birdies to offset them like I have in the past.
I felt more prepared for golf today than I had the whole week. But I felt I needed another four or five hours of practice to feel like I put the work in I needed to. When you win, everything changes a little bit. There’s more media requests, more obligations. I've got to learn how to deal with that better so I can prepare better because I didn't feel prepared teeing it up on Thursday and on Friday I shot 71 and missed the cut by three.
On 18, I hit a bad tee shot and it went in the water. It's disappointing. I never hit in the water there when I play the course. There's just no bailout room on that hole.
I knew what the cut was when I made the turn. I knew what I needed to. I knew I needed to make birdies and what the number was going to be. I was trying to get to the number and move on to get myself in a better position for the weekend. Like I said, unfortunately, I just hit a bad, bad tee shot on 18.
The next two days being home and this tournament is going on and me not being in it is the worst thing about this week. That's what's going to piss me off a little bit that I'm not playing the weekend when I should be playing the weekend. It's just added motivation. I've got to understand the time restraints change a little bit. I just can't go to a tournament and do my own thing anymore. There are things I'm going to have to be obligated to do, which I'm more than willing to take care of. I just have to learn how to work that around what I need to do to feel ready for a tournament.
But Ernie Els said to me you would have taken that win and missed the cut this week, wouldn't you? And I said, yeah, that's a good way to put it. The cut streak means nothing. You don't get a gold star at the end of the day or a gold medal or a million dollars for having the longest cut streak. It doesn't mean diddly‑squat. So we'll just be ready to go in two weeks at Memorial.
Derek Ernst: It was a long week. After winning last week, I didn’t even play here on Monday and on Tuesday I played nine holes and was exhausted. Wednesday was another nine holes after about an hour-and-a-half of media, so I played basically one round and didn’t get used to the course. It was the least amount of preparation I’ve ever had going into a tournament. Considering how big this tournament is, it’s not the greatest feeling to have.
The thing about this course is you have to know where to leave the ball and not knowing the course well I might go for something then realize that was dumb and there’s no chance to get up and down. That happened a lot this week and I shot 81 Friday and missed the cut because of it.
This was kind of like a practice round for next year; that’s what I’m going to take from it. I’m just disappointed in how I played, but I also understand it was tough coming off last week because I put so much energy into that week.
The best part of this week was playing with Louis Oosthuizen and Angel Cabrera. Louis is the nicest guy and we got along really well. The worst part is not playing great and not being healthy. Those are the two biggest disappointments. But I’m going to go get healthy and make sure I’m ready for the U.S. Open qualifier I have Monday back at my home course in Las Vegas, TPC Summerlin.
It still hasn’t sunk in that I won at Quail Hollow, though. Maybe it will when I get back to Vegas tomorrow morning and I’m laying on my couch. The trophy might be there, too. They said they were going to send it to me so maybe then I’ll finally realize it and it will sink in.