December 10 2013
With the PGA TOUR set to resume its 2013-14 season the first week of January, PGATOUR.COM is previewing the top 30 players to watch heading into the new year. We'll count down one a day in December until we unveil our No. 1 player to watch on Dec. 30, the Monday of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Check out this preview of No. 21 Billy Horschel and join the discussion below on how you think he'll perform in 2014. Click here for more on the top 30 players to watch for 2014.
NO. 21 PLAYER TO WATCH: BILLY HORSCHEL
2014 OUTLOOK: To call last year a career one for Billy Horschel would be more than an understatement. He won for the first time, added second-, third- and fourth-place finishes (the latter coming at the U.S. Open), was sixth in FedExCup points and raked in more than $3.5 million in earnings. All this after having to earn his TOUR card via q-school in December of 2012. So what will he do for an encore? Horschel admittedly burned himself out in 2013 but can now afford to be more selective when it comes to his schedule. He also had a better handle on his emotions and that -- along with improved wedge play -- led to more consistency from week to week. Horschel is fulfilling the promise he showed as one of the top players in the country when he came out of the University of Florida a few years ago. -- Brian Wacker
THUS FAR THIS SEASON: Horschel missed the cut at the Frys.com Open but bounced back with a T11 two weeks later at the CIMB Classic. He also tied for 34th at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions.
Disappointing second half of his season was more surprising than the run toward his breakthrough victory in New Orleans, but he salvaged it with a sprint to East Lake to set up a carte blanche schedule. Questions about consistency are warranted as is doubt over whether he'll replicate 26 starts. -- Rob Bolton
|ON THE MARK
For better and for worse, the word passion best describes Horschel. A possessor of a solid and fundamentally sound golf swing, Horschel does tend to run hot and this temperamental and passionate nature can have both a positive and a negative effect on his play. He is however supremely confident and this lends itself to a convicted and aggressive style of play. -- Mark Immelman
Billy put himself in contention so many times in 2013 that the law of averages dictated he would eventually win. And he did. There might not be a more confident or emotional player on the PGA TOUR. He was a three-time All-American at the University of Florida, and while I have not seen the redesign at Doral, I am guessing it’s going to be windy that week. Playing in his home state will charge Horschel emotionally, while the putting surfaces provide a comfort level with local knowledge. -- Fred Albers
|INSIDE THE NUMBERS
The biggest reason for Horschel’s breakout season was putting. In his third season on TOUR, Horschel jumped from 113th in 2011 and 2012 to 28th in ’13 in strokes gained-putting. After losing shots to the field on the greens in his first two seasons, Horschel gained .371 strokes in 2013. Ranked 3rd in putts made from 10 to 15 feet with 88 converted in 229 attempts. -- Bill Cooney