Q. Billy, how tough was it out there?
BILLY HORSCHEL: You know, it's not easy. It's like another U.S. Open. Off the fairways, the rough is thick. Tough to hit the ball on the green. Fortunately, the greens are soft. So they're really receptive. It's still a tough golf course. Got to drive the ball really well here, give yourself opportunities.
I did a good job on the first nine holes on the front side. On the back side, got a little offline, struggled a little bit. All in all, it was a good day.
Q. Speaking of opportunities, you had a chance at the U.S. Open. How important is it to you to take a break last week to reenergize after that?
BILLY HORSCHEL: I didn't realize how tired I am after that tournament. I don't realize how tired I am after any tournament until I go home. The first two days I'm home, I don't do anything. I sleep a lot. I catch up on my shows. But when I'm home, I don't have the adrenaline rush going on. I'm relaxed, and I'm just tired.
But take that week off after the U.S. Open, it's sort of a must for me.
Q. The path of your putter seems to have paid off a little bit for you.
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, it has. I putted really well today. I made a couple of good spots, one on No. 10, got it jumpstarted with that 40, 50‑footer, whatever it was. I putted really well.
I played well on the back side, the first nine holes. Unfortunately, I hit a couple of little wayward tee shots on the front. Feels good. Just need to go work on the swing a little bit. I know what I'm doing wrong. But I'm pleased with the day.
Q. You referred to the putt, so let's talk about it. Par 3 10th. We have it at 51 feet.
BILLY HORSCHEL: I think that's the longest putt I made this year. It was up the hill a little bit. The good thing was that, once I got over the hill, it sort of ran away towards the hole. So I didn't have to hit it too hard. Just let it feed on in there. Looked good. Obviously, it went in.
Q. This is a U.S. Open type golf course. It obviously hosted the National Championship. It's playing like the U.S. Open.
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, you can't miss these fairways out here. The rough is long, quick. You get a good lie and do something with it. You've got to drive your ball well around here. I think the guys that play well here year in and year out are the guys that are in the fairway and can control the balls going into these greens.
Q. You hear something?
BILLY HORSCHEL: I hear it every day now. It's a cool thing. It really is.
Q. Congratulations. Good play.
BILLY HORSCHEL: Thank you.
Q. The way you play on difficult golf courses, it doesn't seem to intimidate you in any way.
BILLY HORSCHEL: I just think I'm a good ball striker. So I know I'm always going to at least be able to control my golf shots from the tee into the green. I think the courses that reward ball striking and thinking, I'm always going to play well.
This year, I've worked hard on my short game and my putting, and it pays off. When I do miss one offline, I can get it up and down on a regular basis. The tougher the golf course, the better I like it. I don't like easy ones. I think you should be penalized if you hit a bad shot. Today I did.
Q. Rickie talked about it being like a U.S. Open. Is it that hard?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Oh, yeah, look at the scores. You don't usually see first round scores on a PGA TOUR event only be 3 under leading after the morning wave. It shows you how tough this golf course is, shows you how long the rough is. I guess the only saving grace is the greens are a little receptive. So they're not too firm. But it still doesn't make these greens any easier.
Q. How is your putting today?
BILLY HORSCHEL: It was nice. I missed a couple makable ‑‑ I left two putts on the lip for birdies. I made a couple of par putts. That was huge to keep the momentum going, especially the one on 4 after I bogeyed 3. Didn't want to bogey two holes in a row. So to make that one was really sort of stopped the bleeding a little bit. Got me back in the right mind frame.
Putting is always a big key. Helps you save shots, and you pick up shots too.
Q. When you play as well as you played at the U.S. Open, how does that confidence carry over to a course like this? You feel like you can overcome anything really?
BILLY HORSCHEL: I've always felt like ‑‑ like I said, the tougher the golf course, the better I play. This course just fits my eye off the tee. Knowing that it's not going to be a low number, you don't have to make a ton of putts. You just got to stay patient. Put the ball on the fairway. Take advantage if you get a pin that's a green‑like pin.
Those U.S. Opens usually, and I won earlier at Zurich this year, which was a big confidence boost. My first major as a pro, I finished fourth with a really good field and had a chance to win going into the weekend, you can only build confidence in that.
Q. Can you talk about that 3rd hole there. You were proud how you played on that hole.
BILLY HORSCHEL: The 4th hole, yeah. 3rd hole I bogeyed. Missed a 6, 7‑footer. Then I hit a bad drive on No. 4, hit a really good recovery shot. Hit a decent chip, just needed to be a foot harder. Had like a 6, 7‑footer down the hill, sliding left to right. That's the easiest putt for a right‑hander to make. I put a good stroke on it. I committed to it, and it went in the hole, thank God.
Q. Without Tiger being here, is there a different feeling at this tournament? Does it change anything for the players at all?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Not for me. Tiger is Tiger. He's just another guy. He does have ‑‑ he's just another player out here. For me, thinking about someone, how great he is is just a distraction for me.
But it is a disappointment that he's not playing out here because, obviously, it is his event. The crowds love him to death, and he does spice up the event a little bit.