LAKE FOREST, Ill. – This is just about the time that Billy Horschel went on his $10 million tear.
A year ago, he was No. 82 in the standings after a missed cut at the playoff opener. Then he closed with a runner-up and back-to-back wins to capture the biggest prize in golf.
He’ll need a similar rally this year – just to make it back to East Lake.
After a steady but unspectacular season in which he posted only two top-10s in 27 starts, Horschel is No. 67 in the standings. According to PGA Tour projections, he likely needs a third-place finish to crack the top 30.
“I want to get there,” he said Wednesday after his pro-am round at the BMW Championship, “but at the same time, I’ve put myself in a predicament by not playing well and taking care of business. It is what it is. I either play well and go to East Lake, or I go home and start my offseason workout program.”
Horschel is just the latest FedEx Cup champion who experienced a market correction after cashing in his big bonus.
“I wouldn’t say that there’s been a letdown for me this year,” Horschel said. “I feel like I played pretty solid this year.”
Instead, Horschel attributed his current position to a series of slow starts in tournaments. To wit: His first-round scoring average (71.38) is ranked 147th on Tour.
“Which is so weird,” he said, “because my prep going into the tournament – whether at home or the week of the event – has been so good. I don’t know why I haven’t played better in the first round. Maybe I’ll figure it out this week. I’m going to go out there and freewheel it, and maybe that’s what I should have been doing the whole year.”