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Billy Horschel comes into the 2022 BMW PGA Championship as defending champion. The American already has seven tournament wins on the PGA TOUR to his name, and has also won the end-of-season rankings in 2014, the FedExCup, and two events on the DP World Tour. The 35-year-old has also triumphed at two of the three professional BMW tournaments (BMW Championship 2014, BMW PGA Championship 2021). In an interview with the BMW Group, Horschel discusses his special relationship with the BMW PGA Championship, the unique fans at Wentworth, and his golfing goals.
Billy, welcome to the BMW PGA Championship. How are you going into the week?
Billy Horschel: “I feel good. It's always nice to come back to Wentworth, especially after this win. You reminisce about some of the shots and remember what the crowd noise was like. I feel like I am in pretty good shape. The last month of the season on the PGA Tour, I didn't play bad, just a little bit off. I've done some really good work at home last week and I feel pretty solid.”
Is there something in particular that you are looking forward to this week?
Horschel: “I've said it since I was here in 2019: the fans. I mean, I love the golf course. I felt I knew it when I first played it – before I came over, I had fallen in love with the golf course I’d just seen on TV. And it lived up to everything that I saw. But the support I got in 2019, I could never imagine. And then last year that went to another level. The fans love supporting this event, whether it's the Pro-Am or any of the four rounds. Tickets are completely sold out, which is awesome news.”
What do you think makes this tournament so attractive for so many great players?
Horschel. “Outside the majors and the Players’, this is the next biggest event I think we've got anywhere in the world of golf as an individual tournament. You look at the history. You look at whose names are on this trophy, the legends of the game of golf, Hall of Famers. It's truly a special tournament. Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Matt Fitzpatrick, you've got a lot of top players here this year. I think this event deserves the support from the players because the fans, they really give this event a lot of meaning. BMW does an unbelievable job of putting on events all around the world, and this being their biggest key event around the world means a lot. And it's a major on the DP World Tour. This is their flagship event. The BMW PGA Championship deserves a top class field year in, year out.”
The BMW PGA Championship is also considered to be the festival of golf. Do you agree?
Horschel. “I do. The fans come out, there are food trucks all over the course. People are enjoying the food and drinks and then afterwards they have live concerts, that's really cool. That's another added perk for the fans and even the players. Some of the players do check out the live acts. One event that it sort of resembles is the Phoenix Open. There's always a concert starting Wednesday night. And so players go over there, the fans go over there. It really adds value to the tournament.”
This is your third BMW tournament of the year – you've been in Munich for the BMW International Open and in Wilmington for the BMW Championship. Are you going to be a regular at BMW events in the future?
Horschel: “The BMW Group does an unbelievable job of putting on events around the world. It was my first time in Munich this year, and you are always curious how the event is going to be run. But knowing BMW, you knew it was going to be done first class. And I was impressed with everything about the event. They take care of the players, but they also take care of the caddies, the friends and families that come along. They take care of the fans. So it makes it a really enjoyable week for everyone involved. And with the success I've had at BMW events, I'm not going to turn my back on that. So there will be more of me at BMW events in the future.”
And you still have to go for the triple…
Horschel: “I didn't accomplish it. So I'm excited to get back to Munich and hopefully accomplish that triple crown of winning all the BMW events.”
You have won many great titles, including the FedExCup. What else is still on your bucket list?
Horschel: “The biggest thing right now for me is winning a major. I won a lot of big tournaments and checked a lot of boxes. But the one big box that keeps expanding year after year, because I haven't done it yet, is winning a major. That's one that I want to be able to sort of hang my hat on, saying I was a major champion.”
Do you drive yourself in the UK?
Horschel: “It's not that hard. I think I did it at the Scottish Open. We had BMW cars that week and I was like ‘I'm going to drive’, and I got the hang of it really easily. I mean, I enjoy it. I like having the freedom to drive wherever I want to go. The first couple of times, I had to make sure I got in on the right side of the car and not the left side. But once you get in and once you understand that, when you arrive at an intersection, cars are going to arrive at you quicker on the right hand side than they're going to hit you on the left hand side. And I tell people, you’ve got to remember the steering wheel has to be in the middle of the road. Once you understand that, it's pretty simple.”