Billy Horschel uses London win as last-ditch attempt to make USA Ryder Cup team
It always feels as if Billy Horschel isn’t that far away from confrontation, such is his bullish demeanour. Indeed, he’s a tough guy who calls things how he sees them and it’s fair to say that it’s landed him in hot water at times. In reality, you could certainly say that his reputation does precede him these days. This is why once he had drained his birdie putt on the 18th green at Wentworth to win the BMW PGA Championship, you got a sense that his post-round interview was going to be lively, given that he had just been left out of the Ryder Cup team.
— Billy Horschel (@BillyHo_Golf) September 12, 2021
USA Ryder Cup team not low on quality
It should be said that the USA Ryder Cup team that has been selected doesn’t lack talent, which is why the Ryder Cup odds available at Betfair show them to be the outright favourites. In other words, with or without Horschel, they’re a formidable unit.
In fact, you get a better sense of that when you consider that the latest Ryder Cup betting tips predict that the Americans may not only beat the Europeans but steamroll them in emphatic fashion. So, with this in mind, you can perhaps understand why USA team captain Steve Stricker decided not to call Horschel up to the team.
As it turned out, Horschel would be magnanimous in victory and admitted that he hadn’t been good enough over the last 12 months to earn a spot on the team. In many ways, it was a gracious thing to say given that he had won the Dell Match Play Championship in March.
The 34-year-old did, however, say that despite not playing well enough, he was slightly put out by the fact that Stricker didn’t take the time to phone him and let him know his decision.
🗣 “I didn’t think the call was going to say I made the team, but I was a little gutted that I didn’t get a call to say, you didn’t make the team.”
— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) September 13, 2021
Ryder Cup snub not what upset Horschel
So it wasn’t the actual snub of not being selected that gave him the fire to win but, rather, the fact that he wasn’t informed personally. All things told, it was an incredibly impressive response from Horschel on the south-western fringes of London. Indeed, the irony of the location won’t be lost on anyone as the American used foreign soil to make a point to the captain.
With that said, all may not be lost for the Floridian with the news that Brooks Koepka may have to withdraw from the US team on account of a wrist injury. Should he do so, then you would imagine that Stricker would have to turn to the man of the moment, Horschel. There could be an argument made that Horschel’s post-round interview could have erased any credit that he had built up but, as a fellow professional himself, Stricker will understand where the 34-year-old was coming from. There would, of course, have been times in Stricker’s career that he too would have felt the anguish of being left out of a US Ryder Cup team.
If anything, the US captain probably admires that passion and, if channelled correctly, he’ll know full well that it could turn the USA into the most feared team in Ryder Cup history. We will have to wait and see if Billy Horschel’s London heroics were enough to earn him a Ryder Cup call-up at the eleventh hour.