A gym rat whose biceps strain the sleeves of his slim-fit polos, Horschel is always looking for a new challenge. Two years ago Brittany, an ace skier, got him on the slopes. He chose to snowboard and can already shred a mountain. "Billy's one of those irritating guys who picks up things really fast," she sighs.
Together they are learning to navigate the new demands of his upwardly mobile career. The week of the Players they moved into a new house two miles from Sawgrass. (Always careful with his money, Horschel describes the place as "nice and affordable.") Horschel was distracted most of the week getting settled in the house, entertaining family and friends, and obliging every media request. When the tournament began he was once again trying too hard, and he missed his first cut in 23 starts.
"I took a lot from that week," he says now. "I'm learning how to say no. And now I have a better understanding that when I go to these big events, it's easy to get anxious and excited. I just need to slow down and stick to my routines and keep doing what I've been doing."
Horschel hopes to apply these lessons at Merion, which he fell in love with while competing in the 2005 U.S. Amateur. It's a big ask for him to contend in his first major championship as a pro, but Horschel says, "I'm not going there for the experience. I'm going there to win. I'm playing well, and I think the golf course is perfect for me."
If Horschel thinks he's ready, it would be wise to believe him—after all these years the guy has become a quick study