‘I Broke Down and I Cried’: Defending Champion Opens About His Rough Patch Ahead of His Title Defense

Published 06/01/2023, 2:36 PM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

In the world of golf, where champions are crowned and legacies are forged, there lies a defending champion preparing for his title defense. Behind the gleaming trophies and triumphant moments, there is a captivating tale of struggle and vulnerability that unveils the human side of a golfing legend.

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This defending champion, known for his past glories and remarkable skill on the course, now finds himself navigating a rough patch ahead of his highly anticipated title defense.

Navigating a rough patch on the road to defending the title

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Billy Horschel, the esteemed seven-time PGA Tour winner and defending champion of The Memorial Tournament, has opened up about the emotional rollercoaster he has experienced during a challenging season. While Horschel has managed to secure a few top-ten finishes since his remarkable victory at Muirfield Village, the past year has been filled with ups and downs for the American golfer, including disappointing performances and missed cuts.

In a heartfelt revelation, Horschel shared the breaking point he reached during two specific tournaments, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and RBC Heritage. Engaging in a spirited discussion with his statistical expert, Mark Horton, and caddie, Mark Fulcher, in the parking lot of Bay Hill, Horschel found himself overwhelmed by a surge of emotions.

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Reflecting on that pivotal moment, Horschel admitted, “As much as people have seen me get upset and a little angry on the golf course, on the flip side of that, I’m not very much an emotional guy that way. I’m not a sappy guy – not, I wouldn’t say sappy, not in a bad way – but I don’t cry very often. But I broke down, and I cried a little bit. I had tears.” This display of vulnerability was a departure from the fierce and combative side of Horschel that is often witnessed on the golf course.

Billy Horschel unveiling the human Side

The emotional turmoil continued to linger after a disappointing performance at Hilton Head. Battling mental exhaustion and stress, Horschel sought solace on the practice range, struggling to hold back tears as he grappled with the immense pressure of the beloved sport.

Nevertheless, Horschel’s profound love for golf ultimately guided him towards finding renewed perspective. He recognized the profound significance the game holds for him and his unwavering desire to witness the success of others. He expressed, “This game means everything to me… It’s during these challenging times when the struggle becomes even more poignant.”

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via Reuters

Despite the setbacks, Horschel remains resilient and determined to reclaim his winning form. Following missed cuts at Harbour Town and the PGA Championship, he displayed glimpses of a comeback at the Charles Schwab Challenge, finishing an admirable T40.

With his resounding victory at The Memorial Tournament in 2022 still fresh in his memory, Horschel approaches this week’s event as an opportunity to regain his stride and reaffirm his status among the golfing elite.

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Billy Horschel’s journey serves as a testament to the emotional rollercoaster often endured by athletes—a journey defined by both struggles and unwavering resilience. As Horschel prepares to tee off at The Memorial Tournament, the golfing world eagerly anticipates his triumphant return to the top of the leaderboard.

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Written by:

Sakshi Ghadoliya

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Sakshi is a golf author at EssentiallySports. Writing and golf are her two biggest passions, and making a career out of the two combined is a dream come true. Tiger Woods has been her gateway into the sport right from her childhood.
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Edited by:

Manaal Siddiqui

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