Billy Horschel Friday (Second Round)
Q. What sounds good is 67?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, 66 sounded better, but I three‑putted No. 13.
Q. You'll take the round?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, I'll take the round. It was a good day. Obviously it was a long day in 29 holes.
But as I was telling people earlier in the week, I knew the weather was going to be bad Thursday, that there may be delays, I may not finish my round on Thursday, but I liked it better where I could play one round and go right into the next round, instead of playing Thursday and all the delays and wait all day today and get nine holes in.
I feel better when I play more and more holes. I feel more comfortable and get better rhythm.
Q. Birdies aren't going to be abundant out there, the way this course was playing. You managed to get four of them. How do you feel about that?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, I think some of the pins you can take on, and there are some pins if you do take on and you miss, you miss badly. You pay the price for it.
I was pretty happy if I hit 20, 25 feet, if I made the putt I was happy with it. And there's some other pins you can go more aggressive with and get a little closer.
But it was a great day. Four birdies at a U.S. Open, I'll take it. I wish I had a couple more, though.
Q. You were talking about the patience that you require and how it's worked for you here. What's that process been like over the last six months?
BILLY HORSCHEL: I've acquired some patience, not as much as I wish I had. But I just think that the older I get, the more mature I get on the golf course, the more understanding that if I do have a bad stretch of holes, I don't ‑‑ it's not that I don't hit the panic button, I just don't press right away. You're going to have a couple of bad holes, but if you get in a flow you can sort of get something going.
But the patience is something that has always been a struggle for me. I'm doing a really good job of it this week, staying patient and just taking what's in front of me. I'm trying to keep a smile on my face and be happy with anything I do. If I can execute every shot, that's all I can try to do out there this week.
Q. Does that come from within or do you have coaches helping you?
BILLY HORSCHEL: I worked with sport psychologist Fran Pirozzolo; he's been great. I've been working with him for a year now. It's tough because I can't say what we've worked on because it's analogous in my brain, I can't think of it. But we just talked about committing to every shot, execution. And I think it's just ‑‑ like I said, I think patience has come from the older I get, the more I can understand that I don't have to get off to a hot start. If I do, if I'm a couple over after a few holes, then that's fine.
I was 2‑over after 7 holes yesterday, after I finished, and I walked off the golf course and I wasn't upset at all. I played well, I executed a lot of golf shots, just nothing went in the hole.
So like I said, I don't have the most patience as a lot of guys out here, but I've grown week in and week out.
Q. How does the brain feel about going into a major championship up near the top of the leaderboard?
BILLY HORSCHEL: It's another tournament. I know it's a big event. I know it's a historical event. But one thing that me and Fran have worked on is limiting the distractions. I get distracted too easily out there on the golf course and off the golf course. So it's more or less just focus on what I do, don't worry about anybody else. Don't worry about the crowd noise. Don't worry about what your playing partners are doing, just focus on what I'm trying to do. I'm not going to think about any of that. I'm just going to think about trying to execute every golf shot from here on in for the next 36 holes. If I can do that, we'll see what happens on Sunday.
Q. What's your comfort level with being in the lead and holding on to the lead?
BILLY HORSCHEL: It's gotten a lot more comfortable with that. Like I've said in the past, I've felt more comfortable coming from behind, something I've always done throughout my career. There's not many tournaments that I've led going into the final round. I know I've led some the last 36. But with Fran in the picture, I'm more comfortable with being in the lead or near the lead going into the weekend.
Like I said, it's just all about limiting distractions and not thinking about scenarios, what happens if I win or anything. It's just focusing on what I do best, and that's playing golf.
Q. Did you feel like you were in the zone today and were you aware that you hit every green?
BILLY HORSCHEL: No, I was not in the zone, trust me. This golf course, even though it's soft, is still a tough golf course. I know what in the zone is for me. I don't get nervous, I just see the shot and go. And I saw the shot and I went with it, but I was still nervous with a lot of them.
Your misses here can be bad if you miss in the wrong spots.
I wasn't in the zone, I was just focused on what I tried to do. I didn't know I hit every green until I walked off 18. It's a cool thing. But like I said, it's not the first time I've hit all 18 greens. I've done it plenty of times in my career. Obviously it's at a U.S. Open, but I think the softness of the greens helped that.
Q. Talk about the wind today, is your Florida background helpful in that regard?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Yeah, I grew up playing in the wind. I feel like I control my golf ball pretty well, flight it well. I try to use the wind as a my friend. I try not to hit shots to go up against it unless it calls for it. But, yeah, just growing up in Florida, playing the wind since I was a little kid, I'm just so comfortable with it.
Q. What's it been like taking the momentum week to week this year, kind of showing up knowing that you're going to be in the picture, what's that sensation?
BILLY HORSCHEL: You know, I was like that in college. I played really well pretty much every event I played in. I had a lot of top‑10s, a lot of top‑5's. I had a few victories, not as many as I would have liked in college.
But I think once I got on that little roll, I knew how to keep it going. I just felt like I was back in my college days. I knew how to keep it going.
I feel like when I come to the golf course, no matter how bad I hit it or how bad my short game is or how bad I'm putting during the practice round days, once I get to Thursday I flip a switch and find some way to play well. That's what I did in college and that's what I'm doing now.
Q. Was there any problem with spike marks because of the extra traffic?
BILLY HORSCHEL: It's spiky out there, no doubt about it. The greens are a little rough. But everybody deals with it. All you can do is try and hit good putts and hopefully they don't get too affected by it.
Q. How do you keep the momentum going tomorrow?
BILLY HORSCHEL: Keeping momentum? Don't worry about anybody else. Keep doing the same thing I'm doing. I'm going to hit a couple of balls, hit a couple of putts, work with Todd Anderson, my teacher, and we're not going to change anything.
Everything seems good. I've just got to stay patient and keep committing and executing every shot and I'll be okay on Sunday.
Q. How close have they got this course to the fast and firm conditions that they wanted and how much harder is this thing going to get over the weekend?
BILLY HORSCHEL: This course is nowhere close to what the USGA wants, I can tell you that. The ball is stopping in the fairway, you may get a little bit of roll if you fly the drive or you hit a little low punch iron off the tee.
The greens are soft. But this is nowhere close to what I remember when I played Winged Foot in '06. So, yeah, it's still a long way to go. I think with the sun out, the wind helping, I think it's going to dry out. But I'm not sure if it's going to get as firm and fast as they want it. Maybe Sunday, but we'll just have to see.