Florida’s Billy Horschel became only the second American ever to win the BMW PGA Championship title after shooting a final 65 in front of full galleries in Wentworth.
It was more than a little ironic that in a week in which the Ryder Cup dominated so many of the proceedings at Wentworth, that an American who was overlooked for choosing a captain for Team USA, the most coveted title of Europe had to carry in front of the stands packed with British fans hoping to celebrate a winner of a custom adult.
As it seems on such days full of drama, the actors rarely, if ever, follow the script. Horschel, in turn, certainly did not read it, and the 34-year-old from Jacksonville Beach covered the cost of his trip off the east coast of America when he won the first prize of £ 960,000 and the prestigious BMW PGA. championship trophy. , under European noses.
He did not even get a call from Steve Ricker, captain of the American Ryder Cup, to say that he did not make the team, but Horschel kicked off rounds of 70, 65, 69 and 65 to finish the points table at 19 under track record, and ends a shot away from the indefinite trio of Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Laurie Canter and Jamie Donaldson.
This makes Horschel only the second America to win the PGA Championship since the great Arnold Palmer in 1975. Not many conceded, but Horschel certainly won a new legion of fans because he did not just make the effort to travel , but because he embraced the tournament, its history and the galleries. Having the West Ham Football Club logo on his pocket may have made him popular with a certain section of the crowd, but by the time he hit his birdie putt on the 18th green on Sunday afternoon, he was treated at a reception that is usually only dished out to one of our own.
“Adding my name to that of Arnold Palmer as a winner of this amazing tournament is legendary stuff,” Horschel said. ‘If it were not for Arnie, we would not have had this modern golf era, where we could play in front of thousands of fans and have all these great sponsors. Tiger Woods has taken it to another level, but it’s Arnie who started it all, so it’s pretty special to have my name on the trophy.
After playing here in 2019, I felt like it was a tournament I wanted to win before I finished my career. I put it on a level similar to the PGA Tour’s Players Championship, in terms of importance, although the PGA has a greater historical significance. The winners of this event are one of the biggest legends of the game. ”
Of those who finished behind him, Aphibarnrat and Canter both probably drew their scorecard and wondered what it could be. The former was 10-under track record for his round, and 18-under for the tournament, when he played the 17th hole, but the Thai player, who started the week, was 516th in the world after a season that saw 11 missed hits from 21 meetings included, hitting his second shot to the penultimate hole in someone’s backyard before finishing with a so-called six, and then he can only eliminate the last one after getting into trouble under the tee.
Canter, who was in the last group with Italian Francesco Laporta, also cherished hope for a life-changing victory when birdies at 10 and 12 took him to 18 down for the tournament. But while other birds tossed in on a windless afternoon on the West Course, Canter’s nine charges became more of a Sunday walk back from the bar than six consecutive pars of the 13ste left him painfully stranded, one shot back from the target of Horschel’s clubhouse, with his 20-foot birdie on the last, which would have caused a playoff game that would have been missed by six inches.
Further on the standings, Justin Rose’s final round 65, which unfortunately took him into sixth place, unfortunately did not do enough to make Padraig Harrington’s mind that the 2013 US Open champion was still good enough to be considered none of his captaincy choices, while Andrew Johnston gave his fans enough reason to ‘Beef!’ to shout. a few hundred times when he rediscovered some of his lost form with a shutout of 65 to land at Rose and Laporta at 16 this week.
Still further on the leaderboard, one of the most important 20th finishes in the recent history of the European tour went to Bernd Weisberger, with the last round 72 of the Austrian, with previous rounds of 71, 67 and 67, who did everything to beep in the ninth automatic qualifying spot for the Ryder Cup team.
Weisberger’s heroic deeds knocked Shane Lowry out of the qualifiers, but the 2019 Open champion offered one of the three captain’s selections, while the other two went to Ian Poulter, who missed the cut on Friday, and Sergio Garcia, who completely missed the tournament. had, he apparently did enough to make his call after being fourth in the PGA Tour’s Tour Championship just the week before.
While the Ryder Cup side-by-side display brought a little extra excitement to the tournament, it was the fans — a Covid-limited capacity of 25,000 for all four tournament days — and the majesty of Wentworth’s West Course that created the atmosphere of the remnants really heightened the event that the Europe tour expected the most and that was most attended.