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WGC-Dell Match Play

This ugly Billy Horschel shot shows just how wild the winds are on the final day at the WGC-Dell Match Play

March 28, 2021

AUSTIN — On Saturday, it was Matt Kuchar being forced to hit a (bad) shot left-handed from the woods that made all normal golfers in the world say, “ah yes, this is familiar.” On Sunday, that honor belongs to Billy Horschel, who is holding his own against Victor Perez at the WGC-Dell Match Play semifinals on a windy day, but who gave us this extremely human gem on the sixth hole:

Horschel's sheepish reaction is great, but I almost laughed harder at Perez and J.P. Fitzgerald, who seemed to believe for a moment that Horschel had decided on the unique strategy of taking them out directly.

The good news for Horschel is that he has a read-made alibi: the windy conditions. Yesterday's mild south wind has transformed into northerly gusts that are peaking just shy of 20 mph, and might get worse in the afternoon. Horschel spent a considerable amount of time over the shot prior to hitting it, talking with his caddie about how to play the shot giving the incoming wind that gusted past 25 miles per hour while he was preparing to hit the shot.

Combine those conditions with the fatigue of players who have already played 90 holes coming into Sunday, and yes, you're going to get some sloppy play. Here's proof: On a course that has yielded tons of birdies this week, we saw exactly two of them—two combined—on the front nine of both semifinal matches.

After the round, Horschel tried to explain what happened. “It was literally the bad club,” he said. Should've hit 7-iron and I was trying to hit a chippy, chippy 6-iron and I just hit it fat. I've done it before and I'll probably do it again in my career. It was one of those things you just move on and try to hit a better shot next time.”

Horschel lost that hole—shocker—but leveled the match a hole later, and now leads 1-up on the back nine. Short shots demand short memories.