ATLANTA (Reuters) - In-form American Billy Horschel has a great deal on his mind at this week’s Tour Championship, where a staggering playoff bonus of $10 million is up for grabs while he also prepares for the arrival of his first child.
Horschel’s wife, Brittany, is scheduled to give birth in two weeks’ time but they have agreed that tournament golf and the chance to win FedExCup playoff honors will take precedence if their baby girl makes an earlier arrival than expected.
”My wife and I are due two weeks from Saturday,“ Horschel told reporters after charging into a share of the first-round lead at East Lake Golf Club with a four-under-par 66. ”On the golf course I‘m not thinking about it.
”We have decided that if she (Brittany) goes into labor while I‘m playing, I will just keep playing, because $10 million is a lot of money and I‘m not going to pass that by.
“And I’ll just fly home after the round and fly back (to the tournament) a couple hours later, spend some time with them.”
Horschel, who rose to second in the FedExCup points list after finishing runner-up at the Deutsche Bank Championship two weeks ago and then winning the BMW Championship on Sunday, said he did not want to be notified while out on the course.
“We’ve talked about that,” the 27-year-old explained after recording four birdies in a flawless display to end the opening round of the PGA Tour’s season finale level with fellow American Chris Kirk.
”I‘m going to stay put on the golf course. I’ll find out after the round. I won’t find out on the course, because my focus may be taken away from the task at hand.
“But after the round’s over with, I will be flying home, spend a few hours and then fly back later that day or the next morning before the round of golf.”
Asked whether he was more nervous about the baby’s impending arrival or the chance to win the Tour Championship and the FedExCup bonus of $10 million, Horschel replied: ”I‘m not too nervous about having a kid. My wife and I are very excited.
”I‘m just anxious for it to happen. I‘m anxious for the baby to get here, our child to get here. And I‘m anxious to have a chance to win $10 million.
“Having a chance to win $10 million and our first child on the way, it’s pretty amazing, especially the time of year that it’s happening.”
Horschel, one of only five players in the 29-man field at East Lake who is automatically guaranteed the overall FedExCup prize by winning the Tour Championship, is playing his sixth week in a row on the PGA Tour.
Some players on a similarly busy run have cited fatigue as the season draws to a close but Horschel said he had “no issues with that” as he continued his bid for a third career title on the U.S. circuit.
“Maybe it’s just the way that I take care of myself. I try to work out and do the right things, make sure I get enough sleep and everything else,” he said.
”But, listen, this is the FedExCup Playoffs. If you can’t get yourself in shape and get up for it on a daily basis, then why are you playing this game?
‘It’s our playoffs. It’s like the World Series or the NBA Championships and NFL playoffs. You have to get up for it. It’s our postseason. We’re all tired and we all just gotta figure out how to put it out of our mind and go out and play golf.”
Editing by John O'Brien