Professional golf returns to the Mile High City
With wins in Denver, Atlanta, Billy Horschel wins FedEx Cup
CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo.—The BMW Championship at Cherry Hills Sept. 4-7 represented the return of professional golf to Colorado for the first time since 2006.
The International was played at the Castle Pines Golf Club from 1986 through 2006. However, the PGA cancelled the tour stop in 2007 and hence, Colorado had been without a PGA tournament since.
More than three years of planning went into preparing Cherry Hills for the BMW.
Colorado golf fans responded with a sell-out crowd on Sunday and a near sell-out on Saturday of the tournament.
With the proximity of the tournament, a number of golf fans from Imperial and Grant made the trek to Denver to see the big boys play.
Just three weeks ago, Billy Horschel had every reason to start looking ahead to next season.
He had missed the cut in the first FedEx Cup playoff event to fall to No. 82 in the standings. He only had two top 10s all year, scant evidence that he was on the verge of something special. He was weeks away from becoming a father.
Then, in the second round of the FedEx playoff at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston, he had a chance for a birdie on the last hole that would have put him in a playoff for the title.
Instead, he dumped it in a hazard short of the 18th and finished second.
Horschel took a beating the following week on social media. Choker, they called him. A man who couldn’t finish the deal.
Didn’t bother him at all.
“That just adds fuel to my fire,’’ he said during the BMW Championship at Denver’s Cherry Hills, “and I’m just going to stick it to you every time.’’
What followed was the best golf of his life, and a payoff that was more than he could grasp.
Horschel won the BMW Championship after blowing a three-shot lead to start the day but coming back to shoot 1-under 69 for a two-stroke victory over Bubba Watson.
Horschel capped off his improbable playoff run Sunday at Atlanta’s East Lake by pulling away from Rory McIlroy early and holding off Jim Furyk late.
He posted his 12th straight round in the 60s—a 2-under 68—to win the Tour Championship by three shots and claim the FedEx Cup and its $10 million bonus.
“I’m not sure life can be better than this,’’ Horschel said.
That’s what these FedEx Cup playoffs are all about—who can get the hot hand over the last four tournaments.
Horschel took that to a level only Tiger Woods can appreciate. No one had ever won the FedEx Cup starting the playoffs lower than No. 19. Horschel started at No. 69. But he was the runner-up in Boston, a winner in Denver and he cashed in big in Atlanta.
Those three weeks of prize money and the FedEx Cup bonus were worth nearly $13.5 million.
“I remember flying home and talking with my wife and she said, ‘You’re probably just waiting for the season to be over and start a new season.’ I sort of was,’’ Horschel said.
“But at the same time, I knew my game was in the right shape and I just needed to get out of my own way. I needed to allow my golf game to show.’’
(Staff and Associated Press reports used to compile this tory.)