Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

FedEx Cup: Billy Horschel chooses golf over baby's birth

By Gary Morley, CNN
updated 8:51 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
Billy Horschel has a lot on his mind -- he's trying to win the biggest financial prize in golf, while his wife is due to give birth. Billy Horschel has a lot on his mind -- he's trying to win the biggest financial prize in golf, while his wife is due to give birth.
HIDE CAPTION
Tour Championship: Round one
Tour Championship: Round one
Tour Championship: Round one
Tour Championship: Round one
Tour Championship: Round one
Tour Championship: Round one
Tour Championship: Round one
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Billy Horschel shares lead with Chris Kirk after round one of Tour Championship
  • Horschel's wife is due to give birth to their first child this month
  • Golfer is in contention to win the $10 million FedEx Cup prize
  • He says he will keep playing if his wife goes into labor during tournament

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- It's a big dilemma: Be with your wife for the birth of your first child, or stay at work with the hope of an $11 million payday.

For golfer Billy Horschel, it's a no-brainer.

"There wasn't much discussion. I brought up the question, she said: 'You're staying.' "

Horschel is one of five players who can claim the $10 million jackpot for topping the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoff series by winning the $1.44 million Tour Championship finale in Atlanta.

The 27-year-old made the best possible start Thursday as he tied for the first-round lead with longtime friend Chris Kirk, who heads the FedEx standings from second-placed Horschel.

A cool $10 million is on offer for the winner of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup this week, with only the top five golfers in the playoffs' rankings in control of their own destiny. A cool $10 million is on offer for the winner of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup this week, with only the top five golfers in the playoffs' rankings in control of their own destiny.
The hunt for golf's biggest reward
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
>
>>
The hunt for golf\'s biggest reward The hunt for golf's biggest reward
South Korea's Hyo Joo Kim shot a record low major championship round of 61 at the 2014 Evian Championship. South Korea's Hyo Joo Kim shot a record low major championship round of 61 at the 2014 Evian Championship.
Record breaker
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
>
>>
Evian Championship: Stunning beauty and big bucks Evian Championship: Stunning beauty and big bucks

Horschel won last week's BMW Championship and was joint runner-up in the second of the four playoff events, so his hopes are high that he can secure his family's financial future this weekend.

"My wife is totally on board," he told the PGA Tour website after his four-under-par 66. "She's a golfer. She understands what it all means. I've probably got the greatest wife out here."

Their daughter, to be named Skylar Lillian, is due on September 27 but could arrive earlier.

Horschel said if his wife Brittany does go into labor in the next few days, he doesn't want to be told until he completes his round.

Then, with a private jet standing by, he will make the one-hour flight back to Florida.

Because of the tournament's restricted 29-man field -- there would usually be around 150 players for the first two rounds of a regular PGA Tour event before the halfway cut -- he will have time to get back to resume playing the next day.

"I won't find out on the course, because my focus may be taken away from the task at hand," Horschel said. "But after the round's over with, I will be flying home, spend a few hours and then flying back later that day or the next morning before the round of golf.

"Having a chance to win $10 million and our first child on the way -- it's pretty amazing."

Last year, Hunter Mahan -- who carded 74 Thursday to be well off the pace -- withdrew from the Canadian Open while he was leading to be at the birth of his first child.

Ryder Cup teams prepare for a tough battle
How the Ryder Cup rivalry began at Gleneagles
What does it take to win the Ryder Cup?

"Hunter did a great thing last year pulling out," Horschel said. "But I would think if he was in my position with winning, having a chance to win, roughly $10 million more, if you had the Tour Championship winner's check and everything, I think it would be maybe a no-brainer to stay put and keep playing and go home in between rounds."

Read: Tour Championship leaderboard

Impending fatherhood is only adding to the excitement for Horschel, who partnered the comparatively calm Kirk in the final group to go out Thursday. They have known each other since playing at rival schools and progressing through the amateur ranks.

"He looks like he's a Fred Couples walking slow and nothing affects him," Horschel says of the 29-year-old Georgia native.

"And I think I walk slow, but as I've seen on the coverage last week, it looks like I'm sprinting around the greens and the golf course ... The emotional level is a little bit different."

They were one shot clear of another four players tied for third: Masters champion Bubba Watson, fellow Americans Jim Furyk and Patrick Reed, plus Australian Jason Day.

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy -- who like Kirk, Horschel, Watson and Mahan can secure the bumper jackpot with victory Sunday no matter where any other player finishes -- was tied for 11th on 69 with Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia and Ryan Palmer.

If none of the top five win, then the permutations get complicated, but it's possible for any player in the entire field to claim the $10 million with victory.

Read: $10M fast track to retirement?

Read: Pro golfer hit on head by ball

Read: Korean sets record major score

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:47 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
If golf has a reputation for being a bit stuffy, then the Bryan brothers and their trick shots are a much-needed blast of fresh air.
updated 8:18 AM EST, Thu December 11, 2014
Not many people make the leap from teenage market trader to golf pro and fashion entrepreneur, but that's just what Ian Poulter has done.
updated 6:29 AM EST, Wed November 12, 2014
"Sleep, as far as mental and physical recovery goes, has never been more important ..." says sport sleep coach Nick Littlehales.
updated 5:24 AM EST, Tue November 4, 2014
Joe Miller is devouring his second steak of the day and the clock has barely nudged 2pm. You need lots of fuel to smash a drive 474 yards.
updated 10:49 AM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
There have been many dark days for Oliver Wilson, but golf's unluckiest loser is finally riding an upward swing of his career roller coaster.
updated 12:48 PM EDT, Tue October 7, 2014
They dress like it's the 1930s and they swing antique equipment that eschews cutting-edge technology -- this is hickory golf.
updated 12:09 PM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014
CNN's Living Golf focuses on women's golf, charting the growth of the sport from royal pastime to multi-million dollar machine.
updated 4:46 AM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
"I don't know how to paint happy," says golf's poster girl Michelle Wie. "I think it releases a lot of the darker feelings in me."
updated 8:13 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Phil Mickelson of the United States talks during a press conference after the United States were defeated by Europe after the Singles Matches of the 2014 Ryder Cup on the PGA Centenary course at the Gleneagles Hotel on September 28, 2014 in Auchterarder, Scotland.
If you're a U.S. golf fan, or Tom Watson, look away now.
updated 7:18 PM EDT, Thu September 25, 2014
A ban on uploading social media pictures from the course at Gleneagles was dropped for the Ryder Cup.
updated 6:52 AM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
A spot of shopping, the odd spa day and some serious flag waving. Welcome to the life of a Ryder Cup WAG.
updated 9:01 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Tom Watson has learned plenty in the 21 years since he was last U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but social media is proving to be problematic.
updated 8:43 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Patriotism will reach fever pitch when the USA and Europe collide in golf's Ryder Cup ... and it looks like Rickie Fowler has let it go to his head.
updated 9:42 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Pressure is inescapable in the cauldron of Ryder Cup competition -- pressure and ping pong.
updated 7:50 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Millions of golf fans were watching on television with great anticipation. All Martin Kaymer could think about was getting his phone out.
ADVERTISEMENT