BMW PGA Championship: Billy Horschel spurred on to Wentworth victory by Steve Stricker phone call snub
"I was a little gutted I didn't get a call this week," says Billy Horschel following one-shot victory at Wentworth after missing out on a Ryder Cup captain's pick; Laurie Canter and Jamie Donaldson have differing emotions after finishing in a tie for second place
Last Updated: 12/09/21 6:34pm
Billy Horschel revealed he used a snub from USA Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker as added motivation for his victory at the BMW PGA Championship.
The 34-year-old American carded a bogey-free, seven-under 65 in the final round at Wentworth to triumph by one shot from Laurie Canter, Jamie Donaldson and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
Horschel, who won the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play back in March, admitted he had not been playing well enough to warrant selection for the USA team to face Europe at Whistling Straits, but was upset at not receiving a phone call from Stricker, who said he "called a lot of guys", to inform him he was not one of his six captain's picks.
"It sucks not making the team," said Horschel. "As I said all week, I didn't play consistent enough and well enough after I won the Match Play to warrant a pick or to get enough points to be an automatic selection.
"I was a little gutted I didn't get a call this week. I didn't think the call was going to say I made the team, but I was a little gutted that I didn't get a call to say, you didn't make the team. In my mind, I thought I would at least get that. There was a little more added motivation this week for that."
West Ham fan Horschel, who was using his Hammers-themed bag again this week, paid tribute to the crowd at Wentworth, at a tournament he compares with The Players Championship - the PGA Tour's flagship event.
"The crowds are absolutely unbelievable here and they supported me when I came over in 2019 and they supported me this year," he added. "Played really good today, really well. Obviously missed a few putts. To win this event means a lot.
"In my mind, it's equivalent to The Players Championship. We have a great event on the PGA Tour and I live there and would love to win that one, but I have this one under my belt, and I'm very happy."
Horschel felt his birdie at the par-four 15th was crucial and he then played a superb third shot at the 18th to a couple of feet to set up the winning birdie.
"I played really great all around," he said. "Making the birdie at 15 was huge. Getting me, I think, tied for the lead at that moment at 18 under with three holes to play, three birdie holes, and I knew if I could birdie two of the three I probably would win the event. But one birdie was good enough."
Englishman Canter, 31, was chasing his first European Tour victory and saw a birdie putt at the last to force a play-off just fail to drop as he fired a 67.
"I played nicely and holed some nice putts. Felt like if I got to five under par, then just didn't perhaps take advantage of a couple holes.
"At the moment, I am disappointed. Probably more disappointed than I imagined to come second."
Welshman Donaldson, meanwhile, birdied the final two holes - spurning a decent eagle chance at the 18th - for a six-under 66 as he went close to claiming his first victory since 2014.
"I played really well for four days," said the 45-year-old. "There's not many shots, really, that I would want to play again. Maybe that putt at the last. It's easy afterwards, you know the line when it's behind the back of the hole.
"I've had a great week. I really fancied my chances today. I really felt great going out. But I've shot six under. I can't do much more, so quite happy."
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