You ask most golfers about the best thing to come out of a big PGA TOUR win and they talk about the impact on their careers, their confidence or the pressure of keeping the upward trajectory going. You ask Billy Horschel about the best thing that came out of winning the AT&T Byron Nelson last year, and you get a very different, much deeper, response.
Although his 2017 victory cemented his position on the PGA TOUR after a season of ups and downs, that win was about more than just golf. It offered a platform for Horschel and wife, Brittany, to open up about her struggle with alcoholism.
“It was the right time for us to win because it gave us the right podium, the right platform, to come out with our struggle—my wife’s struggle dealing with alcoholism,” Horschel said. “We had talked about telling our story, but I didn’t know when we were going to do it; when she was going to be ready.”
Then, Horschel pulled off the Nelson win.
“She’s like, “Hey, I’m ready. I want to do this. This is something I need to do to continue my progression toward sobriety,” Horschel said. “That’s really the best thing that came out of winning.”
The surprise was not the support the couple got after openly talking about what had been a closely guarded secret, but how many people reached out because they shared the struggle themselves.
“I knew it was going to be a big deal, but people have reached out to her through social media, email; people we run in the same circles with have contacted her, have contacted me,” Horschel said. “We’ve hopefully been instrumental in helping them deal with the situation that they’re dealing with and get help.”
Win or lose at the AT&T Byron Nelson this year, the Horschels have something to celebrate on Monday: Brittany’s second year of sobriety.
“It’s been a long road to get here and my wife still battles every day, like everyone who deals with an addiction. But she’s got a great support staff at home, she’s got great friends. Our kids are doing great,” Horschel said. “The thing we really want to get out of this is to help a lot of people.”
And yes, Billy, that is a whole lot more important than golf. And a bigger victory than any PGA win. Congratulations to you both.