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PGA Tour Confidential: Billy Horschel wins Zurich Classic

Billy Horschel
Chris Graythen / Getty Images
Billy Horschel celebrating after draining a 27-footer for birdie on the final hole for a one-shot win.

Every Sunday night, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group conducts an e-mail roundtable. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

Billy Horschel fended off D.A. Points -- and two rain delays -- in New Orleans for his first career PGA Tour title. In recent years, this event has helped launch the careers of Bubba Watson and Jason Dufner. Is this win the start of something big for Horschel? Do you see major championships or a U.S. Ryder Cup team in his future?

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: What's not to like about this kid? He does everything well and makes a ton of birdies. Horschel is also a smart dude with a degree in sports management. He understands everything about the business of being a pro golfer. Sky's the limit for him.

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: It was awesome golf today. Billy H. might be wound too tightly for major championship play, but who knows? The who-knows part is why we love the game, right?

Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: A similar question was posed after the 2010 Zurich. Jason Bohn won it that year. Jason Bohn. Let's let Billy enjoy his first career PGA Tour victory before we start penciling him in for major championships and the Ryder Cup roster.

Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: Yeah, I don't see this as a fluke at all. If you look at his results in the last month-and-a-half you can see he was working up to this. Sure, I could see him making a Ryder or Prez Cup team.

Jeff Ritter, senior producer, Horschel showed a lot of game and grit. At one point he reeled off six straight birdies and had every answer for playing partner D.A. Points, who threw up a 65 and still lost. I'm not penciling in Horschel for the U.S. Ryder Cup team yet but it's hard to find any fault in his performance this week, other than his shoes.

Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: Horschel looked good, and has for the last few weeks, but still too early to say. Every year there's someone who looks great early and then peters out. Call it Jhonny Vegas syndrome.

Ryan Reiterman, senior producer, Dude's clearly having a moment right now. He's taken his game up another notch this year, with four top 10s before his victory on Sunday, and he certainly doesn't lack confidence. I don't know about majors or the Ryder Cup, but if he keeps playing like this, a spot on this year's Presidents Cup team is not out of the question.

Last year's hero at New Orleans, Jason Dufner, is a zero this year -- as in, no top 10s so far. He's spent more time on YouTube and in TV ads than he has in the final group on Sundays. Is he in a mild slump, or did he peak in 2012?

Shipnuck: Many, maybe even most, players struggle to adjust with all the new demands after achieving stardom. Despite his laconic demeanor, Dufner is very driven to succeed and a tremendously hard worker. He'll be fine.

Bamberger: Mild slump. Any other answer is not sporty.

Joe Passov, senior editor, travel, Golf Magazine: What impressed most with Dufner was his pure ballstriking and even-keeled demeanor. I still think he's capable of much more, but he needs to forget about celebrity for awhile and get back below the radar.

Gorant: Dufner does actually seem to have the goods but no one owns the game. He'll get it together before the spring's over.

Godich: I don't think Dufner is that far off. It just shows what a fine line these guys walk. You wouldn't know anything was wrong by looking at his body language. Oh, wait.

Ritter: Until Dufner panics, we shouldn't. Though I do wonder what a panic-stricken Dufner would look like.

Morfit: I just think the level of play on Tour is so good it's very easy to disappear for weeks or even months at a time. Lucas Glover is another example of that.

Reiterman: The Duf doesn't look too worried about it, so I'm not, either. Who knows if he "peaked" last year, but he had a great year, and there are very few players who have those kinds of seasons on a regular basis.

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