Being present for the birth of your first child….or a chance at $10 million?
That's the question Billy Horschel faced as he entered this week's Tour Championship, the final event in the PGA Tour's playoff format that rewards its winner with a $10 million bonus.
For his wife, Brittany, the choice was simple.
"There wasn't much discussion," Horschel said after his opening round. "I brought up the question. She said, 'You're staying.' "
The couple is due to have a baby girl two weeks from this Saturday. If Brittany goes into labor early, Horschel won't know — he's not keeping a pager on him like Phil Mickelson did at Pinehurst in 1999 — and won't leave the tournament mid-round.
"I will just keep playing, because $10 million is a lot of money and I'm not going to pass that by," Horschel said.
Horschel's home in Florida is a quick plane ride away from Atlanta. If his daughter is born during the tournament, he will travel home for a few hours, then straight back to East Lake to finish the event. Typically, this could be grounds for a heated argument among many married couples, but Brittany — who Horschel calls the greatest wife on Tour — understood the gravity (and financial implications) of the situation. Brittany played college golf at the University of Florida, and in Horschel's words, "understands what it means to be great."
And her husband has been just that during the past three weeks. Entering the Deutsche Bank Championship, the second event in the four-part playoff series, Horschel had missed seven cuts, hadn't notched a finish higher than sixth all year and finished 37th, 23rd, MC and 58th in the season's four majors. He promptly grabbed second at the Deutsche Bank Championship, won the BMW Championship and is the co-leader at the Tour Championship after round 1.
He's peaking just in time.
"I'm just anxious for it to happen," Horschel said. "I'm anxious for the baby to get here. I'm anxious to have a chance to win $10 million. They both put me at the emotional level. And having a chance to win $10 million and our first child on the way is, it's pretty amazing, especially the time of year that it's happening."
Pink balloons would suffice, but Horschel's daughter might appreciate a $10 million check a little bit more.