Florida head coach J.C. Deacon announced Wednesday that the team welcomed six-time PGA Tour Champion Billy Horschel as a volunteer assistant coach.
Horschel played his collegiate golf for the Gators from 2006-09. He was a first-team All-American for three of those years.
Among other accomplishments, Horschel was named SEC player of the year twice and won individual medals at the NCAA regionals and SEC championships.
“Our team now has full access to one of the brightest minds in golf and he has already established a great deal of trust within our guys,” Deacon said. “He is fully committed to helping our players develop physical and mental golf skills. From a recruiting perspective, I feel like Billy adds an element that few programs can match.”
Horschel participated in the 2007 Walker Cup and helped the USA team take home a victory. Ricky Castillo, a junior on the current Florida team, participated in the same tournament in 2021 and aided the USA to yet another win with a Gator on the national team.
At the first Spring tournament, Horschel was in attendance, showing support for Castillo and the rest of the men’s team. The leaderboard of the Sea Best Invitational at TPC Sawgrass saw the Gators on top.
“My favorite memory of that tournament was just having Billy Horschel there to support us,” Castillo said. “He was out there every single day for the entire time supporting us and helping us through the practice round.”
Just before the tournament at TPC Sawgrass, Horschel had been competing in the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego. He tied for eleventh on Saturday and made the cross-country trip to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, to support the UF team the next day.
“If that doesn’t show that he wants to help us and have us be the best team in the nation, then I don’t know what does,” Castillo said. “He has been incredible for our team growth and it’s already starting to show.”
Horschel has taken the time to be there for the team on many occasions and has built strong relationships with each player over time.
“Ever since I became a gator, I have looked up to Billy and have wanted to achieve the type of success that he has achieved in his career,” junior John Dubois said. “We have gotten closer in the past few months ever since he started helping our coaching staff.”
Horschel picked up his PGA Tour card in 2009 and has a strong presence in the association since. He currently sits as the 21st best golfer in the world and has had a number of major appearances, including a T4 finish in his first major at the 2013 U.S Open.
Even though it has been over ten years since Horschel played for the Gators, his school spirit is always evident in the orange and blue that he wears on the course or the Gator logos on his bag.
In the past, Horschel has had talks with his wife about what he would do when his tour career was over. Coaching at Florida was always in the cards and an option that he has looked to with great optimism.
“To be offered this opportunity now is really neat and I’m excited to help J.C., Dudley, and the players any way that I can so we can get back to winning championships at UF,” Horschel said.
Now that his position has been announced officially, Horschel will be spending more time on Mark Bostick golf course, his old stomping grounds, to help the team achieve success and climb in the national rankings.
“I know that this team has the ability and talent to bring a title back to Gainesville and the players themselves believe it as well,” Horschel said.
The men’s team continues to prepare for their next competition at the Southern Highlands Collegiate beginning Feb. 27 in Las Vegas with a new assistant coach helping them along the way.