Las Vegas Golf

Billy Horschel chips onto the 11th hole green during the first round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open golf tournament on Oct. 16 in Las Vegas

Billy Horschel and Sean Foley are two of the best in the world when it comes to golf.

They are at the top of the line when it comes to their craft. Horschel is the reigning FedExCup champion on the PGA Tour, while Foley is known around the world as one of the best golf instructors.   

The two of them also have a connection to the Florida men’s golf program, although it’s distinctly different for both.

For Horschel, it’s simple. He is a University of Florida alum and was a three-time first-team All-American on the golf team under the tutelage of former Gators coach Buddy Alexander.

For Foley, his connection to the program lies with coach J.C. Deacon, as they both grew up practicing on the same course in their native Canada.

Both Horschel and Foley had a chance to sit down with the team during their time off between the second and third tournaments.

The team met with Foley when it traveled to Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando for practicing and qualifying.

Foley shared his experiences working with some of the game’s best.

Deacon said the team was able to absorb a lot information from talking with Foley.   

"They got to ask him a bunch of questions, it was a phenomenal experience," Deacon said. "From that I’ve seen a lot of motivation, the guys have been working harder, working smarter, spending their time in more precise areas."

Players on the team like senior J.D. Tomlinson have high praise for Foley. Tomlinson wrote a note to Foley after the meeting about what he learned from talking to him.   

"He is the most single fascinating person I’ve ever met in my life," Tomlinson said.

"He talked to us for three hours in the hotel lobby and I wish he could’ve talked more. I learned so much information in that time frame it was unbelievable."

About a week after meeting with Foley in Orlando, the team got the chance to talk to Horschel, who was in Gainesville as he was going to be honored at the LSU-Florida football game.

Horschel brought along with him the FedExCup and left it at the Mark Bostick Clubhouse for display.

The team had a chance to see that even though Horschel achieved tremendous success on the PGA Tour this year, his fervor for the program still runs deep.  

"He’s one of the most passionate Gators I’ve ever met," Deacon said. "I think the guys really saw that you know, he just made 12 million bucks this year and won all of these PGA Tour tournaments, but being a Florida Gator still means so much to him."

Even though Horschel is busy playing his own tournaments on the Tour, he manages to keep up with the team and how it’s performing in every tournament.

"He knows the guys names, he knows their scores, he knows who’s playing well, who’s not," Deacon said. "I think that had an impact on them that ‘holy smokes this guy is the biggest thing in golf right now, but he’s still paying attention to what we’re doing.’"

As the Gators wind down their fall season, having the chance to talk to two high profile professionals in golf resonated with them.

Not only can their advice work in the short term, as with Tomlinson, who tied his career-best finish in the previous tournament with a tie for third place.

But it also has a chance to make the team better in the long run.  

"I think it gives everybody more confidence, they gave everybody more information, which should make us better," Tomlinson said.

"Just meeting those guys and talking to them, it’s a cool experience."

Follow Luis Torres on Twitter @LFTorresIII