On a recent episode of the Subpar podcast, McIlroy was asked by presenter Colt Knost which of Patrick Reed during the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine or Horschel during the 2007 Walker Cup he wanted to punch more.
"Billy Horschel, and that's saying something!" replied McIlroy.
"Ohh, I absolutely despised him. We’ve actually become really close since, which is great."
USA won the 2007 Walker Cup, 12.5 - 11.5, at Royal County Down Golf Club. A teenage McIlroy, playing for Great Britain and Ireland, lost to Horschel in the Saturday singles but then beat him in Sunday singles. Horschel and Richie Fowler also beat McIlroy and Jonathan Caldwell in the Sunday foursomes.
"But, Billy in that ’07..." McIlroy continued.
"We were all probably obnoxious at the time, but I think because I was at home as well and he was pretty rude to the crowd at times too and it was like 'They are my people. I'm going to beat his ass'.
"We actually have forged a really good friendship since. Billy’s a good dude. I like him a lot.”
Horschel spoke to the same podcast two years ago about that matchup with McIlroy.
"I come down like a damn cheetah, yelling at the top of my lungs, running after the ball, ‘Go in! Go in!’” Horschel recalled about a bunker shot during the foursomes.
"And it lips out. I guess [McIlroy] was pissed about that. I guess he was pissed about the day before when we played our singles matches.
“And so, the first hole [of Horschel and McIlroy’s Sunday afternoon singles match], [McIlroy] nukes a drive. I mean, he hit one so far down there, he had like literally an 8-iron into the green.
"He hit it to 15 feet, and I had 10 feet for birdie or whatever. And he makes this eagle putt, and he gives out the biggest yell, because he’s letting me know, this shit ain’t happening anymore. This is my house today. And I was like, ‘Damn, I’m fucked.'”
.@McIlroyRory has had his fair share of intense match play moments.
— Subpar (@golf_subpar) September 14, 2023