Horsfield was playing only video games for four months, now he is a PGA Championship contender

AFP/Kiawah Island (United States)
Filed on May 21, 2021
Sam Horsfield of England plays his shot from the ninth tee during the first round of the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Resort's Ocean Course on Thursday. (AFP)

Horsfield won the European Tour's Hero Open and Celtic Classic last August but was quickly faced with a setback

England’s Sam Horsfield, who spent four months recovering from a back injury, solved the treacherous winds of Kiawah Island on Thursday to leap into contention at the PGA Championship.

The 24-year-old from Manchester fired a three-under par 69 to claim a share of second after 18 holes on the wind-swept Ocean Course, two adrift of Canadian leader Corey Conners.

“It was obviously really challenging. It was hard. But I thought you could fire a score,” Horsfield said.

“You had to be really smart with what you did and where you hit it, but you had opportunities.”

Horsfield, who missed the cut at three US Opens in his only prior major starts, began off the 10th tee and promptly birdied the par-5 11th.

Horsfield won the European Tour’s Hero Open and Celtic Classic last August but was quickly faced with a setback.

“I tore my disc in my back at the end of last year, so that put me out for four months,” he said. “Just started working on staying tall, behind the ball and just giving it a good rip. That’s about it.”

He was playing video games, not golf, for four months.

“A lot of Xbox. I wasn’t allowed to play golf, wasn’t allowed to touch a club,” Horsfield said. “Just rehab, therapy and a lot of Xbox. That’s about it, really. Call of Duty.”

Horsfield says he works to keep his ego from overinflating, with his sister’s help.

“Don’t want to get thinking I’m better than what I am or whatever. Just head down, work every day and just grind,” he said.

“Really happy with how everything’s going. Been playing really well this year.”

He wants to play on the US PGA Tour but isn’t in any rush to get there.

“I’m just taking my time right now, just letting my career take its course and see what happens,” he said.

He felt the same way about his beard, which he was going to shave when he was in Austria a few weeks ago.

“I was going to shave it, but it was snowing and I didn’t want my face to get cold,” he said. “So I left it, and now here we are.”

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