Billy Horschel just made it through No. 13 without slipping down a slope.
This counts as something of an achievement — even if, for the second consecutive day, he needed to remove his socks and shoes to make it through the hole.
Let’s back up. Horschel’s second shot on Saturday landed in Rae’s Creek, one of the dangers of the par-5 hole. So Horschel’s socks and shoes came off as he prepared to try a shot from the water. But after he surveyed the green before his attempt, he lost his footing and slid down the hill, prompting a consultation with Phil Mickelson, the three-time Masters winner who was his partner for the day, and later blamed the steepness of the bank and the wetness of the rye.
“I said, ‘How bad is that grass stain going to be?’” Horschel, who was sporting white pants, recounted after the round. “And he said, ‘There may not be one there,’ and he looked and said, ‘Yeah, there’s one there. Sorry, buddy.’” (Asked whether he had faced a more embarrassing moment, he replied: “I’ve ripped my pants a few times — and early in the rounds.”)
The shot went much better.
“It was probably a couple inches under the water,” Horschel said, adding, “I knew there was a whole bunch of green behind me, so as long as I hit it hard enough, it would come out.”
It did, lifting up onto the green and past the pin to set up a two-putt, and Horschel ultimately made par.
“It was an incredible golf shot,” Mickelson said later. “That’s not easy. Sometimes that thing comes out kind of blah. I’m curious how he hit that.”
Then came Sunday, when Horschel’s tee shot landed in the water.
Much as Horschel fans might hope, we are not making this up.
His recovery shot managed to leave the water but headed straight into a rock-strewn slope. His third shot went a few inches. At last cutting his losses, he took a drop, only to see what was technically his fifth stroke wind up in the gallery. Horschel’s sixth put him onto the green, where he putted well.
But it was very much a miserable showing on the hole: eight strokes — good for a triple-bogey that moved him to six over par for the tournament. At least, though, he did not rip his pants.