When Billy Horschel won the AT&T Byron Nelson last month, he called it his most emotional victory to date. When asked after his win over Jason Day in a playoff to elaborate why, Horschel respectfully declined.
“Not at this time,” Horschel said. “Just life gets in the way sometimes and, you know, it’s truly special to be winning on something on a day like this that’s I honestly – I’m not able to talk about it right now. But it’s just lot of stuff happens in the last year and this is just, this is nice.”
Of course, a day later Horschel’s wife, Brittany, revealed the real reason for Horschel’s emotions: she had struggled with alcoholism in the past but was enjoying one year of being sober.
“I will keep this simple, ‘I am an alcoholic,’ Brittany wrote. “I say that now without shame. Admitting that to myself, family and friends has saved my life and my marriage. However, the last year has not come without its extreme struggles as Billy alluded to yesterday.”
Brittany wrote about how she spent more than two months in a treatment center in South Florida, forcing Billy to take care of the couple’s daughter, Skylar, then not even 2 years old, and complete a move into a new home by himself, all while still competing on the PGA Tour.
“God only knows what else and what all went through that men’s head during that time,” Brittany added.
The Horschels went public with Brittany’s struggles in hope that they could potentially help others who may be battling alcoholism. On Wednesday, the Horschels appeared on Good Morning America to continue to share Brittany’s story.
During the segment with Michael Strahan, Brittany talked about how she didn’t tell Billy about her alcohol addiction and that she would hide vodka in water bottles around the house and hotel rooms.
“I was hiding how much I was drinking,” Brittany said. “He knew that I drank a couple of glasses of wine at night, but other than that I really kept it hidden from friends and family and especially Billy.”
Brittany said she was still able to take care of Skylar, “but it wasn’t at any energy level – it was sad for her because the quality of her life was suffering because of how my life was,” she said.
Billy said he saw signs of Brittany’s alcoholism beginning in 2012. By the end of 2015 and into the start of 2016, he knew there was a bigger problem.
“We would have conversations about her drinking,” Billy said. “I said, ‘Hey, how about we stop drinking for a couple of week? Maybe only drink wine?’ But obviously I knew it was a bigger situation than that.”
When Brittany went to the treatment center, Billy said it was “tough.” His father moved in with Billy to help out while Brittany was away, and Billy also said he missed four to five events on Tour that he normally would’ve played. (He played just the U.S. Open and British Open during that time.)
“It was a struggle and I just had really great family and friend support throughout the entire two months she was gone,” Billy said.
With Billy winning at the one-year mark of Brittany’s sobriety, the couple felt that it was the “perfect time” to come out with the news.
“I’m proud of being an alcoholic and how far I’ve come,” Brittany said. “Not everybody’s comfortable with coming public, and I am, so I feel like I have almost a sense of duty to share my story to help others.”