SOUTHPORT, England — Billy Horschel won’t be using chopsticks this week.
“Where are we going to find sushi over here? That’s not happening,” Horschel said during his first practice round at venerable Royal Birkdale, home to the British Open, the oldest championship in golf which turns 146 on Thursday.
It’s but one of the many deviations from the accustomed existence he enjoys in the United States. While he’s played in four Opens, the experience of flying across the pond to play in this major championship remains fairly unique to the man who won the 2014 FedExCup and claimed his fourth PGA Tour title this year in the AT&T Byron Nelson.
From driving on the other side of the road to seeing the sun at 5 a.m. and watching it set at 10 p.m., to playing links golf, the trip is a 24-7 puzzle that challenges one’s balance.
Horschel isn’t alone. The Open is a different breed from the weekly bomb-and-gouge approach on pristine setups in the States that are usually bathed in sunshine and warm temperatures. From packing for all four seasons to altering one’s attitude on how to attack a golf course, those who seldom journey to this side of the Atlantic have a checklist of all things different that must be adhered to in order to prepare as best they can for the third major of the year.
“It can confuse some, but it’s great,” Horschel said.
He and his crew treat the journey as a buddies’ trip. Horschel is sharing a house – he made sure it had Sky TV and all sports channels – with his coach, Todd Anderson; caddie, Josh Cassell; his dad; and Mark Horton, his stats guru. They laugh together, walk the course together, eat together — Indian and Italian are the favored choices — and dissect the course together.
“It’s a really cool guys’ week…