APGA Billy Horschel Invitational features record purse, valuable business opportunities

Willie Mack III (left) won the APGA Billy Horschel Invitational at the TPC Sawgrass last summer. Horschel (right), a seven-time PGA Tour winner, hosts the event for members of the Advocates Professional Golf Association player development program.

Make no mistake: this week’s Advocates Pro Golf Association Billy Horschel Invitational is huge for the 18 players in the field, given the venue at the Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, a record purse for an APGA event of $125,000 and a spot in the Korn Ferry Tour’s BMW Charity Pro-Am June 9-12. 

But it’s more than the golf. It’s a week to give players the opportunity to learn about the world of professional touring golf outside the ropes and how to obtain the many resources that are necessary to make it to the highest levels, such as coaching, equipment and sponsorships. 

As Horschel said, “one week can change a career.” 

That could be true in more ways than one as the players will compete on the Stadium Course on Thursday and Friday, but network with business executives during the pro-am Wednesday, participate in a business leadership discussion sponsored by Cisco and have a club-fitting session at the PGA Tour Superstore. 

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Willie Mack III has won two APGA tournaments on the First Coast and is the defending champion this week in the APGA Billy Horschel Invitational.

Among the companies represented, in addition to Cisco, the presenting sponsor of the tournament, are Body Armour, Farmers Insurance, Polo Golf Ralph Lauren, Spartan Investment Group, Titleist and Velocity Global. 

“For our guys, and as a tour, the business sessions are as important as the golf,” said Ken Bentley, the APGA CEO. “They get a chance to meet prospective sponsors but the time they get with Billy is also an amazing experience. Just hanging out with them on the practice green, playing putting games but at the same time talking to them about how to be a professional, how to get to the next level … he’s done all those things they want to do and you can’t put a price tag on the value of those guys hanging out with Billy.”