2 BITS: Tebow wins at golf, Hernandez trial begins

1 » Former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow was a hit on Wednesday during a pro-am event at the 2015 Phoenix Open as he earned $40,000 for his charity by winning a closest-to-the-pin contest on the famed par-3 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale. Tebow’s shot fell approximately 11 feet away from the hole and drew solid applause from the crowd in attendance. Participating in the event alongside former Florida coach Urban Meyer and professional golfer Patrick Reed, Tebow was a favorite of many in attendance, including former Gators running back Emmitt Smith. Smith’s group (fourth) finished one spot ahead of Tebow’s team (tied for fifth) in the pro-am.



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Top 14 for 2014: Florida Gators best moments of the year

For as bad as things went for the Florida Gators at times in 2014 (see the Not Top 14 for 2014), there were more than a fair share of bright spots. From breathtaking moments and game-winning plays to winning championships and setting records, the Gators had plenty to be proud of in 2014. Check out OnlyGators.com‘s Top 14 for 2014.

14 » RARE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL UPSET

Gators women’s basketball has struggled to find relevancy but there was no question Florida had its engines running on Jan. 5 when it pulled off one of the biggest victories in program history, an 83-73 upset win over No. 6 Kentucky. The win broke a six-game losing streak for UF against UK and was head coach Amanda Butler’s first win over a top-10 ranked opponent after going 0-17 previously in such games. Florida had lost 19-straight regular-season games against top 10-ranked opponents, earning its last victory to such a team in Feb. 2006.

13 » TEBOW TIME ALL THE TIME

Former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow had a life-changing 2014 after agreeing to sign a long-term broadcasting deal with ESPN. Tebow was featured on the network’s national title broadcast that season and was later assigned to the SEC Network where he served as one of three analysts for the channel’s Saturday pre-game show, SEC Nation. Tebow has drawn rave reviews throughout 2014 for his passionate opinions and consistent on-air knowledge. He also proved to be unbiased, lambasting the leadership on Florida’s offense when the team struggled during the middle of the season. One Tebow moment – a spot-on impersonation of former Gators head coach Steve Spurrier – was OnlyGators.com’s most-watched Vine with 1.3 million loops as of press time.

Tebow also closed 2014 with a brilliant on-air prediction, which you can check out below.

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Billy Horschel: ‘I love representing Gator Nation.’

Former Florida Gators golfer Billy Horschel capped the best three weeks of his young career – and life – last month when he won the 2014 Tour Championship, brought home a total of $11.44 million by clinching the 2014 FedExCup title and, most importantly, was in the delivery room when his wife gave birth to their first child.

Playing the three best weeks of golf as a professional, Horschel first pocketed $2.03 million by winning the 2014 BMW Championship and finishing second in the 2014 Deutsche Bank Championship. Adding his Tour crown and FedExCup bonus, Horschel boosted his payday to $13.47 million in a three-week span and $14.8 million for the PGA Tour season.

Despite his hot streak, Horschel was not chosen to play for the United States in the 2014 Ryder Cup due to his success occurring too late in the process. Instead, he was able to spend more time at home at his recently-expanded family.

Two days after Horschel set up his family for life, his wife and fellow former Florida golfer, Brittany Horschel, gave birth to baby Skyler on Sept. 16.

Quite a month, huh?

OnlyGators.com got a unique opportunity to speak with Horschel this week as he prepares for the 2014-15 golf season. One of the hottest names in the sport, Horschel was not an easy get considering all of the media requests following the end of the 2013-14 season. Nevertheless, the PGA Tour was more than accommodating.

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: Let’s start with what’s important: how are the wife and baby?
BILLY HORSCHEL: “Skyler and Brittany are doing really great. They’re both healthy. Brittany is loving being a mom. She’s doing a heck of a job. We’ve been very blessed in the sense that Skyler has been a very, very easy baby. She sleeps well, doesn’t fuss a lot. If you could sort draw up the ideal baby – in the way for her to act for the parents to not go crazy – in my opinion, this would be it. We’ve been very blessed and very lucky.”

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TWO BITS: Florida vs. VCU, Horschel, DiMarco

1 » According to head coach Shaka Smart (via the Richmond Times-Dispatch‘s Tim Pearrell), the VCU Rams will serve as Florida Gators basketball’s opponent for UF’s annual secret scrimmage ahead of their exhibition contest and the 2014-15 regular season. VCU will travel to Florida for an on-campus scrimmage scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 1. The Gators took on Georgia Tech (in Valdosta, Georgia) in 2013, faced Rollins College in 2012 and squared off against UCF in 2011. Playing against Smart will mark the second time in four years that head coach Billy Donovan will face one of his former assistants (Donnie Jones, 2011) in the closed scrimmage.

College basketball teams are allowed to play a combination of two total scrimmages or exhibition games, and Donovan has always opted for one of each. UF will play its exhibition game against Barry University at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida, on Thursday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m.

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Bonner, McCray, Villegas headline UF Athletic Hall of Fame class of 2015 inductees

Seven former letterwinners – including Gator Greats Matt Bonner (basketball), Nicole McCray (volleyball) and Camilo Villegas (men’s golf) – will be inducted as members of the UF Athletic Hall of Fame’s 2015 class.

The F Club and Gator Boosters, Inc. announced Tuesday that the honors will be bestowed upon these former players at the Hall of Fame Banquet on April 10 in the Holloway Touchdown Terrace at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Inductees are divided into three distinct categories: Gator Greats, Distinguished Letterwinners and Honorary Letterwinners.

The remainder of the 2014 class includes Gator Greats Camilo Benedetti (men’s golf), Beth Farmer (women’s track & field, cross country), Candice Scott (women’s track & field) and Stephanie Zunich Donley (women’s swimming).

Read more about each inductee and their career accomplishments…
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Billy Horschel wins Tour Championship and FedExCup, brings home $11.44 million on Sunday

Former Florida Gators golfer Billy Horschel capped the best three weeks of his young career on Sunday by winning the 2014 Tour Championship and bringing home $11.44 million – a $1.44 million winner’s share as well as a $10 million bonus for clinching the much-desired 2014 FedExCup title.

Horschel finished -2 (68) on Sunday and -11 for the tournament, which was held at East Lake Golf Course in Atlanta, Georgia, edging competitors Rory McIlroy and Jim Furyk by three strokes each.

He opened the event by shooting four-under 66s on Thursday and Friday, extending his lead with a one-under 69 on Saturday to enter Sunday with a two-stroke lead.

Paired Rory McIlroy, winner of two majors in 2014, Horschel shot a two-under 33 on the front nine Sunday before bogeying 10. After four consecutive pars on holes 11-14, he birdied 15 to regain his one-stroke lead.

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Billy Horschel leading Tour Championship, planning to stay and play if wife goes into labor

Billy Horschel is playing the best golf of his young career.

The 27-year-old former Florida Gators golfer, who has finished 1-2 in his last two tournaments and earned $2.03 million already this month, is currently leading the 2014 Tour Championship by two strokes and has no plans to let anything deter him from winning the entire thing.

Horschel (-8) has Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Chris Kirk (all -6) on his heels as he looks to win a share of the event’s $8 million purse. Also on the line for Horschel and a number of other golfers is the FedExCup title and the $10 million bonus that goes with it.

Having already earned nearly $3.4 million this season, he is hoping to close out a victory over the weekend with plenty on his mind as his wife and fellow former Florida golfer Brittany Horschel is pregnant with a baby girl due in two weeks.

So, what would Horschel do if his wife suddenly goes into labor this weekend?

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FOUR BITS: Muschamp and Foley, Noah, Horschel

1 » Florida Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley took head coach Will Muschamp/s place during the weekly WCA Gator Hotline Show, which airs on Thursday evenings during football season. (In fact, Muschamp will only appear on the program five of the 12 times it airs in 2014.) Anyway, Foley answered a number of phone calls during the program, including one in particular from a voice that sounded oddly familiar. “Bill from Gainesville” jumped on the air to praise Foley for the job he was doing, suggesting that he should permanently sit in for Muschamp on the program. He then took a jab at Foley’s favorite team, the Boston Red Sox, before jumping off the air. With no attempt made to disguise his voice, “Bill from Gainesville” was quite obviously Muschamp himself having some fun with his boss. Check out the audio below.

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