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Billy the fashion kid set to woo Muirfield crowds

Billy Horschel of the U.S. watches his tee shot on the fifth hole during a practice round ahead of the British Open golf championship at Mui
Billy Horschel of the U.S. watches his tee shot on the fifth hole during a practice round ahead of the British Open golf championship at Mui

By Tony Jimenez

GULLANE, Scotland (Reuters) - Former winner John Daly's multi-colored trousers will be missing from the 142nd British Open and fellow American Billy Horschel is ready to step into his shoes by wooing the Muirfield fashionistas.

The 26-year-old American, who claimed his maiden victory at the New Orleans Classic in April, has a penchant for loud clothes and it will come as no surprise if he dons a shirt and tie at Muirfield or pants emblazoned with Octopus prints.

"I'm game to wear whatever," Horschel told Reuters in an interview on the eve of the third major of the season.

"People are just getting to know me and I do try to dress nice by wearing a couple of loud outfits here and there. Maybe the tie will come out this week.

"I've also got a couple of things in mind for the future that I think will be pretty cool."

Horschel caused a stir when he sported his Octopus trousers in last month's U.S. Open at the Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania.

"I've worn some other stuff but to have Octopus on my pants is not something I do often. It was to do with the tradition of Merion, something to mark the U.S. Open winner of 1934 (Olin Dutra) who wore Octopus socks," he said.

"The U.S. Open can be really tense, with a lot of pressure, but wearing the pants was fun and got the fans behind me a bit."

Horschel showed he could live with the elite of world golf as he finished in a tie for fourth at Merion behind champion Justin Rose.

The American has catapulted up to 36th in the world rankings and is confident of launching a genuine title challenge on his British Open debut.

"In my mind I think I can contend whenever I tee it up but obviously it's my first British Open and there will be some learning curves I go through that hopefully won't be too bad," he said.

"I think I can learn quickly and get myself in contention," added Horschel, a brand ambassador for Ralph Lauren, a patron and official outfitter of the British Open.

NOTEWORTHY FEAT

The American achieved a noteworthy feat in the second round at Merion, hitting all 18 greens in regulation, but he will find it hard to replicate that achievement on the parched and dry fairways of Muirfield.

"To do that in a major was pretty cool. I didn't know I had done it until after the round but if I hit all 18 greens this week I can quit golf," joked Horschel.

He knows he will come unstuck on some holes at the 7,192-yard, par-71 Muirfield layout - it will just be a question of keeping his mistakes to a minimum.

"This has been a great experience so far," said a smiling Horschel. "I was hoping to be in the British Open before now but it didn't work out.

"Muirfield is a great place, the views and the weather have been unbelievable and it's exciting to be here.

"My game feels pretty good, I think it could be better but I guess I'm a bit of a perfectionist. I'd like it to be better but this is a game of misses and I just need to control my misses this week."

Scotland's fashion patrol will certainly be out in force for Thursday's opening round as Horschel accompanies fellow American Keegan Bradley and Britain's Ian Poulter in an eye-catching three-ball.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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