NAPLES, Fla. – Billy Horschel called and made Hunter Mahan an offer. Fortunately for Horschel, Mahan decided to play with him in the Franklin Templeton Shootout this week.
"We're good buddies," said Horschel, who's playing his third Shootout. "I like him a lot. He accepted my offer. I didn't get rejected."
Mahan is one of five rookies in the field this week, joining Daniel Berger, Patrick Rodgers, Danny Lee and Charley Hoffman at Tiburon Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort.
"It's kind of fun playing with a partner," Mahan said. "Obviously we don't get to do that very much. It's nice to be in Florida this time of year.
"(Billy has) got great energy. I'm happy to be playing with him."
Retief Goosen, 46, is playing with the 25-year-old Lee, with the 21 years being the largest age discrepancy between teammates.
"I know Danny fairly well," Goosen said. "Obviously I'm old enough to be his dad. He's a great character and kid. He likes to laugh. He likes to have fun, so he'll be a nice partner. I just hope my game will be just some sort of standard because I haven't played for 3 1/2 months. I've had a good little break."
Lee was a bit wide-eyed when he saw the club and the course.
"Being my first time here, everything seems new," he said. "It's a very, very nice place."
Berger, the Tour Rookie of the Year, thought he'd align himself with Hoffman, 38, because of their similar personalities.
"I've hung out with him a little bit this year," Berger said. "I just got in touch with him and I figured he'd be a cool guy and be laid back for a couple of days, yet competitive at the same time, and that's the way I am, too. I figured we'd be a good match."
MAHAN TINKERING: Hunter Mahan hasn't played since the WGC-HSBC Champions on Nov. 8. The last couple of weeks he's been in Orlando working with instructor Sean Foley. This week, he'll start to use some of the new stuff he's been working on.
"Trying to take things you've been working on to the golf course, to give it some sort of pressure, and it's great to kind of test yourself this time of year," he said. " ... Something that will give you a little bit of butterflies, and making a golf swing instead of just hitting shots on the range."
BEARDED GOOSE: Retief Goosen is sporting a beard. But it's nothing like he looked a few days ago.
"I've actually cut it quite a bit," he said. "It was like a mountain man beard. I didn't shave it for like three months. On Sunday, I said I better tidy it up just a little. Now it's golf-respectable."
Goosen searched for the right word to describe the new facial hair.
"It makes me look ... mature," he said.
This article was written by Greg Hardwig from Naples Daily News, Fla. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.