In the Presidents Cup, Max Homa gained something he had always wanted

Max Homa has been a popular PGA Tour player for years. But he was chasing something else: verification.

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CHARLOTTE, NC – A framed quote was hanging next to Kobe Bryant’s locker.

“Look at a stonecutter knocking his rock away, perhaps a hundred times without a crack appearing. However, on the hundredth and first blow, it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that caused it, but all that came before” .

Max Homma, a lifelong fan of the Bryant’s Lakers, came across Creed—originally Jacob Reese’s words—in 2017. He was at a low moment in his professional golf career; He missed 15 of 17 cuts that season, earned only $18,008 on the course, lost his PGA Tour card and fell outside the world’s top 800. But he tried to think of himself as a stone cutter.

“I was like, ‘This is me now,'” Homa recalls. No lying down audio notation About two years later, after his first PGA Tour win. “This is how I will make my mark in this game. This is how I will come back.”

Not just back. Homma has completely transformed his game. changed his mind. And on Thursday, when he donned the blue jersey and white shorts of the US Presidents Cup team, the transformation was complete. Hard work validated. Homa succeeded.

“As Tony said at 16, it makes us feel alive. I felt alive today,” he said after earning his first point alongside Tony Finau in the final. today. But it wasn’t the point win that was the validation, nor the holeshot he hit on the 16th, which created a significant birdie, nor the tee shot he stripped in the 18th lane that put them in a position to win. It was a fact that he was there at all.

Back to 2017.

It’s funny to think that a self-aware, self-deprecating athlete like Homma would be influenced primarily by running through a motivational quote. But to hear him say that, finding the words was a turning point. Homa golf didn’t turn around—not immediately, at least—but his attitude changed.

“I realized that if you play that bad and you also think negatively, they don’t get together,” Homa said on the same podcast. So I had to lie to myself. To be like, ‘Today is the day dude!’ Today is the day we shoot the 65 and everything is unraveling and that starts in the right direction.”

Today is a day. Swing one stone at a time. Homa put the decision. “I just wanted to leave a mark on my flexibility. I thought this would be who I am. Some people are good at hitting an iron 7. Some people are good at putting on. I will be the strongest person I have ever met.”

He played Homa on his way back to the PGA Tour. It wasn’t a smooth transition – he lost six of his first seven cuts on his comeback – but it persisted. and go. He registered T26. Then T10. Finally, in May 2019, he broke the stone: Max Homa, ranked 413th in the world, won the Wells Fargo Championship. It changed his career forever.

There is a good chance it is not Why You know Homa. Best known for what came next: the viral Twitter swing. The jokes he was making at his own expense. The animos Towards the waters of Fiji, no matter how much he earns, because it seemed so far fetched. Homa’s fame grew rapidly. His game grew quietly. Still, he wants more.

There were other moments of verification, namely his playoff win at the 2021 Genesis Invitational. The victory came in his hometown tournament, one of the biggest events of the season, which was hosted by his idol, Tiger Woods. The win propelled him to the world number 38, by far the best of his career.

But in golf, how do you really know you’ve made it? The sheer number of events makes it the sport of the moment. To belong to the best dogs, you have to keep winning, competing and winning more. Homa was part of the conversation for the 2021 Ryder Cup team, but he ended up outside looking in. A week after the team was announced, it won again, this time in the Fortinet Championship.

“I feel like the game is catching up,” he said after the win. “I think the misconception about me is because of social media, people think I’m a bit goofy and aloof. For people who know me, I work really hard.”

He added one more thing: he was working on self-confidence, on wandering and his chest out, reminding himself that he belonged to the best.

“I can work out all day,” he said, “but if I don’t start believing in myself and believing that I belong to all the guys in the Ryder Cup this next week, I’m doing myself a disservice.”

Part of the reason we love the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup is that it gives us the opportunity to crystallize the golf hierarchy. The difference is golf’s answer to the All-Star Game. For the All-NBA team. It is our chance to contextualize success, to say who belongs at this higher level and who does not.

And this year, Homa proved where he belongs.

There was an improvement in his consistency: Homma made 21 cuts in 24 starts, and scored 15 points in 25th place. His meticulous work paid off, too: He ranked third on the Tour in every major stat class, solidifying himself as a complete player. Then came the victories, first at Fortinet and then again at Wells Fargo, where he stopped a chase group that included Rory McIlroy, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Cameron Young. He finished the season with a fifth place finish in the Tour Championship, earning fortunes and something out of reach: his first U.S. team.

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This was always validation week. This is his first All-Star game, after all. But Homma put his stamp on him by defending his title in Fortinet over the weekend, going into the last hole and then watching Danny Willett shoot his three chances. Max Homma, a five-time winner of the PGA Tour, landed in Charlotte in the early hours of Monday morning. His captain was there to receive him.

“We went and met Max and his entourage around 2 a.m. to take him to the hotel,” said Davis Love III. “So that was really cool.”

Homma is the same guy this week that was last week, or last year, or the year before. His pre-tournament press conference was a reminder of that.

His childhood screen name was revealed: “Oh, man, that’s no good. So embarrassing.” [Sigh] It was – I think it was “NextTigerWoods59″. Very sick, dude. I met a lot of girls from that.”

There was his confession of fist pumps: “I don’t know if I’m going to get the booty and the cute factor to walk around the green like Tiger and do fist pumps. I think about it and never do it and just wave.”

Then there was this, in his advanced age: “People always bind me with a will [Zalatoris] cam [Young]. I am much older than them. I like falling bigger than them. So I’m happy to be here and do my best to be the common man’s golfer, I guess.”

Homa is 31, Zalatores is 26 and Young is 25. So he’s right: It’s bullish, at least without the extra point. If anything, it makes him enjoy the moment even more.

“That’s the most believable, I think by a reasonable amount,” he said. “It’s really hard to move forward with this team work.”

He knocked on some rocks to get here.

Dylan Detier

Dylan Dither Editor

Dylan Diether is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine / The Williamstown, Massachusetts native joined GOLF in 2017 after two years of squabbling on the mini-tours. Dethier is a 2014 graduate of Williams College, majoring in English, and is the author of 18 in Americawho details the year he spent as an 18-year-old living out of his car and playing a round of golf in every state.

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