I don’t mind admitting then I had not actually seen him swing a golf club until last weekend, at the Genesis Invitational. This tournament is played around the classic Riviera Golf and Country Club. It turns out that Max is actually a very, very good player too. But not without some demons which he is, in typical fashion, unafraid to make public.
Riviera Golf and Country Club is one of the iconic golf courses in Los Angeles. It has a litany of famous members both past and present, including; Humphrey Bogart, Dean Martin, Mark Wahlberg, Gregory Peck, Adam Sandler a real who’s who of a club. Being a Los Angeles native, unsurprisingly it’s Max Homa’s favourite golf course.
Then throw into the mix that Max has only won one PGA Tour event this week, rightly so, has a significant place in his tournament diary. It’s the tournament he should win, right? Playing at his home course, sleeping in his own bed, what could be more simple?
When he was stood over a 3 1/2 foot putt, on the last hole to win the championship, statistically he had a 99.57 percent chance of knocking the putt in. Again, nothing could be simpler right. Job done, knock the putt in, hand the card in, grab some water, avoid being sprayed with champagne, get ready for the prize presentation. Simple.
If you weren’t watching on Sunday night, you probably know that the story doesn’t finish there. Not everything is as simple as that! Now add a little back story into the mix that his childhood hero Tiger Woods was watching and hosting the event. Also a cryptic message from his wife that morning instructing him to, “forgive quickly” (knowing that her husband would at some stage feel under pressure and have to stay calm) the story would have another chapter.
The putt hit the left edge of the hole and lipped out. This now leaving him in a tie with Tony Finnau so a play off was now needed to crown the winner. Max won on the 2nd extra hole to win his second ever tournament on the PGA Tour.
He has since admitted to his wife that he may have, “choked a little” over the putt on 18, but then also admitted that her words of advice were invaluable. He immediately gained perspective on the moment, instead of flagellating himself on missing such a simple putt and not closing the deal, he realised that the tournament was now down to two players. He was indeed playing his favourite golf course. Because of this new found perspective and he described himself as very calm walking to the first play off hole.
After winning on the second hole with a par, he remarked, during the post tournament interview, that he was tearful, thankful and very, very pleased with the weeks work.
He apologised to Tiger for missing the putt on the last, saying that Tiger shouldn’t have to see such ugliness.
But he did save the best comment, appropriately, for Twitter, where he said, “I spent over a dozen years trying to get Tiger to give me a high five, at Riviera, and today he handed me a trophy, ha ha ha what a world!”
You can’t help but think that he’s going to have a few more followers on his Twitter account moving forward.