22 Questions With Max Homa, the Most Likable Golfer on Tour

The PGA favorite opens up about a tough U.S. Open, fatherhood and his obsession with the Dodgers

June 21, 2024 6:27 am
Max Homa gets set to drive the ball at the U.S. Open.
We got a chance to chat with the ever-chummy Homa ahead of the Travelers Championship.
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Statistically, there must be people in this world who dislike Max Homa. But has anyone actually ever met such a person? In the rather staid and stodgy world of professional golf, the 33-year-old’s deadpan, self-deprecating humor sets him apart from the field almost as much as his game.

Homa has six wins on the PGA Tour and is eyeballing a seventh this week at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut, one of the season’s Signature Events, featuring juiced-up prize money and extra FedExCup points. 

We caught up with him ahead of his first round at TPC River Highlands to chat about a disappointing missed cut at the U.S. Open, changing diapers and what golf has given him.

InsideHook: Obviously you didn’t have a great week in North Carolina at the U.S. Open. Can you tell us what happened?

Max Homa: I played off the first day, didn’t make any putts, so I felt I didn’t get much out of it. The next day I had a bit of a stomach bug, but it didn’t really affect my golf as much as my brain. My patience was at an all-time low, and I just couldn’t fight through the trials and tribulations of that round very well. I hit some good shots coming in, but in general I didn’t hit it great. Throughout the day, the course just kind of bit me, but I’m still quite pleased with where my game is. It just hasn’t really clicked on the days where I needed it.

Did you end up watching most people? I know you said you were rooting for the course to wreak havoc.

Yeah, I watched pretty much everything Saturday and Sunday. It was unbelievable; what an amazing golf tournament. It had kind of everything you could want. Two of the biggest names in our sport going head to head. I thought it was tremendous to watch.

This week you’re in Connecticut for the Travelers Championship. What do you feel you need to do to bounce back this week?

I think I just need to not get off the path that I’m on. I do think that my game is actually in a better spot than it’s shown. I’m just gonna need to get out of my own way and go play. I really love the golf course. I haven’t played well here before, but I really like it. It’s got greens that are quite comfortable for me and I’m actually expecting a good week because everything feels like it’s in the right spot. I guess just go and play like a kid and have some fun…and make some birdies.

Max Homa smiling at a friend during a golf tournament.
Homa has accepted that he might not ever be the best in the world. But he might be the most likable golfer on the tour.
Photo by Maddie Meyer/PGA of America/PGA of America via Getty Images

How would you rate your season so far?

Not very good. It’s been very frustrating. I’ve had a few good weeks, but overall, I feel like I have had a day each week that has kind of killed my chances of being in contention. But other than the actual season, the Xs and Os of my golf feel good. The pieces feel fine. So hopefully this just means I’m peaking a bit later than I had intended.

The Travelers is one of the Signature Events. Do you think the changes the tour has made over the last few years have been successful?

I do. I think it’s been really great. I think at Signature Events the pace of play has been good, which is great for fans. I think it’s a little easier to watch from the grounds. We’ve had some really exciting moments. Obviously Scottie [Scheffler] wins pretty much all of them, but I think getting to watch the best player in the world do what he does is fun. His battle with Collin [Morikawa] at the Memorial a few weeks ago was tremendous!

What else do you think could be done to modernize pro golf for the fans?

That’s a great question. I think doing a bit of what baseball’s done and looking into those areas where it is a bit easier for people to watch. They did a pitch clock. I’m not sure we’re gonna be doing a shot clock any time soon, but keeping the pace up so it’s easier to keep your attention. I do think they’ve done a good job. We’ve had a couple of weird weeks with the weather this year. At Hilton Head and the RBC they had a Monday finish, and at Pebble Beach we didn’t even get to finish, so maybe some creativity would help when we play certain events. But in general, I think if they keep doing this and trust the process, I think it will continue to get better. Everything needs a bit of time to sink in and get more comfortable for the fans.

You’re the father of a young child and you spend a good deal of time on the road. How do you create a stable family life?

Just trying to be as present as I possibly can when I’m not on the golf course and make the best use of my time when I am at the golf course, so that I can be as good of a dad as I possibly can. It’s quite difficult, but I have an amazing wife who makes things a whole lot easier on me, and doesn’t make me feel terrible about working a lot. I have a kid who makes me smile when I come home, so I am extra excited to try to make him smile.

What has your son taught you?

He’s taught me what true joy is, and it’s not a 7-iron that goes at the pin. He’s taught me to let go of tough weeks and realize what’s truly important. I want him to see that if you try your best at something and you really, really work at it, that you can make a dream turn into reality.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t be that guy. Every party, every golf tournament, everything has that guy, and just don’t be that guy.

Who gave you that advice?

One of my swing coaches back in the day named Mike Miller. It was right before I left for college. I’ll never forget it. 

What do you consider your greatest success on the course so far?

Winning at Riviera will always be kind of my favorite week. L.A. is my hometown, Tiger Woods is the host and it’s on a golf course that I love. But playing the Ryder Cup this past year, although we came up short, I got to have some success and hang out with all the guys on our team. It’s what I would consider the most nerve-racking week you could imagine and I held my own. I was definitely quite proud. I would love to get to do that again too and come out the victors.

What has been your greatest success off the course?

I’ve gotten quite good at changing diapers, so I’m quite proud of that. I am really proud of my time management when I’m home. There are a lot of days where I come in incredibly tired. But I’m quite pleased with myself when I put my phone down and just hang out with my family, detached from what I’ve done and what I’m trying to accomplish, focusing on something that’s a lot more valuable than that. I’m really working to make sure I’m as present as I can possibly be as a husband.

What do you feel have been your biggest failures, both on and off the course?

I would say my inability to be patient at times on the golf course. I would like to get better at that and stay in the moment. Similarly, off the course, I’m trying to smell the roses a bit more and appreciate all the great things that I’ve been given in my life. 

What do you feel is the greatest shot you’ve ever hit?

I hit a 4-iron last year at Torrey Pines at the Farmers Insurance Open on the 16th hole under the gun. I made birdie and ended up winning by a couple.

Where do you get your motivation?

I am addicted to seeing how far I can go in this game. I think I’m resigned to the fact that I might not be the best player in the world, or ever will be. But I would like to know at the end of my career that I did everything I could to get to the highest level I could. I’m in that 1% better every day type of mentality.

How do you define success?

It depends when you ask me. Generally, it’s when I feel like I’m doing all the right things to get better. But sometimes when I’m playing, unfortunately, success is birdie or bogey. I would like to do less of that and focus on what I have done and if I’m working hard enough.

What would you have done if golf hadn’t worked out?

Oh, I don’t know. I would be in a tough spot — a really tough spot.

When you turn in a scorecard, would you rather have nine birdies and nine bogeys or 18 straight pars?

I kind of think 18 straight pars. I’m pretty impressed with any round I’ve had or anybody has where they don’t make a single bogey. That’s quite an accomplishment.

Max Homa holding his baby and standing next to his wife at The Masters.
“I am really proud of my time management when I’m home,” says Homa. His son turned one this year.
Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

Besides a career, what has golf given you?

Pretty much everything. I met my wife because of this game and now I have a kid. I met her oddly enough because she tweeted something during the U.S. Open about how the rain delay was really killing her vibe. I was in college and I decided that was my opportunity to strike up a conversation. So I would have never had that. I’ve met friends for life, especially my caddie Joe [Greiner]. I met him at a golf course when I was six years old and now we hang out pretty much every single day. I think I’ve met all the people I love in my life through the game.

Is there a golf course that’s still on your bucket list?

The highest one on it up until last week was Pinehurst, so I’m glad I got that one. I would like to play Ballybunion in Ireland. That would be quite cool. Royal Melbourne in Australia would be awesome.

What’s your biggest vice?

The last dozen years I’ve been watching the Dodgers almost win the World Series. So, putting a lot of my passion into other people playing a sport.

Well, that leads really nicely into my last question. Do you think the Dodgers can win a pennant this year?

I do. They’re really, really, really, really good. I believe in them.

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