DETROIT – Max Homa still can’t get over being paired with Tiger Woods, his childhood idol, for the first two rounds of the 150th British Open at St. Andrews. He called witnessing Woods make the walk across the Swilcan Burn Bridge at 18 during the second round, potentially for the final as a competitor, a “historic moment.”
“One of those things I feel like people say, ‘I’ll never forget where I was when’ and like, I was there,” said Homa, who didn’t seem to mind that his missed cut at the Open was his first weekend off in his last 14 starts.
This week, Homa is part of a threesome for the first two rounds of the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club with one of his closest friends on the PGA Tour, Joel Dahmen. Same thing, right?
“It’s like the opposite,” he said. “What a contrast. They say you have to be humbled in this game, so I’ve been humbled, went from Tiger to Joel. What a world this golf is. We talk a lot more, I know that.”
Homa said he planned to rest for the three weeks between the British Open and the start of the three-event FedEx Cup Playoffs, but added the Motor City stop to his schedule in order to see if he can improve his position in among other things the Comcast Business Top 10, which pays bonus money to the top 10 in the regular season FedEx Cup points standings – he’s No. 11, which pays squat while 10th rakes a cool $500,000 – and the U.S. Presidents Cup standings, which will help determine the 12-man squad – he’s No. 9.
“He makes it a point that he is wanting to make the team and you love to hear that,” said U.S. Presidents Cup Captain Davis Love III, adding that a rookie could bring some energy and excitement to the team.
The chance to improve his standing was enough reason for Homa to hit the road, even if it meant missing a doctor’s appointment for the baby he and wife, Lacey, are expecting. On Tuesday, he took in a Detroit Tigers game and between innings his mug was flashed on the giant screen in left field as one of the celebrities in attendance.
Max Homa enjoys the Detroit Tiger-San Diego Padres game at Comerica Park. (Adam Schupak/Golfweek)
“Getting recognized is weird,” Homa said. “Do I like it? It kind of depends. It’s one of those things that you like why it’s happening and sometimes you don’t like that it’s happening. A lot of time I’m with my wife and it’s just awkward.”
Take, for instance, the time he was at a friend’s wedding and was washing his hands at an outdoor bathroom when the guy next to him asked for a picture.
“I don’t think it will ever not feel bizarre because I don’t feel like people should be taking pictures with me,” he said. “It’s not something you picture when you’re putting on your home putting green when you’re a kid to win the Masters, you don’t think you’re going to be taking pictures at a Detroit Tigers game with a bunch of strangers, but it is what it is.”
Homa, 31, is winding up the best season of his career, notching two of his four career Tour wins and eight other top-20 finishes. He’s climbed to No. 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking and is poised to qualify for the Tour Championship, which is reserved for the top-30 in the FedEx Cup point standings after the BMW Championship, the second leg of the three-event playoffs, for the first time.
“It’s obviously been a very big goal of mine,” he said. “I felt like three weeks off at home, it’s a billion degrees in Arizona, it would be better to practice on a great golf course and get ready to try to peak at the right time at the end of the season.”