No longer just a popular personality, Max Homa has grown into one of the most efficient golfers on the PGA Tour

While you’ve been busy enjoying his swing roasts on Twitter and listening to his self-psych analysis on countless podcasts in the golfing world, Max Homa has been busy becoming one of the best players in the world. Unfortunately, because labels are sticky and permanent, the extremely online Homa will find that his perception will hardly evolve at the same rate as the quality of his performance. While he will continue to be known to the wider golfing public primarily for his Twitter caricature, the numbers don’t lie and you should believe what they reveal: there are few golfers on the planet right now who are better than Max Homa.

Although Homa has nearly 400,000 followers on Twitter, the numbers relevant to this particular discussion are actually much smaller. The first is 3 and the second 1.2, and while those totals fall way short of his social media tally, I imagine Homa would swap the former big for the latter small ones in a jiffy.

Homa’s three wins since early 2021 represent both a 10% win ratio — which is absurd — and more than the world totals of Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm, and Brooks Koepka. Homa has normalized winning on the PGA Tour – what happens when you win three out of 30 events you compete in – to the point that it’s no longer surprising when he gets into the competition. It’s also not surprising that he’s won more worldwide trophies in the last year and a half than the aforementioned collection of six big winners (which has amassed a total of 15 big wins over the course of their career).

While there undoubtedly has been a bit lucky to win so much While Homa hasn’t released a statistical profile that ranks among the game’s absolute elite, Homa has made a leap this season that is both curious and portends to tremendous years ahead. Since the first week of the season (which Homa won) in September at the Fortinet Championship, Homa has been gaining an average of 1.2 shots per round. That’s exceptional and nearly doubles his next-best season, which happened last year when that number was 0.65 strokes won per round.

What does this mean for the average golf fan? According to Data Golf, this is a clip that only the best players in the game maintain for a season at a time. In the previous PGA Tour season, which was extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were only 15 players who scored at least 1.2 strokes per round when comparing their off-the-tee numbers with their approach numbers combined (d). These are the numbers that are the best harbingers of great players, and the 15 names are golfers you’ve probably heard of once or twice.

  • Jon Rahm
  • Victor Howland
  • Bryson DeChambeau
  • Collin Morikawa
  • Corey Conners
  • Paul Casey
  • Daniel Berger
  • Xander Schauffele
  • JustinThomas
  • Brooks Kopka
  • Patrick Cantley
  • Sergio Garcia
  • Keegan Bradley
  • Will Zalatoris
  • Rory McIlroy

This season’s numbers haven’t been updated since Homa’s win at the Wells Fargo Championship, but if they are, Homa will rank in the top 10 forwards in the world since that win at the Fortinet in September. The top 10 golf ball players on the planet, and Homa is right there in the mix.

The only thing more compelling than its jump from year to year is its historical development. In the post-Tiger Woods era of “OK, who’s next?!” We’re not used to players going down a slow, simmering eight-year run to become a top 10 forward in the world. Because there are so many Scottie Schefflers and Justin Thomases—ball-smashing virtuosos from a young age on the PGA Tour—there’s much less room for players like Homa, who develop over time to overthrow this very highest class of players. And yet…he did. His ball shot is better than Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele, Brooks Koepka and Scheffler this season. Here are his scores over time.

Max Homa shots gained ball shots per round

  • 2022: 1.20 (not officially updated yet)
  • 2021: 0.65
  • 2020: 0.52
  • 2019: 0.48
  • 2018: N/A
  • 2017: -1.77
  • 2016: N/A
  • 2015: -0.51

Homa clearly put the work in, but as so many (including him) have pointed out, it was less a question of physical talent and more of the confidence that the very best in any sport possess and that Homa often struggled with. He spoke about it on Sunday after his win at TPC Potomac, and one of the golfers he defeated – Rory McIlroy, who finished fifth in the Wells Faro Solo – echoed his sentiments.

“As I started to establish myself on this tour, when I won that event in 2019, I definitely knew I had the potential to be a regular PGA Tour player,” Homa said. “But suddenly last year I’m in the top 50 in the world and you start looking around and it’s a new generation of people and you start thinking, ‘Am I as good as these guys?’ And then I want to be in the top 10 in the world, play the Presidents Cup, play Ryder Cups.” “Am I good enough for that?” So I’ve always struggled with that, but I have amazing people around me who are in the head and tell me I’m that guy. I tried this week to believe that and fake it a bit until I got it. “

“He’s a really good player,” said McIlroy. “Yes, honestly, when you see him play you think he should have done better than he did. I think that’s what he looks like, how he wields it, all his demeanor. Sometimes it just takes a little longer to understand their games and I guess they’re realizing their potential, but he definitely seems to have settled in over the last few years.”

Rick Gehman, Kyle Porter and Greg DuCharme break down Max Homa’s win at the 2022 Wells Fargo Championship. Follow and listen to The First Cut Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Failure is part of the Homa success story. And while there are a thousand ways to become one of the best in the game, it’s unique and perhaps couldn’t have happened any other way.

“For my story, yes. It would be cool if I was Rory McIlroy and didn’t do it [bounce back and forth from having my PGA Tour card to losing it]”, he said. “For me it’s something that I carry with me and that I think is strong. I feel like other guys don’t have that and that’s good for them, I’m glad they don’t have it. But I’ve seen $18,000 out here in one year. I saw myself feeling very, very small, literally without hope [of] getting a top 10, let alone making a cut this season.

“I’m wearing this because I saw it and … you come out on top and I’m three shots ahead and one shot ahead. I mean it just doesn’t phase me in the way I feel like it could because I know what’s bad and my mistake today was to make a boatload of money and in two weeks go to the PGA championship, with a good chance of winning if I keep playing like this. I think that’s something I carry close to my chest because I think it’s something that, as much as no one wants it, it’s nice to have as you get through this tough time.

Even in an age of countless likeable stars, Homa is easy to find. is that him now A star? A superstar. Maybe, although the next step for him is to prove it at a major championship (where his best result is a T40 at the 2021 Open Championship). Maybe there, too, it’s a matter of faking it until he manages to believe it, even if he doesn’t feel it, shaking off the imposter syndrome that plagues so many in their professions.

Whether that will happen in the future remains to be seen, of course, but after his fourth win on Sunday over McIlroy and company at TPC Potomac things seemed to be about to change. Homa is not the most popular player as most people know him. Not even close, really. However, he might be the greatest to like from the people who know him. And in the years that that has been the case, a curious thing has happened.

Max Homa is no longer just the (probably) most popular golfer in the world. He’s also one of the best now. No longer just a popular personality, Max Homa has grown into one of the most efficient golfers on the PGA Tour

Justin Scacco

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