Homa provides all kinds of drama in the Farmers International.
Full disclosure, I was all over Max Homa (Titleist Pro V1) in the Farmers Insurance Open.
While most pundits were all over Jon Rahm (Callaway Chrome Soft X) to win his third consecutive PGA title, I just couldn’t back him.
Look, I completely overlooked him in the Sentry Tournament of Champions in the first tournament of 2023 when his form suggested he would win and went against him in American Express out of spite.
There’s an old racetrack expression, if you didn’t go the wedding, don’t go to the funeral. In other words, if you missed out on the chance to pick the obvious winner, don’t try to get even next time out.
Okay, for people who don’t play the ponies the comparison may be hard to understand.
I just couldn’t see Rahm doing it again. He also showed signs of vulnerability in the final round of the American Express. When he was lights out in the third round of the Farmers after playing poorly in the opening round, I just figured he couldn’t contain it in the final round.
And he didn’t, showing visible signs of frustration.
Meanwhile, Mad Max had a solid season in 2021-2022 playing for the U.S. in the President’s Cup and winning in the Fortinet Championship leading up to it.
He also placed third in the Sentry tournament, so I figured he had a good shot at winning.
But I have to admit on the 13th hole in the third round I became antsy.
He participated in an open conversation wearing ear buds with CBS as part of its first broadcast of the season. Homa is a very progressive guy, having fun on social media but turning serious in tournament play. However, Homa decided to give viewers – and CBS – a different experience in the Farmer’s. This isn’t like The Match tournaments for charity that have become popular over the years as the top players and occasionally celebrities tee it up and yuck it up wearing ear buds.
Homa started to come undone on the par-five 13th. He sailed one iron shot over the green and into a deep rough on which his ball was embedded. Rather than touch the ball, he called over an official to rule on it. He was given relief and when on to par the hole to avert disaster. He just might have landed a commercial sponsorship in the process with whatever brand of ear buds he uses.
It turned out to be some interesting drama for CBS, which officially unveiled Trevor Immelman as its new lead analyst replacing Sir Nick Faldo, who retired. Faldo’s one-liners will be missed.
Homa put together a solid final round to win the Farmers, overcoming a five-shot deficit to win by two. His iron play and putting was totally on point. Okay, I’m biased since I picked him.
The California Kid was a well-deserving winner (my bias is still showing), but had he lost I doubt any other golfer would have been willing to do one of these wireless conversations going forward. I’m not even sure why any pro golfer would do it; there’s simply too much at stake with money and rankings. That said, I’d bet on Harry Higgs (TaylorMade TP5x) to volunteer because he has an entertaining and engaging personality, which is definitely needed to do something like that.
So kudos to Homa.
I felt sorry for Sam Ryder (Srixon Z-Star), who is still searching for his first PGA Tour win. He played solidly, albeit conservatively, to lead for three rounds, but it caught up to him in the final round and it was actually sad to see him implode with multiple bogeys.
He won’t be the first player to come undone when the pressure mounts. Look what happened to Collin Morikawa (TaylorMade TP5) in the Sentry?
As an aside, I’m picking Matthew Fitzpatrick (Titleist Pro V1x) to win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He finished tied for sixth last year. Most recently he placed seventh in the Sentry and I think he has developed into one of the top, young players in the world. I’m sure Jordan Spieth (Titleist Pro V1x) will have recovered from his collapse in the Sony Open and be ready to rock in this tournament, in which he finished second last year to Tom Hoge (Titleist Pro V1) and won in 2017.