Max Homa, the U.S. Open and the Final First rate Golf Story

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After a wounding week, Max Homa’s date with U.S. Open future is the homecoming story golf — and the USGA — badly wanted.

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LOS ANGELES — The cheers following Max Homa on Thursday didn’t appear to care concerning the greater image.

As Homa blasted his means round Los Angeles Nation Membership within the opening spherical on the U.S. Open, the noise adopted go well with, cascading over him in well mannered ovation after well mannered ovation. They chanted his identify. They celebrated.

The cheers didn’t appear to know concerning the PGA Tour’s pending merger with the Saudi Public Funding Fund. They didn’t appear to appreciate there was a grey cloud forged over the occasion (each metaphorical and, within the case of the marine layer, literal). They didn’t appear to grasp that the sanctity of professional golf’s future had been forged unsure.

And for a number of hours on Thursday, that was good. It was very good certainly.

This week has been referred to as, principally unofficially, the Homacoming. LA’s chosen golf son grew up simply miles from the grounds of this 12 months’s nationwide championship and spent a piece of his teenage and school years competing right here. He is aware of the format right here. He is aware of the course right here. He owns the course report right here (a 61 in 2013 that was briefly challenged on Thursday). After an emotional victory on the Genesis Invitational sparked a breakout 2022, LA appeared virtually too becoming a location for Homa’s first-career main championship.

However the Homacoming felt like an afterthought heading into event week. There have been too many inquiries to reply about the way forward for skilled golf, which had simply days earlier been broadsided by an settlement to flood the game with Saudi cash.

Homa, it turned out, was the proper candidate to reply a few of them. A member of the PGA Tour’s Participant Advisory Committee, Homa has became an unlikely messenger for Tour adjustments and tweaks in the course of the first a part of this unusual 2023 season. On Tuesday, although, he had as many questions as we did.

“I used to be on the telephone fairly a bit that Tuesday with gamers in a pair conferences, PAC assembly, no matter, and felt like I realized a ton,” Homa mentioned. “After which it was in each article on the planet, so I don’t assume I’m any extra educated about this.”


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However initially of such an vital week, there was one thing lovely about ignorance.

“It’s really good to be as confused as I’m right here as a result of I’m probably not desirous about it anymore,” he mentioned. “I’m prepared to simply go play golf.”

That turned out to be an exquisite edict, contemplating the circus that might quickly arrive.

On Thursday, Homa welcomed two separate fan golf equipment. The primary being his household, which made the drive simply 18 miles down the 101 from his native Valencia to LACC. The second being, within the phrases of his spouse, Lacey, “nearly everybody he is aware of” — a bunch of pals who got here in from all around the space to have fun Max’s huge week.

They caught near him in the course of the first a part of the event week. Homa walked along with his dad, John, throughout his apply rounds. He reminisced along with his mother, Bonnie, on their journey to the course for the 2017 Walker Cup. His pals organized tickets months upfront by his agent, Matt, and packed tightly collectively at a number of viewing spots all through the golf course.

He teed off on the primary gap at LACC shortly after 8 a.m. native time and was stunned to seek out the setting tame. Then he discovered the golf green, and the noise started.

“Proper after we began strolling down that fairway, it began to really feel like, I assume, it’s purported to,” Residence mentioned. “It was fairly cool listening to all of the ‘Go Bears!‘ and yelling out my hometown. It was superior.”

Homa shot a two-under 68 on Thursday, an effort that positioned him in seventh place on the finish of the morning wave, however will possible settle additional down the leaderboard by the point the solar units. However then once more, rating wasn’t very related on Thursday for these following Max Homa. It usually isn’t when there’s an opportunity to root on the hometown child.

“The benefit I’ve is that I’m very, very comfy on this metropolis,” Homa mentioned. “I’m with family and friends and it simply is a brief journey and all that.”

Finally, probably the most putting piece of Homa’s Thursday was that it wasn’t putting in any respect. It felt like a Thursday at a serious championship for one of many event favorites. Life, for the second, had gone on.

The state of affairs in professional golf isn’t going anyplace anytime quickly. However there are solely three days left in Max Homa’s homecoming, and for the second, chunk of these at LACC really feel that takes priority.

Perhaps it’s silly to overlook about what occurred so shortly. However then once more, perhaps there’s one thing to be mentioned about forgetting. Typically, as Homa is aware of, the troubles of the longer term are greatest apprehensive about sooner or later.

“I assume simply trying again, 10 years in the past, as a lot as I most likely noticed the expectation and hopes, it was simply a lot much less vital than a U.S. Open. On the time the PAC-12 Championship felt like the most important factor on the planet and that is fairly a bit greater,” he mentioned. “However we’re golfers and we deal with each occasion prefer it’s a serious, particularly in school, so I assume not an excessive amount of has modified.”

Not an excessive amount of. Nicely, aside from one factor.

“Just a few extra folks following our group.”

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is a information and options editor at GOLF, writing tales for the web site and journal. He manages the Scorching Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and makes use of his on-camera expertise throughout the model’s platforms. Previous to becoming a member of GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse College, throughout which period he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Lengthy Island, the place he’s from. He will be reached at james.colgan@golf.com.

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