Max Homa wanted this Presidents Cup more than anyone

Max Homa wanted this Presidents Cup more than anyone

Lacey Homa was brushing her teeth when the baby arrived.

No, not that baby, the boy she and husband Max expect in early November, whom they have already named (it’s not yet public). Not the baby whom, if you follow Max on social media, you know he’s crazy about already. No, this pertained to the delivery of that other bundle of joy he has nurtured and obsessed over for most of this year: a berth on the US Presidents Cup Team.

It was 10:30 pm and they’d just gotten back from dinner at Tamarind Thai in Atlanta. They were in their hotel room, and Lacey was about ready to call it a day.

“Max was on the phone,” she said, “and I wondered who it was at that hour, but he was sort of giggling, and that’s when I knew who it was, and that it was official.”

It would be hard to overstate the importance Homa put on making the US squad that will take on the Internationals at Quail Hollow Club this week. He had won twice last season (Fortinet Championship, Wells Fargo Championship) and advanced to the TOUR Championship for the first time. He thought he’d done enough, so when US Captain Davis Love III called to make it official on the eve of the TOUR Championship, he was ecstatic and relieved.

“It was odd when I got the phone call,” he said at last week’s Fortinet Championship in Napa, California, where he picked up his fifth PGA TOUR victory when he pitched in from 33 feet and Danny Willett three-putted from 3 1/ 2 on the last hole. “I still felt so much relief and happiness because for a month I would talk to Joe (Greiner, his caddy) all the time and he was like, ‘You’re on the team, you made it.’ But I was like, ‘But have I made it?’”

He had, and the exhilaration and relief spread to everyone in his inner circle.

“I don’t think anybody on the team talked about making the team more than Max,” Lacey said. “I’ve never seen him will something into existence, but he might have done that. He’d been fitted for a Ryder Cup uniform last year – a lot of people are – but he didn’t finish the season that well, so all this year it was: ‘I am making that Presidents Cup team.’”

A new level of self-belief

Homa was skeptical of his own greatness, and it fell to his coach, Mark Blackburn, and Greiner to keep selling him on it. But making it to the TOUR Championship – he tied for fifth with 2013 Walker Cup and 2022 Presidents Cup teammate Justin Thomas – and making the US Team that will be favored at Quail Hollow has added new layers to his growing self-belief. He’s been ratified, certified, validated. Homa was the betting favorite to successfully defend his title at the Fortinet, and when it was over, he admitted there was a time that would have freaked him out. Not anymore. He just won, baby.

“Oddly, it felt OK,” he said Sunday. “It didn’t feel like too much pressure.”

Earlier in the week, he was asked if he could write a letter to his former self, the guy who finished T9 at the 2013 Open in his first PGA TOUR start, what he would say. Tears well in his eyes. “Keep going, I think,” said Homa, who along with Sam Burns, Billy Horschel and Cameron Young will be one of four true rookies on the US Team. (Collin Morikawa and Scottie Scheffler haven’t played a Presidents Cup but were on the 2021 US Ryder Cup team.)

“If I had to write a letter … and say you’re going to make a Presidents Cup team, that would have been like almost unthinkable,” he continued, “but the beauty of this game is that you go one shot at a time , one range ball at a time, and you add up, I don’t know, almost like a million golf balls I’ve hit since then, and you can like quantify it and you can say, dang, like, I made this .

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