Ahead of the start of the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf Club this Friday, we have decided to profile the eight rookies from both teams. Up first for the USA, Max Homa.
Home town: Burbank, California
It has been said in recent times that the term rookie, which used to hold more weight, is now merely just a dictionary definition and there may be no one who epitomises this more than Max Homa.
Homa was born into a Jewish family in Burbank, California and he attended Valencia High School in the Santa Clarita valley in Southern California. In 2008 Homa was selected to represent Southern California on the Junior America’s Cup team and two years later he reached the quarter-finals where he lost to reigning champion and teammate An Byeong-hun.
Homa then played college golf at University of California, Berkeley on scholarship where he earned a degree in Consumer Behaviour and became very successful on the golf course. In his junior year Homa was a division I All-American and in 2012 as a senior he won the Pac-12 Championship with a course record opening round of 61 for a nine-under at 2023 US Open venue Los Angeles Country Club, which was also the joint lowest round posted in the US. He ended the year ranked the 50th best amateur in the world, 18th in the US.
In 2013 Homa competed as an amateur at the 2013 US Open at Merion Country Club. In the same year he won the individual NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship and after being selected on the 2013 Walker Cup team, he turned pro after the event. In October 2013, Homa made an impressive debut on the PGA Tour, finishing in a tie for ninth at the Frys.com open and at the end of the year he qualified for the 2014 Web.com tour season, finishing sixth at qualifying school.
In May 2014 Homa won his first pro event on the Web.com Tour at the BMW Charity Pro-am and finishing 17th on the Web.com Tour money list, earned his card for the 2014/15 PGA Tour season. In his first season Homa entered 27 events, making 12 cuts and won just over $380,000. The Californian finished 160rd in the FedEx Cup rankings, losing his tour card but regained his card the next season after the Rust-Oleum Championship on the Web.com Tour, coming from seven shots back to take the title.
Homa’s PGA Tour career had a rocky start, losing his tour card again in 2017 after a decidedly poor season. Homa hilariously tweeted during this horror season: “Had a few caddies hit me up recently hoping to team up. They heard they usually get weekends off which is apparently a great selling point.” This sense of humour has characterised Homa’s career making him a fan favourite and one of the funniest when it comes to social media engagement.
After gaining his tour card for the third time at the end of the 2018 season, Homa was not about to make 2019 another case of deja vu. In May 2019, Homa won the Wells Fargo Championship by three shots over his good friend Joel Dahmen, claiming his first PGA Tour victory. As a result Homa received a two-year extension on his PGA Tour card and exemptions into the Masters and PGA Championship, his first majors as a professional.
Homa continued his good form in 2021, winning the prestigious Genesis Invitational in a play-off over Tony Finau and followed that up with his second win in 2021 at the Fortinet Championship, the first event of the 2021/22 season. When it rains, it pours and 2022 was the year of repeats for Homa. In May he successfully defended his Wells Fargo title and four months later he began the 2022/23 season by taking back-to-back Fortinet Championship titles in Napa Valley, California.
Homa is no stranger to the match play stage as he was part of Team USA in the 2022 Presidents Cup, going 4-0 with formidable partnerships with Tony Finau and Billy Horschel and defeating in-form rookie Tom Kim in the singles. Homa is expected to partner fellow California Berkeley Bear Collin Morikawa at this years Ryder Cup after the two formed a formidable partnership in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
In January 2023, Homa won the 2023 Farmers Insurance Open, shooting a final-round six-under-par 66 for a two-shot win over Keegan Bradley. After the BMW Championship in August, Homa qualified for his first ever Ryder Cup in fifth place on the team USA standings, booking his place on the plane to Rome where he hopes to show that the word rookie carries little meaning in today’s world.