WEB.COM TOUR INSIDER
Max Homa gets back on track in Q-School
November 08, 2017
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Max Homa finished T15 at his Second Stage site in Murrieta, California. (Marianna Massey/Getty Images)
It was a struggle for Max Homa after his victory on the Web.com Tour in the summer of 2016, and that continued through his 2016-17 season on the PGA TOUR, as he missed the cut in 10 of his final 12 events on the Web.com Tour and 15 of 17 events on the TOUR.
But a quick call to longtime friend Justin Thomas, along with reconnecting with his old coach, has turned things around for the 26-year-old.
Homa, who played with Thomas on the 2013 Walker Cup team, says when he was struggling in the middle of the TOUR season he called up Thomas and asked for some advice, saying Thomas has always been a good guy to him.
And watching him succeed has encouraged him to get back to the biggest stage in golf alongside his friend.
“He should be doing what he did last year and it’s fun to watch. I’d love to get out there and play against him again but in the meantime I don’t mind watching him win on TV. It’s pretty cool,” says Homa.
The University of California at Berkeley alum got through Second Stage of Q-School last week and will tee it up in Final Stage at the beginning of December. Although it was not the wintertime plan he had envisioned when he earned TOUR status via The 25 last summer, he’s accepted this is the path he’ll have to take.
“The last few months have kind of sucked, to be completely frank,” he says with a laugh. “I guess you just hit a point where you realize this is just the task at hand. It’s not great that that’s what it was, I would rather my challenge be to win a major or something, not to get through Second Stage of Q-School again, but you need to recognize in your head that this is what’s next, and you have to suck it up and work hard at it and treat it like it’s whatever your dreams were.”
Homa says he tried to make it feel like he was 21 again at Q-School and be excited about the process, but he admitted he would be lying if he said he was ‘pumped’ to have to return to Q-School again.
Although Homa explains he wasn’t hurt during the last 16 months or so, a bad finish on the Web.com Tour led into a rough start on the PGA TOUR, and he says there wasn’t any time for him to turn a corner.
“I needed a month or so to get my golf game going again and get back to things. Halfway through the season I switched back to my coach from college and there was just a lot going on,” explains Homa. “People forget that athletes… I have a real life at home and some things weren’t the best, and it was just a lot. You don’t realize when you’re doing it, but when I sat back and realized, there was just a lot of stuff going on.”
Homa says he managed to ‘stop the bleeding’ thanks to a return to his coach from his hometown of Valencia, California, Les Johnson.He’s not a guy that just hangs and gets a bunch of 20th-place finishes and makes a living. He’s a winner.
Johnson first started working with Homa during his sophomore year of college, and after a two-year break, they picked things up again about five months ago.
“In the back of my mind, I knew if he came back in we could get it back on track,” says Johnson, who was with Homa during his Second Stage Q-School event. “It took a while and now he’s really starting to hit it well.”
Johnson says Homa had lost track of what was making the ball do what it was doing, and he got him back to understanding that first, before working on Homa’s move itself. Once the pair got back to that, it was off to the races for Homa at Second Stage.
The longtime instructor believes Homa has the mental fortitude to get back to the PGA TOUR sooner rather than later, now that his swing is starting to resemble what it was before last season. Mentally, Johnson says, Homa is one of the strongest guys out there.
“The guy is just a winner. When he came back in (to see me), I felt like he had forgotten that,” says Johnson. “He’s on a golf course and he hits a ball that goes 60 yards to the right and all of a sudden he’s questioning if he’s that guy. What I’ve been trying to stress to him is that once he starts hitting the ball well, he’ll remember who he is.
“He’s not a guy that just hangs and gets a bunch of 20th-place finishes and makes a living. He’s a winner.“
Homa says he’ll head to Final Stage with hopeful optimism that he’ll find the winner’s circle, but will adjust his objective depending on how he plays, admitting sometimes – and especially at Q-School – you can’t go for broke every time, sometimes, he says, you have to go for position.
“If I’m anywhere near the lead, then (winning) will continue to be the mindset, but there has to be some thinking if it’s the final round. If you’re in 30th you have to play a little bit different. It’s one of those things where you play it by ear and see how things are going.”
And although Homa isn’t in the same position as his friend Thomas competing for major championships – or even on the TOUR itself – something bigger has happened to the two-time Web.com Tour winner: he feels excited again.
“I feel like my golf swing and my golf game are surprisingly as good as it’s ever been,” he says. “I feel like I’ve had all the stuff settled in my life and in my brain so I know what I’m doing. I’m looking forward to the season. I wish it was on the PGA TOUR but I’m looking forward to these challenges and hopefully getting back up there hopefully this season.”