Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

Three of the next four PGA Tour events will take place in the state of California. That’s great news for United States television viewers in other time zones who get to enjoy a little prime time golf. It also seems to be great news for Max Homa.

I was reading the recent Data Golf newsletter about who has had success in California in recent years, and the following statement about Homa caught my eye.

Max Homa has won 4 times in 14 starts (29%) in California since 2020, averaging +2.3 SG per round. Outside of California he’s gained just 1 stroke/round.

Wait … what?!

Homa is Denny McCarthy outside of California but Tiger Woods when tournaments are played in his home state? So, I dug a little further into his finishes in PGA Tour events in the state of California over the last four years. Here’s what I found. 

2023

Fortinet Championship

T7

2023

Genesis Invitational

2

2023

Farmers Insurance Open

Win

2022

Fortinet Championship

Win

2022

Genesis Invitational

T10

2022

Farmers Insurance Open

MC

2021

Fortinet Championship

Win

2021

Genesis Invitational

Win

2021

Pebble Beach Pro-Am

T7

2021

Farmers Insurance Open

T18

2021

American Express

T21

2020Genesis InvitationalT52020Pebble Beach Pro-AmT142020Farmers Insurance OpenT92020American ExpressT48

That’s 10 top 10s in his last 15 PGA Tour starts in the state of California, including those aforementioned four victories. This is an incredible resume no matter who you are. And after sitting out the last few weeks following a T14 at The Sentry, Homa will try to back up last year’s victory at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines with another great showing in La Jolla, California.

There are reasons for this, of course. Riviera and Pebble Beach are places where iron play is considered paramount, and Homa is one of the best iron players in the world. Over the last two years, among players with at least 100 measured rounds, Homa is ranked No. 14 in the world in approach statistics.

As with most things in golf, though, the narrative in Homa’s head has influenced the way he has played. At least in this instance, that has been good.

“I think I see the bumps on the poa annua greens and I don’t cringe,” Homa said a few years ago. “I enjoy it. I know people are going to get frustrated, but I like that in a competition. Obviously, there’s some comfortability with the grass and how far the ball goes.”

There is comfortability everywhere, and now Homa has a chance over the next month to make a run toward the top of the Official World Golf Rankings. He’ll defend at Torrey — where he has three top 20s in his last four starts — this week before playing his second signature event of 2024 at Pebble Beach next week. Two weeks after that, he’ll play the third signature event at Riviera, where he has finished 2-T10-1-T5 in his last four starts. In that span, he’s gaining 3.25 strokes per round, which is by far the most of anyone with at least eight rounds played.

Homa is currently No. 7 in the OWGR. With Jon Rahm dropping from the rankings as a result of his move to LIV Golf, though, and three other players — Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele and Viktor Hovland — within striking distance, there’s a decent chance that Homa could be in the top three in the world when the Tour heads to Florida.

No. 3 in the world. That would have been inconceivable even four years ago. Then again, Homa’s insane run in the state of California would have, too.

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