SoCal native Max Homa won The Genesis Invitational at Riviera. (Courtesy The Genesis Invitational)
Five things we learned about Genesis champ Max Homa from his Wiki page
Los Angeles has long been known as the City of Angels, but in the last six months it can also lay claim to the title “City of Champions.” First it was the Lakers winning the Covid-delayed NBA Finals in October for the first time in a decade, followed 16 days later by the Dodgers taking home their first World Series trophy since 1988.
For golf fans, the holy trinity was achieved when SoCal native Max Homa captured The Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club on February 21, becoming the first hometown kid to win the city’s revered PGA Tour stop since John Merrick did it in 2013.
Homa, 30, earned his second win on the PGA Tour after a two-hole playoff with Tony Finau following rounds of 66-70-70-66 (272). After missing a three-footer for birdie on the 72nd hole to win in regulation, Homa made a remarkable par save from the base of a tree on the opening playoff hole, the diabolical 10th, then made a par 3 on the 14th hole as Finau bogeyed from a greenside bunker.
The Genesis Invitational winner Max Homa with event host Tiger Woods. (Courtesy The Genesis Invitational)
That resulted in him being presented the tournament trophy by event host Tiger Woods, who he grew up idolizing and watching at Riviera. In fact, as broadcasters mentioned several times throughout the Sunday telecast, Homa had been attending the tournament pretty much on a regular basis since he was 2 years old perched on the shoulders of his dad.
A few hours after the victory, Homa tweeted: “I spent over a dozen years trying to get Tiger to give me a high 5 at Riviera and today he handed me a trophy hahaha what a world!”
We took a closer look at Homa’s lifetime in the game by diving into his Wikipedia page, and here are five things we learned:
Homa’s first PGA Tour victory came in 2019 at the Wells Fargo Championship. (Courtesy X-Golf America)
Homa was born in Burbank and attended Valencia High School in the Santa Clarita Valley. In high school, he was a four-time first-team All-Foothill League selection and 2009 Foothill League MVP, graduating that same year.
He grew up playing at Vista Valencia Golf Course (where the most expensive tee time runs just $43.50), and met his caddie, Joe Greiner, when he was six years old.
Homa is a huge fan of the Lakers and Dodgers. Legendary Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda made a promise to him in 2015 that he would call him when he won his first PGA Tour event, and made good on that promise following the 2019 Wells Fargo Championship.
Fellow Cal alumni Aaron Rodgers had fun introducing Homa prior to the Charles Schwab Challenge.
From SoCal to the Bay Area
Homa attended the University of California, Berkeley on scholarship. He won the Pac-12 Championship in 2013 following an opening-round nine-under-par 61, breaking the course record at the North Course at Los Angeles Country Club. He was named a first-team All-American and to the All-Nicklaus Team by the Golf Coaches Association of America.
He has become friends with another noted Cal alumni – Super Bowl XLV winner and three-time NFL Most Valuable Player Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, who had some fun virtually introducing Homa on the first tee of the Charles Schwab Challenge when the PGA Tour resumed back in June.
The two text after nearly every round, and Rodgers tweeted a note of congratulations after Homa’s win at Riviera.
Homa first met his boyhood idol on the driving range during the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion.
Homa won the individual 2013 NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship in a field that included future PGA Tour pros Jon Rahm, Daniel Berger and others. He competed as an amateur in the U.S. Open later that month at Merion Golf Club after earning his spot through a qualifier in Newport Beach. It was there he first encountered his boyhood idol on the range.
Homa went on to play in the Walker Cup in September, and turned pro after that event. He made his professional debut on the PGA Tour on a sponsor's exemption in October 2013 at the Frys.com Open in the Bay Area, finishing tied for ninth.
Homa hosts a weekly podcast with golf broadcaster Shane Bacon called "Get A Grip."
Homa has more than 230,000 followers on Twitter (@maxhoma23), and is considered one of the “best follows” in golf. That’s because he’s often funny, irreverent, and comes off as a regular guy, while some other athletes seem as if their tweets are written by their PR people or agents.
Just one example of his dry humor came in 2017, when he tweeted, “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.”
In the era of being able to control your own public perception without relying on traditional media to do so, Homa has fully embraced the role. He hosts a weekly podcast with golf broadcaster Shane Bacon called "Get A Grip," which is described as “a golf-centric podcast making light of a rather stuffy sport with legitimate insight into the game. It’s essentially the public golf course of podcasts.”
Academy Award-winning actress Brie Larson has taken acting lessons from Max's dad, John Homa.
Inside the Actors Studio
And finally, as if Homa wasn’t “L.A.” enough, it turns out his father, John, is an accomplished Los Angeles acting coach. The elder Homa has worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including 2016 Best Actress Oscar winner Brie Larson, Kirsten Dunst, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Michele Williams, Evan Rachael Wood and Ricky Martin.
The elder Homa recently spoke with golf.com's Michael Bamberger, and had this to say when comparing golf to acting:
“Stillness is so important to both the actor and the golfer,” he told Bamberger. “Not still rigid. Not stiff. You’re still and you’re relaxed. In both things, you find freedom through structure.”
Father knows best, indeed.
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Greetings, fellow golfers, and welcome to SoCal Golf Insider! We are Rob Lyon and Eric Marson and we've been reporting and writing about the game throughout the region since 1995. Here, we will provide you with the latest news, features, reviews and more on all things golf in Southern California. Let’s tee it up!
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