How Max Homa started to believe he’s one of the world’s best players

From October 2016 to August 2017, Max Homa missed the cut in 15 of the 17 PGA Tour events he played in. After regaining his card on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2018, Homa finally broke through with his first win at the 2019 Wells Fargo Invitational. Now, just over two years later, Homa has three Tour wins on his resume after adding the 2021 Genesis Invitational in February, and the 2021 Fortinet Championship in September.

Homa is now ranked 32nd in the world and is one of the game’s rising stars. During his appearance on this week’s episode of Subpar, hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz asked Homa if, with three wins under his belt, he finally believes that he’s one of the best players in the world.

“I actually am starting to believe. I really did start to believe it too after the Genesis even,” Homa said. “It’s just, it’s still practice for me. I don’t know what it is, I just kind of deal with lower self esteem when it comes to golf. I guess this is kind of deep in a way, but like, I wasn’t a world-beater in college until my senior year, so it caught late, so now all the sudden I got catapulted in this category leaving college with like Justin Thomas, and to me, Justin, my whole time in college, and even before he was in college, he was the dude, right. So I didn’t really feel like I belonged there. I should have told myself I did, but I didn’t. And then I kind of teetered off. And then it’s just been a slow grind back.

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“But after the Genesis I really put it in perspective a little more,” Homa continued. “I was like, dude, you just won a golf tournament. I played Saturday and part of Sunday with DJ, who was World No. 1. When I won Wells Fargo, I played with Rory, who I think was World No. 1. So I started trying to tell myself — and it’s a huge testament to my wife Lacey, [my caddie] Joe [Greiner], and [coach] Mark [Blackburn], because that’s their big thing. I let Mark in, I was like, hey buddy, I struggle with this. And he just like wears me out. He’s tries to tell me, hey man, you’re better than you’re telling yourself you are. It’s hard for me. That’s definitely my biggest difficulty. I have to see the results. And I’m trying start to do it without seeing the results, so that’s helping a little bit.”

Homa also reflected on the difference in mindset between college golf and competing on the PGA Tour.

“In college, when I was kind of the dude for a little bit, like, you can look around a range and you’re not even tripping about a single person out there,” Homa said. “You know who you are. When you get to the PGA Tour, it’s just so hard to do that. You’re looking around at these guys who you’ve either watched or you are competing against who just are kicking your a–. And you’re like, how am I supposed to have that feeling again? But I’m getting the feeling where I play with the people and I’m not nearly as overwhelmed with it. And that for me has been a big confidence boost. To be able to just kind of feel like I’m the old me in a way, and being like hey, you know, you’re really good, I’m really good. Let’s go play.”

For more from Homa, including how he learned to trick the rookies in player dining and his thoughts on the PGA Tour’s Player Impact Program, check out his full interview below. Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on