Is Max Homa the best American men’s golfer right now? He wins again

Max Homa

Max Homa on Sunday after his win at the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

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Golf tournament and foreign country be damned, Max Homa thought to himself. Time to fire up the snark cannon. 

Justin Thomas, after all, had written this on Instagram, after his second round at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa: “Rounds of 72-66 here at @africasmajor. Have really enjoyed the course and the fans thus far! Looking forward to a great weekend.” 

Innocent enough. 

But Homa soon logged on.

“Guy’s saying ‘thus’ like he graduated college or something.”

Of course, Thomas hasn’t. Forever the comedian, Homa

But maybe, just maybe, he’s something more. 

Perhaps you foresaw it. (Foresaw! Big word there, too!) Dude was everything in college. (He graduated, from Cal.) He worked his way to the PGA Tour. He stumbled. That 2016-17 season, with 15 missed cuts in 17 events, was forgettable. But then Homa won, in 2019, at the Wells Fargo. Then twice in 2021, at historic Riv in L.A., right around where he grew up. Then twice last year, when he was also a Presidents Cup stud. He’s won once this year, when he was also a Ryder Cup bright spot for the Americans.

This week, he’s playing the Nedbank. Did you see him? He opened with rounds of 66, 68 and 69 at Gary Player Country Club. Sunday, he led entering the final round. Did you see his shot on the 596-yard, par-5 9th? From the right rough, from 240 out, with water fronting the green, Homa launched an iron that dropped just over the trouble, and he eagled from there. “That is a freaky, freaky golf shot,” longtime announcer Tony Johnstone said on the broadcast. Whew. What about the putt on the par-3 16th? Leading by two at this point, he dropped a 37-footer in the heart. Whew. Homa went on to win by four over Nicolai Hojgaard, a European Ryder Cupper, and by five over Thorbjorn Olesen.   

“It’s been a dream 10 or 11 days,” Homa said afterward. “It was a crazy day, I got off to such a great start and Thorbjørn was just playing unbelievable and kept pushing us along. Nicolai was playing phenomenal golf so it was fun. 

“It’s what you dream of, you want to be in the fight and it was fun to close it out at the end.” 

So where does that leave things? The list of players who have won four or more times over the past two years is a short one. On the PGA Tour, it had been Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler. And now Homa. 

And maybe, just maybe, Homa’s the best American men’s golfer going right now. 

Really? Don’t laugh. Scheffler, the world No. 1, has a rightful claim there. His results have been consistently great. But there have been well-documented putter struggles. He’s won twice this year, and the second was a biggie, the Players, back in March. 

If not him, is it Patrick Cantlay, the next highest-ranked American, at No. 5 overall? Maybe. More consistent excellence. But no wins this year. How about Xander Schauffele, who’s right behind Cantlay in the world rankings, at No. 6. Perhaps. Same story actually. He’s 23 for 23 on cuts made this year. But winless. There’s also Brian Harman, your Open Championship winner. And Wyndham Clark, your U.S. Open champ. And other stars.

There’s Brooks Koepka, too. He won the year’s second major, the PGA, in bulldozing Koepka fashion. He tied for second at the first, the Masters. He’s won once twice this year with LIV Golf, and once last year. Maybe it’s him. 

Or perhaps it’s Homa. 

He’s been next-to-nothing in the majors, so he’s probably not there yet. But success snowballs. His game plays everywhere, too. He’s a want-the-ball player. Last year’s Presidents Cup sticks out there. Sunday’s shot on 9 also does.  

“That’s one for the memory bank,” Homa said afterward of 9. “My coach, Mark Blackburn, always says you want to have a rolodex of things to be able to look back on in big moments and that’s what I’m going to take because it’s probably a shot that I definitely did not need to hit, but it felt like one of those like my caddie, Ben, said, it’s feel; if you feel good, let’s do it. I felt really good and it just came off perfect. It landed nicely and left myself a pretty easy putt.”

We’ll end things here with one more Instagram post. 

Here’s what Homa wrote Sunday, after his win. 

“Be the lion, not the impala.”

Part joke. Part declaration.   

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at