When a player such as Max Homa—talented but unproven on the PGA Tour—has a breakthrough win like the one he pulled off at the Wells Fargo Championship last weekend, it’s natural to look back and see if there was anything that might have foreshadowed the victory. For Homa, the possible tell came a week earlier at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
The 28-year-old former NCAA champion and amateur standout hadn’t hit a driver off the deck in competition since his junior golf days. But goaded a bit by his caddie, Joe Greiner, he gave it a shot twice at TPC Louisiana, and felt confident enough to try it again during the third round at Quail Hollow Club, where he knocked it 289 yards off the turf to easy up-and-down range for birdie on the par-5 10th hole.
“I didn’t know I could actually do it,” Homa told Golf Digest. “I hadn’t tried it in a tournament in 10 years or so, but [in New Orleans] I did it two days in a row on the par-5 18th and pulled it off well. That gave me a little bit of a feel for it, so I did it again this week at Quail Hollow. To pull it off you need to come in a little steeper to trap it a little bit, and try to hit a little bit of a cut.”
Homa said his recent switch to a 9.5-degree Titleist TS4 driver (which he put in his bag at the Valero Texas Open) has helped in being able to play the shot again. “The TS4 is a little easier to hit off the ground because it’s a slightly smaller head, so it sits a bit easier on the ground,” Homa says. “I still wouldn’t recommend most people try playing that shot. Heck, I don’t like doing it, but my caddie loves doing it so much that we’ve gone to it a few times when we’ve needed to. Still, I hope it doesn’t come up too often. That shot still gives me anxiety.”