‘I Don’t Need To Be Better Than I Am’ - The Approach That Saw Homa Come Of Age On ‘Dream’ Masters Friday With Woods

Homa is in contention for a first Major heading into the weekend at The Masters

Tiger Woods shakes hands with Max Homa on the 18th green during the second round of the 2024 Masters
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Max Homa had a “special” Friday at the 2024 Masters. Not only is he likely to be in the last group on Saturday after rounds of 67 and 71, but he also had a front-row seat for the latest odds-defying display in the storybook career of Tiger Woods.

The group of Homa, Woods and Jason Day had to play 23 holes after a two-and-a-half-hour delay for thunderstorms on day one and battled strong, swirling winds that wreaked havoc on Augusta National.

That put Woods, who has only completed 72 holes twice since his infamous car crash more than three years ago, at a significant disadvantage.

Yet despite all the factors stacked against him, the 48-year-old displayed his fabled grit to follow up an opening 73 with a level-par 72 to make a record-setting 24th consecutive cut at The Masters.

For Homa, who grew up idolising Woods and whose first golfing memory is of that iconic scene on the 18th green in 1997, it was a ‘pinch me’ moment.

“It really is a dream to get to play with him here,” the American said. “I've been saying, I always wanted to just watch him hit iron shots around here, and I was right up next to him. It was really cool.

“His short game was so good. I don't think I can explain how good some of the chip shots he hit today were. He's special.

“We had a really quick turnaround, and if I was feeling tired and awful, I imagine he was feeling even worse.

“He understands this golf course so well, but he hits such amazing golf shots. His iron play is so good that even when he did miss the green, you could tell he had so much control. And on 18, we had sandblasts for 45 seconds, and I turned around five times so I didn't get crushed in the face, and he's standing there like a statue and then poured it right in the middle.

“So all the cliches you hear about him and all the old stories about how he will grind it out, it was fun to see that in person.”

Many in that position would be overawed by the occasion. Homa himself was perhaps guilty of that when the pair were grouped together for the first two rounds of the 2022 Open at St Andrews.

But the 33-year-old is channelling a new perspective on the golf course. The six-time PGA Tour winner has been his own harshest critic of past performances in Majors. With just one top 10 in 17 appearances, there is no getting away from the fact he’s underachieved on the sport’s biggest stages.

He has spoken previously of putting more pressure on himself when the stakes are at their highest but said he has learnt acceptance and patience through a renewed commitment to journaling.

Asked why he felt he has been so successful through two rounds of the first men’s Major of the year, he said: “I would give most of that to those thoughts just of not needing to be better than I am. I wrote something in my journal yesterday that said however good I am is however good I am, I don't need to try to be better than I am, and just see where that takes me.

“Maybe it's winning this and maybe it's not, and I'm okay with that.

“I know what I put into this game, trying to get every ounce back doesn't really work, and I've tried that part.

“So I just feel like so much of it has been just from making golf swings that feel good to me. They are not always the right one, I would say, for what maybe a commentator would look at, but picking the right ones.”

He’ll need a few more of them if he is to don the Green Jacket come Sunday evening, but whatever happens, the 2024 Masters already feels like it’s been a coming of age for Homa.

Andrew Wright
Freelance News Writer

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he decided to go freelance and now covers a variety of topics for Golf Monthly. 

Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.

As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.

What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Mizuno mp32 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x