May 23, 2023
Fort Worth, Texas, USA
THE MODERATOR: Max, thanks for joining us at the Charles Schwab Challenge here in Fort Worth. What's the week been like so far? Obviously kind of just getting the momentum going after last week and kind of just putting that behind you. Your game is trajecting on the right path. Just being here, what are you working on this week?
MAX HOMA: It was nice to get out and play a golf course that wasn't as hard as last week. So that was fun.
I played with Tony Finau today, and he said he hit a couple chips off the back of the 1st green and looked at his caddie and said, oh, I am good at chipping.
It was so difficult last week, so it's nice to come to an otherwise hard golf course, but it feels a lot simpler.
Yeah, didn't play great last week, but saw some good things. Had a good grind for four days. Looking forward to making less bogeys and more birdies. I love being at this event. It's one of my favorite golf courses all year. So it's always exciting to come to Fort Worth.
THE MODERATOR: It's currently the longest standing non-major event on PGA TOUR. Overall, what does it mean to you? Like you said, it's a special event to you. Why is that?
MAX HOMA: The tradition here is cool. Ben Hogan, Mr. Hogan has his clubs here. He made this place. Them two are synonymous, and that's special.
Obviously we come to a lot of pretty amazing places out here, and we're lucky to play some tremendous golf courses, but you add some of the history to it, it makes it even more special.
It's always a cool vibe here. The city turns out really nicely for it. It has some meaning to the area, which is cool. Again, when you come to a golf course you like and respect how it's laid out, that adds to, I think, a lot of people's love for this place.
So it's nice to see that it stands the test of time, and it's done such a good job of being a mainstay on this TOUR.
THE MODERATOR: Talking about last week, you're saying it's a very difficult course. There's someone that's joining you this week that kind of had a different story last week. He got the last exemption, Michael Block. Just being around that atmosphere last week and what he did, just what does it mean for the game and overall your thoughts on his performance?
MAX HOMA: It's awesome. I've known Michael for a little bit. He's a legend in Southern California. I played a professional golf tournament with him back in the day, I think it was the So Cal Open or the California Open.
It's always amazing to see someone who, if you go to the U.S. Amateur or the U.S. Mid-Am and you see those players, how great they are, and they have a job. I spend all my days here practicing golf. That's all I have to do, and he can still whup me real good.
It was amazing to see. Obviously that event has that attraction that 20 PGA professionals play, and to see him not only play great, but enjoy it so much and get appreciated by the fans and appreciated back, it was just -- it was refreshing.
Man, that hole-in-one -- I saw him today. I said that hole-in-one on 15, I was kind of side eyeing the TV, and it looked fake. I don't think you could have written that one. Even Tin Cup didn't go quite that far. They made him hit seven more balls before one went in. So that was pretty amazing.
Q. You mentioned how this is one of your favorite courses and how much you like the layout. Obviously next week they're going to start tearing it up and redoing it. Talk about what you know about that, and do you have any anxiety about that? What do you feel about that?
MAX HOMA: I don't know much of anything about that. Sorry. It's scary when you see a place that's so good layout-wise -- I don't know if they're changing the layout. So, yes, it gets you a little anxious for it, but I'm not going to sit here and say I'm an architect junkie. I'm sure they'll make some great decisions.
But I do think that they don't need to do much at all to this place. If you want to regrass it, that's one thing, but the holes themselves are awesome.
Q. Max, you called Michael Block a legend. What made him a legend, and why do you think his story last week resonated with so many people?
MAX HOMA: I just think that any time you have the teaching pros, the PGA professionals in your area, there's some that are -- you know, play some golf. Some don't really play much at all anymore. And then you have some people like Michael that are still tremendous at golf.
I think that's what kind of brings the legend of them around. You hear about these people. You see them. You play events with them. So I think that's where that comes from.
And just to go out last week and be -- it's a major. Everyone is as prepared as you could possibly be, and to go and beat basically everybody, all but 14 people, I mean, that's awesome. It shows you how much game he's got. It shows you his mental fortitude.
Again, as much as all that was impressive, just the joy he had while playing and all of that was -- I think that's what stuck out the most.
Q. Max, when did you first encounter Michael during your childhood in Orange County?
MAX HOMA: I think it was just my first -- that pro event I played was the first time we'd been around each other. I think the first round was at Arroyo Trabuco, which is where he teaches at. I'd seen his name. There's a lot of guys out there that their name will pop up, and you know they're not young because you don't see them at college or whatever.
So you try to -- you learn about what they do, figure it out, whatever. So we played, and I thought he was a really good player, and he kind of met like expectation. But that was the first time.
Obviously I don't live there anymore. I don't see him a ton. I'll see him at the TOUR events. I know he played San Diego this year, so I saw him there. And just keep up, you like to keep up with the people from kind of around where you're from. So I always root for those guys to do well.
I never really thought that that would happen, getting 15th at the PGA and all that. But as far as a human being, like he deserves that praise. He's always been super, super nice. Every time you're kind of around him -- even if we're not playing together in an event, he's a nice guy to go up to and say hi. He's just usually in a great mood and kind of just a joy to be around.
Q. What do you think his week has done for growing the game, not just in Southern California, but beyond that too?
MAX HOMA: It's always tricky, the grow the game thing, but he ruined it for the next PGA pro to get warm for two days at the PGA. You're going to see a guy in 20th next year, if it's not him, and there's a lot of expectation. If they don't dunk a hole-in-one -- I think it's what Tiger did to the rest of us (laughter).
But, yeah, I just think at its core is what golf's about. Kind of that any given Sunday thing. You go out there, you play your game, no one can play any defense, and you go show the world how great you are at golf. I think it got people excited to play. I think it got people excited to watch golf, especially him, and that's always going to be a good thing.
Q. What are some of the challenges or even benefits of playing the week after a major?
MAX HOMA: The benefits are the course feels easier. I don't know, it's tricky. Like after Augusta, I didn't have my game at Augusta, and then you go try to play that course for four days and find it, and that's just not ever really going to work too well.
You end up being so spent from the chase that I got to Hilton Head and I just didn't want to be there. I wanted to just go fix what I needed to work on. I just knew I needed a bit of time.
As much as missing that cut drove me crazy, it was nice to have a couple of days just to be by myself and work on some stuff with my coach and just get to tinker a little bit and feel right again by the next week.
But the benefits of it at times are you almost in a good way let your guard down. You learn so much in majors. Last week I learned so much about what I need to improve on, not just physically, but mentally. I think this provides a great opportunity to work on those things. Everything's under such a microscope at a major for yourself that you see where you got exposed, and you can put that to good use immediately, having this event for me right after that.
Q. What are some of those things you felt like you did learn last week that you're going to apply this week?
MAX HOMA: Just emotional discipline. Just too reactionary to subpar swings or bad breaks or missed putts, whatever it may be, bogeys. I'm sure I do that -- I know I do that on regular weeks, but I think you can almost like overcome that at times. The courses aren't as demanding. The field's not always as good, so you can kind of like skate by here and there. You get a little bit. It's just not as heightened.
So those are things you learn and you pick up on whereas sometimes I played well at the Wells Fargo a few weeks ago, and I was -- I thought I kind of like found that emotional discipline. I thought I was so good, and then you realize -- mentally, I mean, so good. Then you realize my next tournament was the PGA. I was so excited about how I found a little bit there. It's always something to work on.
So it's nice to -- physically you're tired after majors or whatever, but it's nice to get to go practice that this week and see it as a speed bump and not a brick wall.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks for joining us, Max. Play well.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports