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February 12, 2014

Max Homa


MARK STEVENS:  Like to welcome Max Homa, you're going to make your first start here at the Northern Trust Open, kind of right near your hometown, if you want to talk about your thoughts on that, and if you ever came out as a kid and watched.
MAX HOMA:  I've been to this event at least 18 times.  It's really a big honor for me to play.  I was joking around the last few minutes about being inside the ropes instead of outside, it's pretty weird, but I'm really happy to play here.  I'm about 45 minutes from home.  I feel really lucky to get to tee it up.  This is my fifth major to be honest.
We had nationals here for college two years ago and I have probably played separately three other times, so about ten sometimes now.

Q.  How do you feel the course sets up to your game?
MAX HOMA:  I think it sets up really well.  You have to hit it well out here.  I usually hit my irons pretty well and there's a lot of kind of mid‑ to long‑iron shots out here.  I also think it's good just because I know this grass pretty well.  It's different.  It's kind of like when you go to Florida and it's bermuda.  There's kind of a hometown feel to it, so I feel comfortable chipping around the different kikuyu lies, so I think that bodes well for me.

Q.  This is a big deal in the Valencia community with both you and Gore out here?
MAX HOMA:  It's pretty cool.  I just saw him for the first time, got to talk to him a little bit.  He was bummed we weren't playing together but it's a nice little buzz.  I was home yesterday and a lot of people are talking about it.  I think it will bring a good amount of people out.
I mean, just for both of us, I know he's played in this event before, but I think it has a special place in his heart, as well, so it's cool we both get to do it together.  He's like a big brother to me, so it's kind of cool to see how we both fare.

Q.  How long did it take to you get to the course this morning?
MAX HOMA:  I slept here last night, so 12 minutes.

Q.  Are you guys carpooling?
MAX HOMA:  That's a good question.  Maybe we will.  We haven't talked about it but we could.  We've done it before, so I wouldn't put it past us.

Q.  Based on what happened, how you did at Torrey Pines and Pebble, what did you learn from those two experiences?  How are you going to take that?
MAX HOMA:  I learned a lot about preparation.  I thought Torrey and Pebble were really difficult for me because I had never played Torrey.  I had only played the courses at Pebble once, each, so that was five practice rounds in what you get in about six days.  So I kind of need to learn how to space out my time and figure things out a little bit better.
It doesn't really change much here just because it's one course but I did learn that there's going to be some struggles as far as that goes in the future, and then I just learned about how golf courses are setup.  Torrey was as hard a golf course as I had played and think a lot of people had.  You have to understand that the things you hear about a golf course can change by how they set it up out here.

Q.  What's your schedule like after this event?
MAX HOMA:  I have a couple weeks off.  I may go do the Monday qualifier at Honda and then I have a couple more sponsor's spots, and then I'm waiting for the Web.com season to come back up to the States.  I might be playing in Panama, but it's been kind of a whirlwind, so I'm still kind of figuring it out.

Q.  You've attended this tournament a number of times; what's your fondest memory?
MAX HOMA:  There's a few.  I was here for the six‑ to eight‑man playoff that only took one hole.  I thought that was pretty interesting.  I was sitting there in the rain.
Actually one of the fonder moments was when it moved back to Valencia for one year when the PGA was here in '95.  And I think that was the year Tiger lost to Billy Mayfair, and I'm a big fan of Tiger's and I remember waiting for him to come back around for the playoff, and it ended on 10.  I actually just saw Billy Mayfair last week; I always thought he was the reason I didn't get to met Tiger for some reason.  I was five years old.  It was funny to see Billy Mayfair and meet him and he's actually a nice guy.

Q.  Did you tell him that story?
MAX HOMA:  No, I was kind of worried (laughs).  I'm still new out here.

Q.  I know that you're on social media; how does that play into your game or does it affect you because of all the people talking to you?  You obviously have a lots of Tweets when you qualified or were accepted to the event?
MAX HOMA:  I don't think it affects me in a negative way at all.  It's kind of fun seeing all the support.  I think that's the whole purpose of having a sponsor's exemption is to build a buzz.  I saw what Jason Gore did with it two years ago.  It's fun but I'm sure it's not always going to be great.  I see what people like Fowler have to deal with it.  But my generation is kind of the one that started all the madness.
It's cool to be able to show what I get to do, because if I was on the outside looking in, I'd kind of want to see what the inside looks like.  So I think it's just all good fun and I kind of look forward to that building in the future.

Q.  I was curious, you said you slept here last night, just curious‑‑
MAX HOMA:  On the 18th green.  (Laughter) No, I was staying in Santa Monica for the week just because the drive is too much.  Thursday night I could technically sleep at home but I didn't want to deal with‑‑ I know what can happen going down that hill on the 405. 

Q.  Moving on, what is it like for you I guess, it's early on, but what's it like, the TOUR life so far?  What's the adjustment compared to college?
MAX HOMA:  You're on your own a little bit more.  I find it good and bad.  It's good in the sense that I'm on my own schedule, and in college you're kind of on everyone else's schedule.  If someone wants to get to the course really early or late, that's kind of‑‑ you just have to roll with it.
So I kind of like getting to do what I want to do, leave when I want, get here when I want.  It's tough just because I'm still figuring stuff out on my own.  When you have a coach, you kind of just, you know, along for the ride, he tells you where to go, what to do.
So I'm still figuring that stuff out.  But I like it.  I think it's‑‑ well, I've played enough amateur golf events to kind of learn how to figure it out but your first year is going to be a little bit tricky but I think I'm figuring it out all right.  This is my fifth and I'm not having too many complications yet.

Q.  Talking about figuring things out, you're good friends with Jason Gore, but is there anyone else you seek advice from?
MAX HOMA:  Yeah, Russell Henley, I meet him at The Open this year, played a round with him.  He's been really nice.  He's kind of given me bits and pieces here and there.  Met Will MacKenzie at the Fry's, and he's‑‑ not even just advice, just kind of feeling welcome when you have someone you can say hi to.  Everyone's been pretty cool as far as welcoming me and kind of making me feel a little bit more at home.

Q.  What are your thoughts on Fred Couples' legacy here?  I think this is his 32nd start here, this is your first, so can you imagine‑‑ it's a place he loves; your thoughts on his legacy.  He's won twice here and playing here for the 32nd time.
MAX HOMA:  I think it's pretty great.  I got to meet him last night and he's everything people talk about.  He's a great guy.  It's cool, because I know he's‑‑ he's kind of made it home here, and he brings so much buzz to a golf tournament, especially here.  He's kind of Mr.Hollywood, if you would say that.
He's just a great guy.  I think that it's awesome that he's been so loyal to a golf tournament that I think gives back to him, as well, and I think that everything he's done for this event is just great.  Because I remember, when I think about this event, I know it's Hogan's Alley, but I think about Fred Couples and when you watch TV you always hear about his legacy here.  I think it's great he continues to come back and support.
MARK STEVENS:  Thanks for your time, Max.  Good luck this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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