National

Masters: Max Homa, fan favorite and finally a contender in a major

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Max Homa has done some pretty cool stuff here this week.

He got to take his 17-month-old son, Cam, into Augusta National’s famed Butler Cabin for the first time. He got to play the first two rounds of the Masters with his childhood idol, Tiger Woods. And he got to hear his name — “Max! Max! Max!” — bellow from the Augusta galleries during Saturday’s third round, a 1-over 73 that puts him in third place and two shots off the lead heading into Sunday.

The Masters patrons have a new favorite: a 33-year-old California-born Jewish man and social media star whose cheeky, self-deprecating humor often ends in viral moments on his favorite platform, X.

If you don't already know Max Homa, find his X account (he's got more than 653,000 followers) and feast your eyes on an array of posts fit for a comedian, such as this one from March:

Maybe that’s about to change?

Wife and child in tow here at Augusta, Homa is having the best major championship of his career. As mentioned by that “clown” he referenced, Homa’s struggles in the majors are well documented: In 17 major tournaments, he’s missed nine cuts and has finished in the top-10 once (10th at last year’s Open Championship).

Here at Augusta, he’s finished 43rd, 48th and missed the cut twice. But things are different this week. He’s got as many under-par rounds this week (2) as he had in the previous 12 rounds here. Sunday, he'll be in the penultimate group, with a legitimate shot to win his first major.

And he shows no signs of backing down. After the round, he referred to himself as a “dog.”

“I’m ready for this moment,” he said.

The fans are ready for him, too, it appears. He seems to have made thousands of close friends here, his name echoing across the golf course as he completed a rather unusual round: one bogey and 17 pars. He made pressure-packed up-and-downs on the 10th and 18th holes, missed three birdie putts inside of 15 feet (Nos. 9, 15 and 17) and recovered from a handful of wayward drives.

All the while, each walk up the fairway, each arrival at a tee box, each step onto a green, the gallery roared.

“Max! Max!” they chanted.

“Max! Max!” they yelled.

Who is this Max and why are Augusta’s famed galleries embracing him?

Maybe look to X, of all things.

He’s gained traction on social media for his comedic replies to fans who tweet him videos of their swing. While it started with them asking for advice, it’s turned into them enticing him into saucy responses.

One man recently sent him a video of him swinging at a driving range. Homa replied, “Bet u made some lefties turn to righties so they didn’t have to look at u while they practiced.”

In another video, a man rips a drive with his phone tucked behind the tee on the ground level. Homa’s reply: “Since u already dug a little hole for ur phone just finish the burial process so u never have to look at this again.”

They go on and on.

One man sent Homa a video of him hitting inside a virtual reality booth. “How we lookin?” the guy asked.

"Like a Dick's Sporting Goods driver salesmen's wet dream," Homa replied.

Through social media, he lets the world into his life. Remember, he’s a new dad. He’s experiencing new dad stuff.

“My 1 year old likes rotini pasta but not penne,” he posted in January. “Where was that chapter in the parenting books?”

In his latest post on Wednesday, a day before he teed up at the Masters, Homa is seen in a video rolling a Chipotle burrito (not very well).

As of 8 p.m. Saturday, about 18 hours before he tees up, Homa had been silent on X. We anxiously await his next post.

Will it be a celebratory post about his first major title win? Or a self-deprecating comment about his major championship skid?

Homa does seem confident even if he is nervous. He began Saturday’s third round as a nervous wreck, he said. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“I think that's the thing,” he said. “I was really nervous on 18 and put it right in the middle (off the tee). Just because you're nervous and uncomfortable doesn't mean you're not going to succeed.”

He acknowledges that he’s endured mental troubles in the majors before. Trying too hard. Doing too much. He’s started to journal, a way to compose his thoughts.

Before this tournament, he scribbled a message to himself in that journal: However good I am is however good I am. I don't need to try to be better than I am.

“I’ll see where that takes him,” he said.

It’s taken him here, of all places, the best place really: in contention on Sunday at Augusta, where he’s got thousands of new best friends.