In his latest blog, European Tour coach and co-author of The Lost Art of Putting dissects Max Homa's surprise win at Quail Hollow
With more and more statistics available than ever before, we now know that the age old cliche “Drive for show and putt for dough” doesn’t always ring true but sometimes it does.
The way the modern game is played, the players who tend to drive the ball long and (relatively) straight and hit their wedges close are generally found near the top of the leaderboard on professional tours around the world.
Week after week, we see big hitters filling our TV screens as we sit back and enjoy spectacular displays of ball striking from the likes of Dustin Johnson, Brooks Keopka and Rory McIlroy.
That said, it’s no use bombing it 350 and wedging it inside 10 feet if you can’t hole more putts.
I say little-known because until last week, he hadn’t done a whole lot in his short professional career to grab many headlines. I first heard of Homa when I listened to an excellent No Laying Up podcast last October, when he was the guest. What I learned from listening, is that Homa is an extremely humorous, self-deprecating and humble individual who sounds like he would be a lot of fun to be around.
After last week’s performance at the Wells Fargo, I think we can safely add fantastic putter to that list.
His strokes gained stats for the week were pretty impressive, perhaps with the exception of his short game where he ranked 41st, gaining 0.05 strokes on the field.
Homa by his own admission has had his issues with the driver over the last three or four years but last week, he was 18th best, gaining 2.82 strokes. His approach shots to the green were pretty good, ranking 12th, gaining 4.58 strokes.
It was on the greens where he made the biggest impact, leading the way in the putting stats, gaining an incredible 9.89 strokes. (Data courtesy of Golf Stats Coach.)
Any time you are No. 1 in Strokes Gained: Putting, you will have a pretty good chance of winning.
As we all know, there are no guarantees in golf but holing more putts than your fellow competitors never does any harm.
At the start of the week, Homa was ranked 417th in the world, so I doubt there would have been a whole lot of “smart” money riding on his performance.
Even on the morning of the final day, he was not hot favourite despite being joint leader overnight. However, true to his mantra – “RELENTLESS” – which he apparently has tattooed on his arm, Homa was just that in his pursuit of victory.
His story is one of persistence. One he has chosen to take control of in his relentless quest to become the best possible golfer he can. Yes he has had to deal with some pretty serious setbacks and bumps in the road along the way.
In 2017, he played 17 events on the PGA Tour and made only two cuts en route to amassing a meagre $18,000.
Undeterred, he set out on the Web.com Tour in 2018 with the goal of regaining his PGA Tour card and through a combination of seeking out good advice, hard work, determination and good golf, he succeeded.
This in turn allowed the 28-year-old from Burbank, California to play the PGA Tour again and achieve a life changing win and move up to 102nd in the world rankings.
Is it possible that you too could take control of your story and your putting?