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6-time PGA Tour champion Max Homa transforming the game with Kobe Bryant’s ‘Mamba Mentality’

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Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Max Homa has been a California kid his entire life and that has even been shown during his time on the PGA Tour.

Homa is from Burbank, Calif., which is near Los Angeles, and graduated from the University of California Berkley in 2013.

Ten years after his time as a Golden Bear, he is having his best professional year yet.

It started with his first victory of the season at the Fortinet Championship in September at the North Course of the Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif., followed by going 4-0 in his matches in his first Presidents Cup the week after. Only Jordan Spieth had a better record (5-0) at Quail Hollow for Team USA.

On Saturday at the Farmers Insurance Open, he hoisted his second winner’s trophy of the season and joined Jon Rahm as the only players to have two victories.

Homa had to come back from five shots down entering Saturday’s final day in order to capture the title.

Related: Top 10 PGA Tour rankings after the Farmers Insurance Open

During his nine-year PGA Tour career, four of Homa’s six victories have come in the Golden State.

Max Homa: The Social Media Guy

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Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Last year was also the first time Homa was selected in the PGA Tour’s Player Impact Program (PIP) for their positivity to the Tour either through broadcast TV or on social media.

The 32-year-old said he understands the balance of being a PGA Tour golfer and not afraid on social media.

“Everybody else calls me the social media guy,” Homa said after his victory on Saturday. “I still think I’m a pretty darn good golfer. Obviously, results help me build that foundation. I do like to say dumb things and make dumb jokes and observe weird stuff and tweet about it like a kid.

“But I when I work, practice, play tournaments, this is what I love. I love what today was. It was incredible.”

After Wednesday first round, both him and his playing partner Collin Morikawa made some smiles with their joking reaction to the interaction between Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed on the practice green during the Dubai Desert Classic.

Homa does mid-hole interview with CBS

As much as the PGA Tour is focused on growing the game, Homa played a role in Friday’s third round, which was the season-opener for golf on CBS.

During his third round on the par-5 13th hole, Homa had an Apple air pod in his ear and talking with the CBS crew, including Trevor Immelman, who made his debut as the lead analyst.

Homa, who has been preparing with CBS for the past couple of months, said he can not wait to see what comes next to grow the audience while watching golf.

“I’m sure we can tweak things for how other people, other players want to do it,” Homa said. “If they don’t want to do it, I’ll keep doing it. It didn’t bother me. I thought it was great for the fans. I’m looking to push that envelope for the fans, not just myself. But for the Tour, NBC, CBS, all these broadcasting streams want to add something to the viewing experience.”

The six-time PGA Tour winner said this was not a problem to do although can see the cons while playing in the midst of a tournament with other ways to increase the interaction between players and the fans.  

 “You always hear people say, ‘Tiger would never do this. Oh, Rahm would never do this. All they care about is winning,’” Homa said.  “I get that, but you can do both. It was 20 minutes and not invasive. I’ve even thought if you don’t want to do the interview with the people in the booth, they can just be in your ear, or in your caddie’s ear so they can hear us really clearly.

“Anything to help golf gain some attraction to all the viewers, maybe a little bit younger than our typical audience.”

Homa is trying to grow the game like his idol, Kobe Bryant

Being able to transform golf is something Homa values with his ranking in the Player Impact Program (PIP).

Having that mentality is just like his idol in his hometown from the Los Angeles Lakers.

Many athletes around the world, including Homa have followed the late Kobe Bryant’s characteristics, even after his passing now three years ago around this time.

“I actually thought about him throughout the day,” Homa said. “This is the golf tournament where we found out he passed away tragically. So, this place has a weird feeling towards it. I love it and it has a weird sadness to it.

“What I’ve learned about Kobe Bryant’s teachings of watching him work at his craft back in the day is he puts in all these hours behind the scenes, so that when he’s on camera doing his thing, he can just let it happen. So, I try to take that with me, and I try to embrace the craziness and the pressure and all of that because that’s what I saw him do and I was enamored by that.”

For 20-plus years, Bryant found ways to impact the game of basketball for every generation. Being a Los Angeles native, Homa is hoping to continue that impact for the PGA Tour and the game of golf.

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