Max Homa hoping grip change pays off at The Players Championship

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After failing to finish inside the top 10 in each of his first five events of the 2024 season, Max Homa decided it was time to make some changes.

The West Coast wasn’t all that kind to Homa last month, as he tied for 66th at the AT&T Pebble Beach (Calif.) Pro-Am before missing the cut at the Phoenix Open. He then finished tied for 16th at the Genesis Invitational in Pacific Palisades, Calif., prompting him to tweak his grip.

“Got my left hand stronger. I worked a bit more on my downswing and my backswing and then did a bunch of just kind of discovery, self-discovery work mentally,” Homa said Wednesday ahead of this week’s Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Calif. “I learned a lot on the Sunday of (Genesis) and just tried to — it was a really good momentum, good bit of momentum going into an offseason or a little break and then into this time of year.”

Homa returned to action nearly a month later, landing in a tie for eighth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this past weekend at Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Fla.

Even though there was a bit of a learning curve with the new grip, Homa was pleased with how he adapted.

“As the week went on at Bay Hill, it felt better and better, all the other moves, and then I got out there Thursday, front nine, and my grip felt weird, and so that’s just tournament golf for you,” Homa said. “It brought out the only thing I thought that I had kind of gotten used to. It felt really odd, and it was a bit tough to trust.

“I thought I did a good job of trusting it and learning where it’s going to bring my hands in the golf club. So, yeah, it can be tricky. I’ve had times where I felt like I needed to hit a thousand golf balls before it even felt normal. This one’s a little different. It felt okay right away, just didn’t translate to Thursday morning as nicely as I wanted it to.”

During his hiatus, Homa also worked on adjusting his swing based on the type of club he is using.

“I’ve gone (in) ebbs and flows,” Homa said. “I have a cut feel with — my driver always cuts, so I have a cut feel with that, and that is slightly different with the irons, especially if I’m trying to draw it, so I have a draw feel.

“But I think with the two weeks at home and doing a little bit of extra work last week, I kind of found … if I have this shot, I’m going to go to this feel. I have this shot, I’m going to go to that feel and work on that on the range so I feel comfy.”

At last year’s Players Championship, Homa tied for sixth, and he is looking forward to building on that performance.

“The energy of the event is always really cool,” Homa said. “Really happy to get good weather. We’ve had some tough ones. Two years ago it was crazy, so it was cool to look at the forecast and see there’s sun because the golf course deserves it.

“It’s a massive challenge. I think pretty much anybody’s golf game fits around here. You’re going to have to prove a lot of great things, so I always love coming to this event.”