If you were fortunate enough to see the playoff between Max Homa and Tony Finau last Sunday at the Genesis Invitational, you witnessed a lesson in how to stay calm.
Homa’s tee shot on the first playoff hole, the iconic 10th, a very short (309-325-yards) par four, went left of the green and settled just short of the trunk of a bottle brush tree.
What stood out is how calm Homa was as he walked up and took in the bad break. It didn’t look like he had much of a shot but Homa stayed cool, surveyed the situation and devised an escape plan.
Homa took a sand wedge, hooded it big-time, practiced a non-traditional swing path that was short and very inside of what a normal path would look like. He made a nice easy swing at it and hit what amounted to a mini-duck-hook that worked it’s way up the slope of the green and settled on the putting surface.
In turn, Finau chipped and left himself about a 10-footer for the win. Homa’s birdie missed but so did Finau’s winning attempt.
On the next hole, a 189-yard par three, Finau made the huge mistake of short-siding himself while Homa found the putting surface. The rest is history and Homa won on his favorite course on the PGA Tour — Riviera Country Club — and picked up a cool $1.6 million in the process.
The lesson today is follow Homa’s lead and don’t panic, even when you get in trouble. Plan your escape, don’t throw away shots needlessly.