PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Just two weeks after capturing top honors at the Farmers Insurance Open, his sixth victory on the PGA Tour, Max Homa had the ear of commissioner Jay Monahan.
Homa had heard that one of the Tour’s events suffered from low TV ratings and, with changes to the schedule coming yet again, he asked the commish if he was concerned about the numbers.
The response was enlightening.
“(Monahan) said, first and foremost, that just straight-up TV ratings isn’t the way the world works anymore,” Homa recalled on Tuesday during his news conference before the Players Championship. “If you think about the Waste Management, as he put it, there’s so much fanfare. … and this is corny, but all the celebrities and people who aren’t in the game of golf intimately that are out there and sharing it via social media or with their friends is boosting not only the PGA Tour but golf in general, which I think is great. So that was quite interesting.
“Then, of course, a day or two later he sent me the final ratings of it and it was I think the highest event. I can’t remember what day, Saturday or Sunday, but it was the highest-viewed event since the Players the year prior. So I thought that was a really good sign.”
Homa, who has grown into his role as one of the leaders of the recent top-heavy PGA Tour movement, missed the players meeting that took place early Tuesday but added that he’s been to more meetings in the last year than he had in any previous one. He also noted that he’s been picking the brain of Monahan, trying to better understand the Tour’s strategy.
“I think it’s easy for us to, as players, to look at these events and say, man, this is working great, like look at the last few designated events and the finishes and the players battling against each other and the leaderboards and just all of it, and it just seems so great,” Homa said. “I would assume that that would mean great ratings and great attention, but we don’t know that.
“So I kind of lean on, since I’ve had this conversation with Jay, where he can kind of continue to show me, not just explain, but show me that it is doing a great job, and again, I know I’m probably sounding like I just keep reiterating myself, but the reason I love this product model is because I’m a fan of golf. I love watching golf and I’ve loved watching golf since I was a little kid. That’s why I play it.”
Despite new parental responsibilities — he and his wife, Lacey, welcomed their first child, Cam, on Oct. 30, 2022 — and a never-ending golf news cycle, Homa has maintained his focus on the course, posting a pair of victories and five top-4 finishes in the young season.
But he’s still squarely invested in the Tour’s future, as is evidenced by his inquisitive time with Monahan.
“My attention is of course on my performances and being the best me I can be, but it’s also on making sure that golf is thriving, and as I’m on the PGA Tour, the PGA Tour’s thriving and that people are watching it, because I love this game and I want other people to get involved and love this game and watch it,” Homa said. “I don’t want to put up or be a part of a product that people find to be boring and stale.
“So I am very much about what we’re doing and these meetings and pushing the envelope and making changes that benefit the golf fan, because again, I am a golf fan.”
And after spending time with Monahan, Homa seems firmly convinced that the again-revamped schedule, this time with small-field, no-cut elevated events, will help players at the top, but also those looking up into the game’s upper echelon.
“I’ve really racked my brain on this quite a bit and I don’t see how this isn’t better for every member of this Tour,” Homa said. “I think it makes it more competitive at the top. It has a bigger pot of gold at the end of the competitive rainbow for the guys at the maybe just outside the designated event area going into next year.”