OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Max Homa can do without fans shouting while he’s trying to make a critical birdie putt.
But on the 17th hole during the third round of the BMW Championship on Saturday, he heard a spectator who had a $3 bet with his buddy deliberately yell, “Pull it,” and it set Homa off.
Homa holed the short birdie putt nonetheless and posted a 1-over-par 71 at Olympia Fields, nine strokes more than his course-record 62 a day earlier. Homa chalked it up to a fan who overindulged in drinking during the day.
“Or else he’s just the biggest loser there is, but he was cheering and yelling at Chris (Kirk) for missing his putt short, and he kept yelling that he had – one of them had $3 for me to make mine, and I got to the back of my back stroke, and he yelled, ‘pull it’ pretty loud[ly], and I made it right in the middle, and then I just started yelling at him, and then (caddie) Joe (Greiner) yelled at him.”
Asked to recall what he yelled back at the fan, he said, “That he’s a clown, with maybe another word. I don’t know what Joe yelled. He was a lot meaner, I think. It just was — I don’t know. Long day, I guess. Hope he has a nice night, but it just sucks when that happens, but I was happy I made it. It was rude what he did to Chris. Whatever.”
Homa said he has no problem with fans gambling on golf but he is concerned that fans could attempt to impact the result in a negative fashion.
“That is the one thing I’m worried about,” Homa said. “I don’t know what he had to lose. He got kicked out probably, and we were the last group.”
Homa noted that his heckler at 17 was the exception and not the rule.
“It’s just always something that’s on your mind. It’s on us to stay focused or whatever, but it’s just annoying when it happens,” Homa said. “It’s like the one thing we have in this game, fans are so great about being quiet when we play. I think they are awesome. When anybody ever talks, it’s so unintentional. They don’t know we’re hitting. It just sucks when it’s incredibly intentional, and his friend specifically said it was for $3, so that was — not that the money matters, but that’s a frustrating number.”
Homa, who was the 36-hole leader, will enter the final round in fourth place. He’s battling for a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup and positioning in next week’s Tour Championship, the one event that has a staggered start. In short, every shot matters in crunch time, not to mention…