Homa missing out on Masters and return to Quail Hollow

AP – Missing the Masters was hard enough for Max Homa, who was a month away from making his debut at Augusta National.

What really stung was missing the tournament that made him eligible for the Masters.

Homa won his first PGA Tour event a year ago this week at the Wells Fargo Championship, starting the back nine with a pair of birdies to build a big lead and closing with a 4-under 67 for a three-shot victory. Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, is one of his favourites, and that was before he won.

When he returned a few months ago to help promote the tournament, he was given his own locker in a special room for tournament champions that include Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Jim Furyk.

“That’s something I wasn’t expecting,” Homa said.

Max Homa. PHOTO: AP

“Quail Hollow holds a special place in my heart. They care so much about everyone who comes through there.”

Homa at least gets to carry the title as defending champion for two years. But getting back to Quail Hollow? That could last a little longer. The tournament next year moves to the TPC Potomac in Maryland because Quail Hollow is hosting the Presidents Cup later in the year.
It goes back to Quail Hollow in 2022.

And at least the Masters is still on the schedule for this year, two weeks before Thanksgiving.

Homa said he was starting to get excited for Augusta National as it got closer. And then it was time to shut it down because of the coronavirus pandemic. But it was Wednesday of what would have been Masters week that he missed it again.

Instead, he spent the week watching reruns.

“Wednesday hurt the most, not doing the Par 3 tournament,” he said. “My wife was excited to caddy. I was excited to blame her for a bad club.”

But he hasn’t lost sight of why no golf is being played.

“It’s hard to get caught up about your sad feelings about not playing the Masters when people would do quite a bit to just to be able to go back to work, or to be healthy,” Homa said. “So it’s hard to be down for too long.”

A REAL TOURNAMENT

US Women’s Open champion Jeongeun Lee6 could be ready to get back to golf.

At home, anyway.

With exhibitions in the works involving Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and a charity event for caddies at a private club in Texas, the Korean LPGA Tour is planning to resume in two weeks with the KLPGA Championship.

Yonhap News Agency reports that Lee6 and Sei Young Kim, whose birdie putt on the final hole gave her the USD1.5 million prize in the LPGA Tour’s season-ending event, have signed up for the May 14-17 tournament at Lakewood Golf Course.

The KLPGA began its season in Vietnam in December, but that was the last event because of the new coronavirus that shut down sports worldwide. The KLPGA Championship, one of five majors on the circuit, was originally to be held this week.

Lee6 won six times over two years on the Korean LPGA until coming to America, were she won the US Women’s Open at Country Club of Charleston and was the LPGA rookies of the year.

Kim is a 10-time winner on the LPGA Tour.

Yonhap cited sources as saying Lee6 and Kim would donate their prize money to COVID-19
relief efforts.

The LPGA Tour played four events until its Asian swing was postponed because of the coronavirus, and then 11 more tournaments domestically were cancelled, postponed or rescheduled. The next event would be in Arkansas on June 19-21.

Yonhap said Sung Hyun Park and Hyo Joo Kim, who both started on the KLPGA and went on to win majors, are contemplating playing the KLPGA Championship. Park has yet to play this year.