Max Homa lit up the fan standing near the 17th green at Olympia Fields Country Club on Saturday afternoon.
Homa was about to putt near the end of his third round at the BMW Championship on Saturday when he heard a spectator yell, “Pull it!” in the middle of his backswing. That fan, said Homa, placed a $3 bet on him to miss the putt.
The same thing happened to Homa’s playing partner, Chris Kirk, during his 18-foot birdie putt on the hole. Kirk’s putt stopped short of the hole, and he tapped in for par. Fortunately, Homa made his 5-footer.
“There was one who was probably drunk — I hope so, for his case, or else he’s the biggest loser there — but he was cheering and yelling at Chris for missing his putt short,” Homa said. “And he kept yelling – one of them had $3 that I was going to make mine – and I got to the back of my back stroke and he yelled, ‘Pull it out!’ very strong.
“I made it halfway through, and then I started yelling at him.”
Homa and his caddy Joe Greiner started yelling at the fan as they walked off the green and headed for the final hole.
“[I told him] that he’s a clown, maybe in another word,” said Homa. “I don’t know what Joe was yelling at. I think he’s worse. It was just, I don’t know, a long day in my mind.”
It is not clear what type of live bets are specifically placed by fans, or if they are made through a sportsbook.
Homa, who set the course record with an 8-under 62 on Friday, struggled on Saturday. He triple-bogeyed the par-4 seventh, and then limped to a 1-over 71. That dropped him to two shots back of Scottie Scheffler and Matt Fitzpatrick, who entered Sunday’s final round at 11 -under.
Viktor Hovland flew in late and overtook Scheffler on Sunday to take the win at Olympia Fields. He set a new course record with his 61. That jumped him to No. 2 in the FedExCup standings heading into next week’s Tour Championship. Homa finished T5 with Brian Harman after his final-round 68. Homa starts at 4-under next week in Atlanta, six shots back of Scheffler in a staggered start.
Although Saturday’s interaction with that fan was awkward, Homa insisted it was rare. He’s all for fans who gamble on golf, as long as it doesn’t go off the course.
“It’s always something that’s on your mind. We just have to focus or something, but it’s just annoying when it happens,” said Homa. “It just feels – it’s like something that’s in this game, the fans are very quiet when we play. I think they’re amazing. If anyone speaks, it’s not intentional. They don’t know that we hit
“It’s bad if it’s not intentional, and his friend specifically said it was for $3, so – that’s not the money, but that’s a disappointing number.”