Max Homa putted, and almost simultaneously as his ball reached the cup for his birdie, he looked toward the stands toward the right of the 17th hole at Olympia Fields. Afterward, Homa said he was worried about something like this.
He had heard two words.
And why did a fan shout that?
Another “had $3 for me to make mine.”
From there on Saturday at the BMW Championship, Homa, one of the PGA Tour’s most personable pros, shouted. Joe Greiner, his caddie, shouted. Homa gave his side in his post-round press conference. And he had some thoughts on the subject of sports gambling.
Notably, Homa said things started ahead of his putt, when fans were razzing playing partner Chris Kirk after a missed 18-footer. A short while later, Homa made his 4-footer.
On the CBS broadcast, cameras then showed the following:
Homa looked to his right as the ball crossed the center of the cup.
He scooped up his ball.
He mouthed some words.
He looked right again.
He mouthed more words.
He shook his head.
He looked right a third time.
Afterward, Homa was asked what happened.
“There was probably a drunk, I hope for his case, or else he’s just the biggest loser there is,” he said. “But he was cheering and yelling at Chris 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 backstroke, and he yelled, “Pull it,” pretty loud, and I made it right in the middle, and then I just started yelling at him, and then Joe yelled at him.”
What did Homa shout?
“That he’s a clown, with maybe another word,” he said. “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.”
Of course, pros have been shouted at before.
And money has exchanged hands previously. Sports gambling is, in fact, legal in Illinois, among other states. The Tour itself promotes it.
Here’s where things get murky, though. For his part, Homa said he loves that people can golf-gamble.
But then you hear: “Pull it.”
For 3 bucks.
“That is the one thing I’m worried about,” Homa said.
“It’s just always something that’s on your mind,” he added. “It’s on us to stay focused or whatever, but it’s just annoying when it happens.
“It just feels — 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.”
“Especially when you’re playing for 20 million,” a reporter said.
“It doesn’t matter what we’re playing for,” Homa said. “We’re working so hard, and I grinded my tail off to get that thing back to near even par, and had I missed that I would have just been — it just would have been a pain.
“But it was nice to make it right in the middle and hopefully he had to pay his buddy that $3 immediately on the way out of the property.”