Max Homa takes a leaf out of the Retief Goosen playbook to win at Riviera

The Californian looked to have blown his big moment at the Genesis Invitational but like Goosen at the 2001 US Open he shook off a fluffed missed putt at the final hole to take victory in a play-off

Player A is stood over a three-foot putt. It's one they'd knock in 99 times out of 100.

Player B is sat by a TV, knowing deep down that their fate is sealed.

For Player A, this would be the biggest moment of their career. All that hard work about to reap the ultimate reward.

Player B starts to replay the previous 72 holes in their mind, several times finding that single shot which would have made all the difference.

Player A takes a deep breath, pulls back the putter… and misses!

Player B jumps from their seat. This thing isn't over. They've been handed an incredible reprieve.

We all know which player we'd put money on to win the play-off, right? The narrative says Player A has blown his big chance and is mentally shot. Player B has a new lease of life and won't hesitate to take this unexpected opportunity.

Of course, there are plenty of examples of what we presume will happen does actually happen.

Scott Hoch had a two-foot putt to win the 1989 Masters in sudden death. He stabbed it wide, Nick Faldo stayed alive and the Englishman nailed him at the next play-off hole.

Doug Sanders infamously fluffed his big moment at St. Andrews in 1970, a jittery jab from three feet allowing Jack Nicklaus to steal the Claret Jug that should have been his.

At the 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship, I.K. Kim had a one-foot putt to win her first Major. Incredibly, she missed and it was no surprise to see her lose the resulting play-off to fellow Korean Sun Young Yoo.

Homa recalls Goosen in 2001

So when local hero Max Homa missed from just outside three feet at the 72nd hole when all set to seal victory in his hometown Genesis Invitational at Riviera in Los Angeles, the writing seemed on the wall.

This was fate giving Tony Finau a massive chance to make up for all of his own near misses. Finau had finished with a brilliant 64; the force was surely with him.

Homa's head was clearly far too frazzled to start recalling past moments in golf history.

But if it had been clear enough to mentally google players who missed a short putt on the final green but came back to win, his brain would have thrown up a famous previous example.

Back in the 2001 US Open at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Retief Goosen had played himself to the brink of victory.

After a tense final round, the South African faced a two-foot putt to win his first Major title.

American Mark Brooks had posted 4-under but sat helpless as Goosen moved in to post 5-under and win by one.

To gasps of astonishment, Goosen shoved his putt to the right and it stayed above ground. The poor guy. As this was the Tiger Woods era, surely he'd never get a better chance to win a Major.

The 18-hole play-off system used at the US Open meant everyone would have to return the following day. The 32-year-old had a full night to stew over his costly miss. How could anyone be expected to sleep after that?

Brooks, to no great surprise, took the early lead in the Monday play-off with a birdie at five and Goosen was expected to wilt.

But the stoic Springbok reeled off birdies at 6, 9 and 10 to open up a five-shot lead and pour scorn on the script that everyone had imagined.

His Texan opponent tried to rally but Goosen held his nerve. His missed putt became part of the story but not THE story as he hoisted his first Major title.

Three years later he showed his mettle again to win the 2004 US Open in ultra-tough conditions at Shinnecock.

Different waits but same outcome

Homa, by contrast, had to get back on the horse straight away. It can be argued both ways who had it tougher. Goosen had longer for the demons to torment him; Homa had less time to shake off the shock.

Max Homa's putt at the 72nd hole lips out
Max Homa's putt at the 72nd hole lips out

But the outcome was ultimately the same.

Homa and Goosen had every excuse to go into those ugly top 10 lists of greatest chokes.

Instead they both emerged as heroes.

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