Greyserman Gives Max Effort in Qualifying for 124th U.S. Open

By David Shefter, USGA

| Jun 04, 2024 | Summit, N.J.

Greyserman Gives Max Effort in Qualifying for 124th U.S. Open

A marathon Monday was coming to an end on a hot and humid early June day in northern New Jersey. With his scorecard signed and media obligations concluded, Max Greyserman made his way toward a small group of family and friends ready to congratulate the 29-year-old from Short Hills, N.J., on qualifying for a second U.S. Open Championship.

An 8-under 28 on Canoe Brook Country Club’s North Course to start Round 2 of the 36-hole qualifier conducted on the North and South Courses of the 36-hole facility was the catalyst for the 2024 PGA Tour rookie as he posted 11-under 131 in the final qualifier to share medalist honors with 2023 USA Walker Cup competitor and University of Virginia All-American Benjamin James.

Exhausted and relieved that his job was finished, Greyserman hugged his father, Alex, and enjoyed the moment with his caddie of 15 months, Jaimé Moreno, a product of the Bandon Dunes caddie program in Oregon. Then a young fan and his father approached, asking for a photo and an autograph. Greyserman happily obliged.

To the fan, it didn’t matter if the player was Max Greyserman or PGA Tour star Max Homa. On this day, the BMOC (Big Man on Canoe Brook) was Greyserman. Such is the case at U.S. Open qualifiers where hopefuls look to fulfill big-time dreams. 

Greyserman is already living his childhood dream of playing the PGA Tour. Seven years of toiling on developmental tours like PGA Tour Canada and the Korn Ferry Tour finally landed the New Jersey native at the game’s highest level. Qualifying for a U.S. Open is just another step on the journey, but it’s a big one. Rank-and-file guys like Greyserman don’t always get into major championships.

Going to Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2 will be special not only for Max, but his entire family. His mom, Elaine, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 15 years ago, competed in the inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open at Pinehurst No. 6 two years ago in the neurological impairment division. His father, Alex, served as her caddie.

Neither of Max’s parents grew up around the game. They emigrated from the old Soviet Union – what is now Ukraine and its capital city of Kyiv – when they were teenagers to escape the harsh realities of communism. Elaine was a good enough tennis player to earn a scholarship to Rutgers University, where she met Alex, a mathematics major who would go on to teach at Columbia University for 20 years while also dabbling in the financial world. Today, he is a portfolio manager fulfilling the American Dream with residences in New Jersey and Boca Raton, Fla.

Max, himself, learned to speak Russian, but it was golf where he found his biggest success, along with his two younger siblings, Dean and Reed. Dean, eight years younger than Max, is a rising junior at Stanford University, and Reed is headed to Princeton University this fall. Jacquie, the oldest sibling, played tennis at Emory University in Atlanta. 

“Very competitive,” said Max of the family golf dynamic. “Unfortunately, we don’t get to play that much. I was in college [at Duke University] when they were in middle school. Now that I have turned pro and traveling to tournaments … our schedules are just so busy.”

Max got the golf bug as a toddler. While on vacation in South Florida, their parents saw a flyer about free lessons from a pro named Mike Adams, one of the nation’s top instructors who happened to be at PGA National. Max would soon be taking lessons from Adams both in Florida and Hamilton Farm, where the family later joined.

Frustrated by his missed cut in Canada, Max Greyserman arrived at Canoe Brook C.C. with renewed focus and determination. (Tim Hartin/MGA)

Frustrated by his missed cut in Canada, Max Greyserman arrived at Canoe Brook C.C. with renewed focus and determination. (Tim Hartin/MGA)

He played at The Peddie School in Hightstown, N.J., and roomed with future Wake Forest golfer Kyle Sterbinsky, who happened to be in Monday’s final qualifier at Canoe Brook.

While he didn’t have a decorated career at Duke, Greyserman felt he was ready for professional golf. He even briefly lived in Las Vegas with future U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark in 2017 when he played on PGA Tour Canada, and qualified for his only previous U.S. Open at Erin Hills (missed cut).

Injuries and self-doubt followed as Greyserman wondered if he had the goods to reach his ultimate goal. He even reached out to University of North Carolina alum and current PGA Tour player Ben Griffin about possibly going in another direction with his career when he was nursing a wrist injury in 2022. Griffin had briefly spent time as a mortgage loan officer in 2021 before getting the itch to compete again. 

Greyserman worked harder at his craft and had a breakout 2023 on the Korn Ferry Tour, finishing ninth on the points list to earn his 2024 PGA Tour card.

In 15 PGA Tour starts, he’s made eight cuts, including a tie for fourth in the Zurich Classic (with 2024 U.S. Open competitor Nico Echavarria) and a share of seventh in the Texas Children’s Houston Open.

“Courses are way harder and greens way firmer,” said Greyserman of the jump from the KFT to the PGA Tour. “There’s a lot more people [watching as well]. This course [at Canoe Brook] felt so easy coming from Canada. The rough [in Canada] was three times longer than this. The greens were crazy.”

Greyserman didn’t arrive at Canoe Brook in the best of mental states. Two consecutive missed cuts in Fort Worth, Texas (Charles Schwab Challenge) and the RBC Canadian Open had made him frustrated. He spent the entire weekend hitting thousands of balls at Hamilton Farm, looking to regain his form.

“I had to take Advil I was so sore,” he quipped after the final qualifier.

An opening 3-under 67 on the South Course had Greyserman looking up at the leader board, and with just four available spots, he would need to go low after lunch.

“This morning, he was kind of putzing around,” said Alex Greyserman, who followed all 36 holes with his service dog.

Then Greyserman, whose goal was to make at least 10 birdies at the qualifier, put together a dream nine, making five consecutive birdies – eight overall – on the North Course’s inward nine for a 28. His father said it’s some of the best golf he’s ever seen from Max. Now at 11 under, Greyserman could play a little more conservatively over the final nine, which he did. A 64 left him at 132 and atop the board.

Greyserman was planning to take a couple of weeks off to gear up for the final push to make the FedExCup Playoffs (he currently sits at 113th with the top 70 advancing and keeping their PGA Tour cards for 2025). A good week at Pinehurst could be a huge boost to his hopes.

“The U.S. Open is a big deal, but he does this every week on Tour,” said his father. “This is his job. Starting in late June, he’s got five PGA Tour events in a row to … hopefully make that final push.”

Greyserman had this U.S. Open circled on his competitive calendar. A year ago, he felt his game let him down at final qualifying, where he was in a playoff for second alternate at Canoe Brook, a course just eight minutes from his parents’ residence but one he hadn’t played until 2023.

On Monday night, he planned to pick up his wife, Alyssa, a former college tennis player, and spend some quality time with his parents. The entire family is expected to have a reunion in Pinehurst, although Alex departed on Tuesday morning for Indiana to go watch Reed play in the Dye Junior Invitational at Crooked Stick.

Such is the nature of golf parents. Elaine, however, is limited due to her neurological condition. She’s been to a pair of PGA Tour events and will be at Pinehurst.

For Greyserman, it’s a trip from Short Hills to the Sandhills. He first played in Pinehurst at the U.S. Kids Tournament and once reached the semifinals of the annual North & South Amateur on Pinehurst No. 2. To him, the harder the setup, the better.

“I can’t wait to play,” he said. “I’m excited to play against the best players in the world.”

David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at dshefter@usga.org.