Tony Finau

Golf World (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Five burn­ing ques­tions for the bighit­ting, fast-ris­ing Amer­i­can star.

Tony Finau is the only player to fin­ish in the top 10 in all three ma­jors this sea­son. The 28-year-old is up to a ca­reer-high 28th in the world rank­ings and ris­ing. The 6ft 4in Amer­i­can talks to Golf World about the se­cret be­hind his rise, his Ry­der Cup am­bi­tions, and that tum­ble at Au­gusta…

1 You won your first PGA Tour event over two years ago, but this is the first sea­son when you’ve been reg­u­larly con­tend­ing in ma­jors…

I have a pretty good ma­jor cham­pi­onship record and it’s def­i­nitely some­thing I’m proud of. It’s huge for my con­fi­dence, know­ing that I’ve been there, in that sit­u­a­tion, and I have the game to play against the best play­ers in the world on some of the tough­est cour­ses. You al­ways dream to be in a po­si­tion like that, com­ing down the stretch in a big tour­na­ment, to have a chance to win. I en­joy play­ing in the big mo­ments. I feel ready to com­pete. I feel like my game and my mind are built for ma­jor cham­pi­onship golf. My game seems to bode well on tough golf cour­ses. I’ve been work­ing re­ally hard on my game and I think it’s start­ing to show this year in some big events. It’s great to have good fin­ishes and it gives me a lot of con­fi­dence to know I can play at a high level in these types of events. I’m just get­ting bet­ter each year. I’m learn­ing a lot with each event I play in. We’ll keep per­se­ver­ing and see what hap­pens.

2 Do you get recog­nised more now?

Yeah, I am. I love it. When you start to get some suc­cess, you start to get more recog­nised. You’re do­ing some­thing right if peo­ple start to recog­nise you. I think no­body knows how to pro­nounce my name; that’s prob­a­bly the fun­ni­est thing. I don’t know why they think the ‘a’ is silent. That’s pretty funny. Hope­fully I keep play­ing good enough golf that they’ll know how to say my name, at least.

3 What’s been the se­cret to your per­for­mances this year?

I’ve im­proved on my putting more than any­thing since I won in Puerto Rico [Finau’s only PGA Tour win to date in May 2016]. I putted cross-handed for my first three sea­sons on Tour, and at the end of last sea­son, right be­fore the Tour Cham­pi­onship, I knew some­thing needed to change. Whether that was the ac­tual put­ter or my grip, some­thing had to change. So I changed from putting cross-hand, my style for around six years, to putting con­ven­tion­ally. It’s been a huge part and tran­si­tion in my game. My putting has im­proved dra­mat­i­cally from that time un­til now. I be­lieve it’s the way I was meant to putt. I feel a lot more com­fort­able putting that way, and putting has been the big­gest part in my suc­cess.

4 Is it a goal for you to make the Ry­der Cup team this year?

It’s a goal of mine to be on the team. But I also haven’t won this year; that’s some­thing I want to do. Hope­fully I can prove to the cap­tains, whether I play my­self onto that team or not, that I can step up on the big stage and com­pete un­der Ry­der Cup pres­sure.

5 You fa­mously dis­lo­cated your an­kle cel­e­brat­ing a hole-in-one dur­ing the Masters Par 3 Con­test.

It was just a spur-of-the-mo­ment thing. It was my first Par 3 Con­test, my first Masters, I made a hole-in-one, so there was a lot that went into that. In front of my wife and my kids, and in front of a lot of the golf­ing world, in my first Masters, it was re­ally spe­cial. I’ve had 11 aces be­fore but I’ve never been so ex­cited to hit one. I have no idea why I just… I just started sprint­ing. I just took off. I no­ticed my fam­ily be­hind me, so I turned around. I’m not great at backpedalling, so I won’t be do­ing that for the rest of my ca­reer. It was an em­bar­rass­ing mo­ment but it’s go­ing to be some­thing I can laugh at later in life.

“Hope­fully I keep play­ing good enough golf that they’ll know how to say my name” “I apol­o­gise to Richard McEvoy and the fans for my brevity on 18. He is a class act, wor­thy cham­pion and I en­joyed play­ing with him the past two days.” Euro­pean Open run­ner-up Bryson DeCham­beau got se­ri­ous heat for barely ac­knowl­edg­ing vic­tor Richard McEvoy at the end of their fi­nal round.

Oc­to­ber 2018

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