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.