Professional golfer Tony Finau laughs as he and other golfers demonstrate golf strokes during the Tony Finau Classic Golf Tournament in Farmington on Monday, August 1, 2022 (Scott J. Winterton, Deseret News)
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FARMINGTON – Less than 24 hours after winning back-to-back PGA Tour titles for the first time in his career, Tony Finau barely had time to breathe – but celebrated alone – his latest honor at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit as he ran in jokes, drills and a long-running friendly competition with Some local golfers as part of a clinic with the Tony Finau Foundation Golf Classic.
There was no celebratory dinner the night before, and no early morning run to McDonald’s—he didn’t have most of his family with him, except for his wife, Alina, who surprised him by going to his hotel last Saturday night for the final round.
After all, Finau had work to do now. He had a charity golf tournament to host, making use of the Tony Finau Foundation, which is played each year at Oakridge Country Club in conjunction with the Utah Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour.
So Tony and Alaina Finau boarded a small flight that arrived at Provo Airport late Sunday night, and were immediately greeted by dozens of family, friends and supporters to congratulate the four-time PGA Tour winner.
And then, there was dancing. Boy, was there dancing.
“We had to catch a flight right away, but we’re still partying now,” Finaw said. “My wife had to bring the kids home from Minnesota after that first win, and she told me maybe I should get out of Detroit to celebrate the win.
“I told her, ‘It’s okay; when I get home we’re going to have two wins. I’ve kind of put it in the forefront of my mind to get back on track and get ready to go again in Detroit. I was confident enough… I knew I was playing well enough to put myself in Back there on Sunday. And to be able to seal the deal was a great feeling.”
Finau likes to say that each week can change the course of life on the PGA Tour, as careers are made and some fall apart for one hit, one drive, one bout in the wind. He had an idea since he was a junior golfer, when his late father and mother drove him to local events up and down the Wasatch front, before driving for the show. And the Put the dough.
For the 32-year-old Rose Park native, it took two weeks – perhaps not to prove he belongs on the PGA Tour (he’s done so for several years), but to show he can win over with the best of them. And in the past 10 days, he’s established himself as a powerhouse, being the first winner of back-to-back regular season events since 2019 with one of the hottest speculators on the PGA Tour ahead of the FedEx Cup qualifiers.
Sunday was a little different, had Finau finished a championship he was leading, winning the field he led before Sunday’s final round for the first time in six attempts.
There’s no better place to enjoy it, too, than in its native Utah.
“Utah is definitely home,” said Finow, who splits his time between Lehi and Arizona, where his swing coach Boyd Summerhayes lives. “I love being from Utah, I’m proud to represent Utah. I’ve been interviewing here since I was 7. Going back and celebrating this with Utah and the amazing fan base of Utah is something.”
“He’s very cool, and I think a lot of Yotans are proud of him.”
Finau was one of the best players on the field in both the Twin Cities and Detroit, and the win simply cemented him as one of the top golfers on the PGA Tour. It is currently ranked #7 in the FedEx Cup standings, which will mark the start of the playoffs to begin in two weeks’ time, and has risen to 13th in the official golf rankings with a spot on the Presidents Cup roster.
So, naturally, as his star shines brighter and wins continue, the question will follow Finau – whether he likes it or not – about his loyalty to the PGA Tour. With several top golfers such as Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson defecting from the Saudi Investment Fund-backed LIV Golf Series in recent weeks, Finau on Monday reaffirmed his allegiance to the “Best Tour in the World”.
“For me, at this point in my career, it’s very much about the satisfaction of winning golf tournaments, winning against the best players in the world, and what I feel is the best tour in the world,” he said. “The satisfaction that comes from that, no amount of money can buy; it is just a fulfillment which I am striving for, after all these years of hard work.
“Being at my absolute best, to have the opportunity to reap some of the rewards of winning, nothing can sum up how it feels.”
The past two weeks have been a huge breakthrough for those who watched Finau’s run over the past 11 seasons – or more. But the breakthrough did not bring two wins, he is competing; The winner is just the loser, he likes to say.
Finau doesn’t do anything different. But long after a tie, the results started to match his game.
He said, “I don’t know if ‘breakthrough’ is the word; maybe some comfort there. I think there is some strength from it, some confidence.” “I’ve been very patient with myself over the years, to allow myself to develop into what I can become. Now I think it’s great to start seeing some results.”
Finau will take the week, spend time with his family, and prepare for the play-off matches. After the end of the regular season in North Carolina, the top 70 players in the standings will receive a FedEx St. Jude, where 50 players advance to the BMW Championship and 30 to the TOUR Championship. The portfolios were similarly raised, with total rewards of $145 million, including $75 million for the FedEx Cup champion.
“I’m excited for next week and the play-offs,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to being in those areas, and competing for the FedEx Cup.”