TONY FINAU: THE BIG BREAK
Former Golf Channel’s “The Big Break” standout leads the field at Muirfield (-6) after Round 1
DUBLIN, OH–Despite windy conditions Tony Finau continued to putt with remarkable consistency to score a smooth 66 good for the lead at (-6). The former “The Big Break” contestent has been a fixture amongst tour favorites in recent months. From his “interesting” relationship with Tiger Woods, to his awkward antics on the greens, Tony even has “Six Degrees of Separation” to the NBA and all this while he’s begun to discreetly (or not so discreetly) start floating around the rarefied PGA Tour air around him. Finau has always been an enigma amongst his peers. The former college basketball recruit out of Utah, who also happens to be second cousin to former Duke standout and NBA basketball player Jabari Parker, decided to forego that sport to focus on the game of golf at the age of 17. Tony got his first pro exemption at the Greater Milwaukee Open in 2007 and continued to grind through mini tours, and yes, as well as a stint on reality television. He joined the PGA Tour Canada in 2013 and officially worked his way onto the PGA Tour in 2016. Finau is more workman like at his craft than a standout in any particular category. Although he has been hot off the greens of late, his overall putting avg. stands at 1.594, good for a mediocre (66th) on tour and his One-Putt Percentage of 39.98% is a meager (85th). What he generally lacks in putting, he tries to make up for with a solid driving Distance average of 305.9 yards (26th) and a much improved tee-to-green avg. of 1.278 (10th). When Finau manages his game around the greens, he fairs very well in scoring, boasting a 4.26 Birdie avg. (20th) and 69.43 (Actual) Scoring avg, also (20th). The knock on Finau is that he has so much room to grow. Many on tour suggest that if only he would fully apply himself, the sky would show him no limits. Never shying away from the spotlight, he has demonstrated tremendous flashes in Major tournaments, most recently at last years Masters, finishing 5th, which he followed up with a 3rd place finish at the Open Championship later that season. After his first round performance at Muirfield, it appears that this late bloomer is starting to find his groove.
|Best results in major championships|
|Masters Tournament||T5: 2019|
|PGA Championship||T10: 2015|
|U.S. Open||5th: 2018|
|The Open Championship||3rd: 2019|
Tony steps it up when the lights are brightest
TONY AND THE TIGER
Tony Finau’s few interactions with Tiger Woods have been frosty to say the least…
The Finau/Woods relationship can probably be best described as awkward…As Finau was surging at last years Masters he found himself paired with his idol on Day 4. After saying “good luck” on the first hole no words were exchanged until hole 7. In an attempt to break the ice, Finau said, “Hey Tiger. How’s the family? How’s the kids?” Woods, known for his laser-like focus, replied with a frosty “they’re good” and nothing more. Finau recalled that congratulating Woods at 18 was his last interaction with him.
Also: here’s Finau recounting a moment from the 2018 Memorial:
“I putted for 20 minutes. I saw him walking toward the (fans), so I sneaked by him. No one was paying attention to me, of course, it was Tiger. As I’m walking up the stairs, he looks up at me and shakes his head.
I’m eating lunch, he comes in and looks at me and says, “You’re an (expletive)” (with a smile). I stuck him with all his fans and didn’t help him one bit to sign. He didn’t like that a lot, but I was ready to eat and knew they were there for him. It’s not that I don’t like signing, I was just very hungry.”
We’ll be sure to continue to keep track of this budding connection…
“THE BIG DISLOCATION”
Good grief, Tony Finau wrecked his ankle celebrating a hole in one pic.twitter.com/8o7JxVi3xQ
— CJ Fogler #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) April 4, 2018
Finau contorts his ankle after sinking a hole in one at the Masters Par 3 contest in 2018. He managed to pop it back in in real time. Despite the gruesome injury, Finau played all week and finished tied for 10th at The Masters.
More Tales from the Memorial to follow as we march closer towards the PGA Championship at Harding Park Aug 3-9