Deep Thoughts With Rising PGA Tour Star Tony Finau
The rising second-year Tour pro, 26, on choosing golf over other sports and his most memorable moment from an impressive rookie season.
What is the best advice that you’ve ever received?
It’s probably from Jesper Parnevik. When I finally made it to the PGA Tour he told me not to change anything. There are a lot of guys who will try to change a lot of things. That was one of the best things that I’ve heard. That what you got you to where you are is probably going to get you to where you need to be.
You played a lot of sports growing up. When did you realize golf was going to be it for you?
I won junior world championship at 12, and when I saw my name alongside guys like Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Ernie Els, I told myself that if they could do it, why can’t I? I told myself you’re a lot better at golf than anything else, so let’s stick with it.
If you could only play one course for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?
Probably this course in Park City, Utah, called Victory Ranch. It’s newer. I love everything about it. The practice facility is always good, the course is always in great condition, and not a lot of people play. Three ideal things.
What do you like to do on your days off?
Hanging out. My wife and I have three little ones (Jraice, Nene and Tony Jr.) so I’m pretty busy when I’m at home. But I like working out. I like playing basketball. My agent tells me not to play as much, but I still enjoy playing pick-up games and just enjoying life outside of golf.
What’s your ideal vacation destination?
Probably Hawaii. I’m a beach guy. I like to hang out on the beach and go for a swim and kick back. I don’t think I enjoy too many other things more than that. Hanging out with family at a beach probably doesn’t get much better than that.
You had an awesome rookie season on Tour. Is there a moment you will never forget?
It was probably the 72nd hole at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, walking up to the green. The atmosphere was electric. I think I was in the third-to-last group the final round, but to be there at that time was the highlight of my year. I had some nice finishes at other events, but to finish in the top 10 at a major championship my first year I feel is a big achievement. I walked off the green and had a great feeling of satisfaction, knowing that I have something to build off in future majors.
We know you’re a great athlete. What else are you good at?
My family’s pretty musically inclined, and we do a lot of Polynesian dancing. My mom had a show back in the day, and I danced in that. I played the drums and the guitar. I play the guitar at my house, just acoustic, in my down time. That’s something that I really enjoy. Kind of take yourself away from life, just lose yourself in some music. Being from Utah, I’m a Mormon. I’m pretty spiritual as well. I enjoy doing some church activities and doing my part in my community and my church. In a nutshell that’s kind of what Tony Finau’s about, and I’m proud of it.