Tony Finau: A Round With Interview with Jessica Marksbury

October 18, 2016
tony finau hoops.jpg

The September issue’s Finau-menal cover star on hoops, conquering Q-school and how to handle playoff pressure.

You’re drinking a root beer today.

I’m not an alcohol drinker. Instead of the real beer, I just go with root beer.

It’s working for you. In March, you won your first Tour event, the Puerto Rico Open, in a playoff.

It was awesome. It was a great way to cap my first win on the PGA Tour. There were a lot of things going through my head. But I thought I did a great job keeping my emotions in check throughout the final 18.

When the pressure’s on, how do you control your emotions?

Staying in the moment is not worrying about the outcome but just focusing on the process on the next shot. And [in Puerto Rico] I did a great job of not thinking too far ahead.

“It’s cool to be able to dunk. I’m pretty tall and long. My body’s probably built more for basketball than for golf.”

You went to Q-school five years in a row before finally breaking through in 2013. How did you overcome so much disappointment?

Perseverance. A rule that I go by is never give up. That’s one thing I had to keep telling myself, to keep moving forward and keep believing that my time would come. And it did.

You aren’t the only professional athlete in your family. You have cousins who played in the NFL and NBA, like Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker. There must be some good-natured banter at your family reunions, right?

We’re definitely very competitive. But ultimately, I’m really proud to be doing what I am for my family. And I know that they are, too. I have a lot of respect for the great athletes that come out of our family.

You’re one of the few guys on Tour who can dunk a basketball.

It’s cool to be able to dunk. I’m pretty tall and pretty long. My body’s probably built more for basketball than for golf.

Can anyone on Tour hang with you on the hoops court?

I’m not going to say there’s no one who can. There are a lot of great athletes on the PGA Tour and a lot of good basketball players. But I can definitely put my name in the mix as one of the best.