TOP 30 PLAYERS TO WATCH
No. 15: Tony Finau
At some point, he’ll produce a spectacular season; perhaps 2018 will be that year
December 16, 2017
Tony Finau's monster 374-yard drive at Safeway
Fairly or unfairly, Tony Finau has always been a player in which big things were expected.
His talent is there for all to see. He hits it a mile and has finesse at times we all crave. Plus, he’s easy to root for – a nice guy with a big smile.
With a win already on the books at the 2016 Puerto Rico Open, the 28-year-old certainly has done more than many – but he promises so much extra.
A breakout year is just waiting to happen, and given that he finished inside the top-26 in all four of his fall starts -- including runner-up at the Safeway Open -- this could just be it.
Heading into the new year, he leads the PGA TOUR in driving distance (336.5) and is third in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, sixth in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green, 13th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and 20th in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green.
If he can improve his putting performances (currently 154th in Strokes Gained: Putting), then we could really see some low numbers.
Considering he found himself shooting in the 60s more than any other player last season, he clearly is just a tweak away from something incredibly special.
Closing out tournaments is never easy but the experience Finau has garnered in his “failures” over the last few seasons are only going to steel him going forward.
A devout family man, Finau has always kept his golf in perspective, and doesn’t take the losses as scar tissue.
It should allow him to break the shackles soon and take his place amongst the best of the best.
BY THE NUMBERS
How Tony Finau ranked in Strokes Gained statistics during his last full season on the PGA TOUR.
Current 2017-18 position: 9th
Playoff appearances: 3
TOUR Championship appearances: 1
Best result: 19th (2017)
INSIGHTS FROM THE INSIDERS
PGATOUR.COM’s Insiders offer their expert views on what to expect from Tony Finau in 2018.
TOUR INSIDER by Cameron Morfit
One of the most explosive players on the planet, Finau led the TOUR in driving distance going into the six-week break, averaging 336.6 yards off the tee. That’s hardly surprising. He led the TOUR with 50 rounds in the 60s last season, and showed his mettle with a clutch, final-round 64 at the BMW Championship (T7), ensuring he would move on to the season-ending TOUR Championship at East Lake (T7). He finished 19th in the FedExCup, and started his 2017-2018 season with a runner-up at the Safeway Open, suggesting another win isn’t far away.
FANTASY INSIDER by Rob Bolton
He's everything we want and he's already off to a flying start at ninth in the FedExCup standings. The 28-year-old, father of four, averaged nearly 30 starts in his first three seasons on the PGA TOUR, so he doesn't mind hitting the road. Even better, he survived the cut in nearly three-quarters of them. Because he checks all of the boxes to produce in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO and has natural athletic ability, he comps to Dustin Johnson analytically and physically. The wins should come in bunches for Finau, but even if they don't, we'll continue to embrace what we already accept him to be: a force.
EQUIPMENT INSIDER by Jonathan Wall
The former Nike equipment staffer recorded his best season on TOUR without an equipment contract. A majority of his setup is comprised of PING equipment, including a G400 3-wood and larger-profile i200 3-iron. Finau remains one of the few players using a custom Piretti putter — the same brand Henrik Stenson had in the bag when he won the season-long FedExCup title in 2013. Continues to play Titleist Pro V1x without a golf ball contract.
STYLE INSIDER by Greg Monteforte
Finau’s athletic build and explosive game are perfect fits for Nike’s sporty threads. The trim fit of his trousers is something all golfers should copy. Look for Finau to continue to bring many of the modern athleisure and streetwear looks to the course in 2018.