TOP 30 PLAYERS TO WATCH
No. 16: Tony Finau
December 15, 2018
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- December 15, 2018
Shot of the Day
Tony Finau eagle chip for Shot of the Day
Tony Finau still has just one PGA TOUR title to his name, the 2016 Puerto Rico Open, but is next-level stardom awaiting the long-hitting Utahan in 2019?
Brooks Koepka thinks so, and he knows whereof he speaks. Koepka said recently that he intentionally nudged Finau into the bright lights when they were Ryder Cup partners in France, pushing for the duo to be sent out first out for the American team on Friday.
“I wanted me and Tony to go out first,” Koepka told Golf.com. “First off, I felt like it was really going to help Tony’s career. He’s such a good player and he’s a lot like me. I could see that scenario really progressing him to be in my shoes. I really could see that.”
The two were indeed sent out first, and beat Jon Rahm and Justin Rose 1 up as the U.S. took an early lead. Two days later, Finau made six birdies and thumped Tommy Fleetwood 6 and 4 in singles, one of the few highlights for the U.S. on the weekend as he ran his record to 2-1-0.
And what of Koepka’s prediction?
Finau has since finished second at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, which he called a lost opportunity, and finished out of contention at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (T36) and Mayakoba Golf Classic (T16), where the tight El Camaleon course wouldn’t seem to suit his game.
When (but not whether) the superstar-in-waiting Finau gets win No. 2 remains one of the biggest questions in golf. – By Cameron Morfit
BY THE NUMBERS
Current 2018-19 position: 12th
Playoff appearances: 4
TOUR Championship appearances: 2
Best FedExCup result: 6th in 2018.
SHOTLINK FUN FACT
Tony Finau has the most Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee in the last two combined seasons on the PGA TOUR, gaining 115.326 strokes on the field in that category.
PGATOUR.COM’s Insiders offer their expert views on what to expect from Tony Finau in 2019.
TOUR INSIDER: Finau was 180th in Driving Accuracy last season, but it didn’t hurt him as he was 17th in Greens in Regulation percentage. And it’s hard to argue with 11 top-10s and 19 top-25 finishes in 28 starts (6th in the FedExCup). To turn those close calls into victories, though, he’ll need to putt better (65th in Strokes Gained: Putting last season) and, more crucially, finish better. Last season he was 8th in first-round scoring but fell to 31st in that stat on Sundays. – By Cameron Morfit
FANTASY INSIDER: I can't think of the last golfer with only one PGA TOUR win for whom it's reasonable to expect multiple victories in a single season sooner than later. He nearly connected with his validation at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in October, but there will not be shortage on opportunities to convert his second title because you could successfully argue that no one who plays as often adapts better to every test. Although he banked $5.620 million in 2017-18, hedge for an increase in his age-29 season. -- By Rob Bolton
EQUIPMENT INSIDER: Long-hitting Finau, alongside fellow bomber Cameron Champ, plays the ultra-forgiving Ping G400 Max driver; Finau’s driver is 9.5 degrees and has an Accra Z X485 M5 shaft in it. He also plays a Ping i500 3-iron, a hollow-bodied iron designed for forgiveness, in addition to a set of Ping iBlades (4-PW). To go along with 13 Ping clubs – he signed a multi-year contract with Ping in the beginning of 2018 -- Finau uses a beautiful Piretti Elite, wide-soled putter. -- By Andrew Tursky
STYLE INSIDER: Finau is another Nike athlete whose athleticism is a perfect fit for the brand’s high-tech threads. If there is one style move that amateurs should steal from Finau it’s the cut of his trousers. The slim fit, aggressive taper, and short break are on trend. -- By Greg Monteforte