Tony Finau’s heart-warming, and hilarious, ball markings
3 Min Read
Written by GolfWRX @GolfWRX
Tony Finau's interview after winning 3M Open
It’s easy to forget that professional golfers have lives outside the ropes, that their days aren’t consumed solely with dialing in their launch angles and carry distances. They too must balance personal and professional obligations.
That’s especially true for Tony Finau, who balances being a father of five with winning PGA TOUR titles, like he did at last week’s 3M Open.
Finau’s kids serve as an inspiration in a unique way, as well. While some players use dots or lines to give their balls a unique appearance, Finau marks his kids’ initials on his Titleist Pro V1 Left Dot ball.
They have to earn their way onto daddy’s ball, however. He doesn’t put all five sets of initials on each ball. He starts with one set, then cycles through the roster based on performance. He’ll use his wife’s initials, as well.
“I start with one (kid) and see how they perform,” Finau told GolfWRX on Tuesday at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. “If they’re not performing well, I just start switching them out. I’m pretty lenient, I’ll give them some time, but right out of the gate, if it’s lip-out and lip-out in a couple holes, it’s the next one up.
“The good thing is I have five kids, so usually one of them is working, at least.”
Finau uses the Pro V1 Left Dot, which has been played on TOUR but was released in limited runs to the public last year as a CPO (custom performance option). CPOs are models designed to fit players with very distinct needs and preferences. Earlier this week, three dozen Left Dots sold for $700 on an online auction site. The Left Dot is ideal for players with high launch and high spin off the tee because it flies lower and spins less.
“The Left Dot golf ball is right for me because I’ve always put a lot of spin on the golf ball,” Finau said. “I think the best word I can use is just reliable. I can count on the golf ball in the crosswinds, into the wind, downwind. I know how far the golf ball is going to go. … Distance control is up there probably with the most important things when it comes to striking a golf ball and playing golf.”
The initials, which go on either side of the ball’s numbers, are one of two unique markings on his golf balls. He also has four small lines, with one big line down the middle.
The five lines on the side of the golf ball help Finau align the ball to his target, obtain visual alignment assistance at address, and gather feedback on how he struck the putt as it rolls. If the lines roll end-over-end, then Finau knows he hit his putt squarely. If they wobble, then something was off during his stroke.
The lines stay the same. The initials can change, however.
“I’m not crazy superstitious, but there does come a time where, if my kids are a little scared of the dark that day, they want to go swimming, they want to go to the beach,” Finau said, joking about balls that are hesitant to go in the hole or seem eager to head toward water or bunkers, “I’ve got to let them go and bring somebody else in that’s ready to score for me.”
It worked last week. His win at the 3M Open was truly a family affair.