Tony Finau cruised to victory last week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, giving him back-to-back wins after his dominant performance at the 3M Open the previous week. His latest win (and 4th on tour), included rounds of 64, 66, 65 and 67—5 shots clear of the field, and a new tournament record score of 26 under par.
It’s been 3 years since anyone has won consecutive events on the PGA Tour (Brendon Todd did it back in 2019), and Tony’s accomplishment couldn’t have come at two courses that were less alike. The venerable Detroit Golf Club (Rocket Mortgage) was founded back in 1899 and features a classic Donald Ross design, while TPC Twin Cities (3M) is an extremely demanding Palmer design built in 2000. That tells you Finau can win anywhere, on any track, when he’s driving the ball consistently and making a few putts—because there are not many on Tour with his kind of power.
Breaking the Jinx
Since Tony’s first full season back in 2014-15, he’s been among the best on tour, making the cut in almost 80% of the tournaments he enters, while averaging 7 Top 10’s a year (and he’s recorded 10 Top 10’s at the major championships). But wins had been illusive—until now. Some believed it was due to the Puerto Rico Open jinx (Tony’s first Tour win was in Puerto Rico), because for a long time only Michael Bradley (the ’09 winner) was able to win again on tour after winning there (and his only other win was in Puerto Rico in 2011). Victor Hoveland (the 2020 winner) first dispelled the jinx by adding a win in 2021 at Mayakoba, and then Tony broke the jinx as well with his win at the Northern Trust in 2021—but notching two wins in a row should put an end to the jinx forever.
The Early Years
Tony was born on September 14, 1989 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and golf first grabbed his attention when he was 7 years old and Tiger burst onto the scene, winning 2 of the first 8 tournaments he entered. Picking up a copy of Nicklaus’ “Golf My Way,” he and his father (who had no knowledge of golf) set about learning the fundamentals of the game. His talent became immediately apparent, and with the support of his mom and dad he played junior tournaments throughout the state, ultimately winning the 2006 Utah State Amateur Championship at just 16 years old.
Although he was offered scholarships to play college golf at Stanford and BYU, and he was sought after to play basketball at Utah State and Webber State, Tony decided to turn pro at 18 and began playing various mini-tour events to get right into the action. In 2009 Finau got his first break—literally—when he landed a place on Golf Channel’s hit show “Big Break.” Although he finished second, golf fans were able to get their first look at Tony’s immense power—and with his grit and determination, it was only a matter of time before he would bring his talent to the PGA Tour.
In 2011, however, Tony’s golf career was put on hold when his mother was tragically killed in an automobile accident. Raised in a close-knit family, the loss of his mother hit him hard and it was almost a year before he could resume competitive golf.
By 2013 he was back, competing on the Canadian Tour where he made the cut in 7 of 8 events including 2 Top 10’s. And in 2014 he qualified for the Korn Ferry Tour, making the cut in 19 of 23 events with 5 Top 10’s including a win—and earned his PGA Tour card for the 2014-2015 season.
In his first year on Tour Tony racked up 5 Top-10 finishes, including a T10 at the PGA Championship and a T8 at The Memorial. In 2016 he recorded his first win at the Puerto Rico Open, and in 2017 Tony made the cut in 24 of 29 events with 8 Top-10’s and the first of his 5 consecutive trips to the Tour Championship (where he finished with a T7).
Perhaps one of the most defining moments of Tony’s career came at the 2018 Masters, when he dislocated his ankle following an ace at the par 3 tournament on Wednesday, popped it back in, and proceeded to record a T10 with a closing 66 on a purple foot that looked like something from a horror film. At the 2019 Masters Tony shared the 54 lead and played in the final group with Tiger, fulfilling a life-long dream while getting a front row seat of history in the making, as Woods recorded his 15th major championship victory (Tony played well amid the frenzied gallery, posting a final round 72 while finishing 2 stokes back for a T5).
With his back-to-back wins Finau has moved to No. 13 in the World Golf Rankings, and his game could not have rounded into top form at a better time as the FedEx Cup playoffs get under way in two weeks. Tony has made it clear that he has no intention of jumping at the money offered by LIV, and with nearly $3 million in earnings from the last two weeks alone, its seems that his decision was sound from a financial standpoint as well.
Tony now holds the No. 7 position in the FedEx Cup standings, just behind Rory McIlroy, and the way he’s playing it would be a surprise if he didn’t move up even further—with the $18 million first place check waiting at the end of the rainbow.
And it couldn’t happen for a more deserving young man.