Tony Finau took questions from a few in-person journalists and several Zoom callers in a little media tent shortly after finishing T2 at the Saudi International. He’d just bogeyed No. 16 and 17 and birdied 18 to finish two shots back of Dustin Johnson.
Without pause, the obligatory Tony Finau question stormed in, “It’s been well documented how you’ve close you’ve come so often to winning recently. Is this frustrating or encouraging for you?”
Finau replied with a smile, “I think more encouraging. I was able to make some putts I feel like were big on the back nine, or early on the back nine that gave me a chance. I was floating three or four back going into 11 and knew I was running out of holes to make something happen.”
It feels like critics think Finau is a disappointment — he’s not. He’s currently No. 6 in FedEx Cup points, No. 15 in the world golf ranking and he has a top five in every major. Since 2015, his worst year was 2016 when he got his only win on the PGA Tour at the Puerto Rico Open. He could retire right now and his career is something to be proud of.
Second place finishes are a good thing — it means the player is in contention which is the goal on the PGA and European Tour. He had three in 2018, two in 2019, one in 2020 and has three this year in only 10 events. This year’s run has come in consecutive events for the 31 year old from Utah. He finished T2 at the Farmers Insurance Open, flew 11 time zones to finish T2 at the Saudi International on the European Tour and then shot the low round on Sunday to finish solo second at The Genesis Invitational. No one will remember this, but to finish second in San Diego and then finish second in Saudi Arabia seven days later is one of the great accomplishments in golf history.
Finau is arguably the best ball-striker in the world with an average-ish putter. When he starts making putts — he will win often and by margins wider than the Red Sea. Tony Finau isn’t a loser, he’s not snake bit and he’s light-years from a disappointment. More appropriately, he’s a top five world talent on the cusp of world No. 1.
Finau will be in the field at the WGC Workday Championship at The Concession in Florida, and at 20-1 where a $20 play pays out $420 — he’s a good investment.