Finau Riding High on Confidence, Hopes it’s His Time
Could it be Tony Finau’s time to win a major championship? He certainly believes so.
Players often talk about trying to peak for a major championship, getting their game in form at just the right time to win one of the biggest events of the year. Finau has hit his peak, at least when it comes to his self-belief. As he prepares to make his ninth appearance in the PGA Championship, he does so with his confidence at an all-time high and a new sense of belief in what he’s capable of achieving.
“I feel like a different player, more so than I've ever been,” Finau said Tuesday in Rochester. “More confident in my game and my abilities than I've ever been and just who I am as a person and as and as a player.”
And rightfully so. Finau has won four times on the PGA TOUR over the last calendar year, including most recently just two weeks ago in Mexico, where he held off a charging world No. 1 in Jon Rahm to put the golf world on notice.
“Whenever you can win leading up to a major championship, I think it gives you some confidence that you can play well, and I think that's definitely the case this week,” Finau said about his most recent win. “It just tells me that my game is better than it's ever been, and confidence I think is as high as it's ever been leading up into major season.”
That says a lot, given Finau has been competing in majors since 2015. And he’s grown since he made his debut, as a rookie, in the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. He finished an impressive tie for 10th in his first appearance and has twice more finished inside the top 10. But it was during that very first PGA Championship that the seed was first planted for what might be possible, one day, for Finau.
“At that time I think I knew that someday I could win a major championship,” Finau said about his trip to Whistling Straits. “It didn't happen that week and hasn't happened since, but it definitely gave me a fun taste of what major championship golf was like and that my game is fit for major championships.”
And he believes his game is a fit for Oak Hill Country Club, too. Finau says it's a long hitter’s golf course that puts a premium on ball striking, particularly off the tee. And he says those are the areas of his game where he has excelled over the last year.
“You've got to hit it far and you've got to hit it straight. This golf course is going to start from the tee box. If you're not hitting enough fairways, you're not going to be able to play this place very good,” Finau said after playing 18 holes at Oak Hill on Monday. “The guys that can mentally overcome the hurdle of just trying to stay patient, and you just have to play well for all four days if you're going to win this week.”
Finau definitely has the game to contend, he’s proven that with multiple victories over the last 12 months. And listening to the six-time PGA TOUR winner assess the layout at Oak Hill, he knows he has what it takes to play well at the historic venue.
The only question that remains is whether it’s Finau’s time. He believes it could be.