Finau gives thanks to his family for PGA successesAug 04, 2022 10:17AM ● By Tom Haraldsen
FARMINGTON—On Sunday afternoon, Utahn Tony Finau was front and center on the nation’s professional golf stage, being interviewed by CBS’ Amanda Renner moments after he won the Rocket Mortgage Classic at the Detroit Golf Club. Less than 18 hours later, he stood on the driving range of the Oakridge Country Club in Farmington, conducting a clinic before golfers teed off for his foundation pro-am that’s tied to the Korn Ferry Tour’s Utah Championship being played this week at Oakridge.
His fourth PGA title came one week after he won his third – at last week’s 3M Open in Minnesota, completing a rare back-to-back championship run.
As always, he was focused much more on family and those up-and-coming golfers who are competing this week, even as both the trophy he won in Michigan and the U.S. Ryder Cup trophy he was part of capturing for the United States last fall were on full display at Oakridge.
“I can’t help but think, over these last couple of weeks, how special they’ve been, to think about the wonderful sacrifice that my parents have made for me and my family,” Finau said, choked up with emotion when remembering his mother, Vena, who was killed in an automobile accident in 2011 outside of Elko, Nevada. “There’s a V at the bottom of my logo, and it’s for my mom Vena. I know that she is proud of what I’ve done. I had a pretty amazing mom, and I feel like I need to show the world that even though I get so much love and am told what a great person I am, that I owe so much to my mom. It feels special to be here and have this great event to honor my mom.”
The clinic featured Finau’s son Jraice, who at age 11 won the 2021 Utah Junior Golfers Association Player of the Year award last year and was crushing 260 yard-plus drives at Monday’s event, along with a contingent of BYU golfers who are playing in the Korn Ferry field this week. Finau’s longtime swing coach Boyd Summerhays was emcee for the clinic, with the pros giving tips and demonstrations. The Tony Finau Foundation, designed to “inspire the next generation to discover, develop and achieve their goals,” is already helping a number of young golfers in their journeys. One such golfer is BYU graduate Patrick Fishburn, who is playing at Oakridge this week.
The love for Finau was palpable on the driving range Monday, and Finau returned it.
“To have all of you guys here to support and continue to support me, the Foundation, and what we’re doing to change the lives of the youth in our state – I am so grateful. We made the announcement earlier this year of the learning center that we’re in the preliminary works for in West Valley City. We’re doing some things to help make great changes. That can’t happen without the support that you guys give. I hope you realize that you’re part of something special. I’m filled with gratitude for my parents, for my wife, for all of you. This is a special time in our lives.”
This week’s Korn Ferry Tour event began on Thursday and Friday with two opening rounds. Those golfers making the cut after 36 holes will then compete this Saturday and Sunday, with tee times yet to be determined. Information on the Utah Championship along with updates will be posted online at https://utahchampionship.com/. λ