Five-time PGA Tour winner Tony Finau talks Netflix’s ‘Full Swing,’ fatherhood, his investment in Hyperice, and how he happened upon golf.
Before Tony Finau ever had aspirations of playing on the PGA Tour, he dreamt of playing in the NBA.
Growing up in the Rose Park neighborhood of Salt Lake City, Utah, less than three miles from where the Jazz call home, a young Finau played plenty of ball, both for the Junior Jazz and his high school team.
He was also a big Los Angeles Lakers fan, and the late Kobe Bryant was his favorite player. Few forget that iconic moment in 2020, shortly after Bryant’s death, when Finau wore his No. 8 Lakers jersey at the famed 16th hole at the WM Phoenix Open, sinking a long birdie putt and celebrating by mimicking a jump shot and pointing to the name on the back of his jersey as fans chanted “Kobe. Kobe. Kobe.”
But despite his budding love for basketball, and the potential to play in college, Finau found himself playing golf.
“Golf fell in my lap,” Finau told Boardroom. “It was nothing I ever tried to pursue or had any interest in playing. It fell in my lap. I’m extremely blessed to play the game and be involved in the game. Now being on this side of it, where I’ve been around the game for 25+ years, I’ve seen some pretty cool things and I’ve met some pretty cool people all through this unbelievable game.”
Part of the Family
For Finau’s family, golf was always a family affair. Unable to afford regular reps at a course, the Finaus set up a makeshift driving range in their garage, attaching a net and mattress to the door to absorb shots.
In episode six of Full Swing, the new golf-focused docuseries available on Netflix from the creators of Formula One: Drive to Survive and tennis’ Break Point, Finau and his father, Kelepi, take viewers back to his home in Rose Park where Finau grew up with his seven siblings. As part of the tour, viewers get to see the famed door, still pock-marked with golf-ball-sized indentations.
Unlike some other PGA Tour pros who participated in the show, Finau, 33, was quick to open his doors to producers and camera crews to get an intimate look at his life, which includes his wife, Alayna, and their five children.
“I was one of the first ones to sign on to do Full Swing,” Finau said. “I leaned in pretty hard; I allowed pretty much full access throughout the season, and although I wasn’t playing well early in the season, I thought it was important to get my story out there and show people who I am off the golf course.”
The show also allowed him to showcase his biggest priority — being part of a family.
“I’m a husband and a father first, and that’s always been my priority,” he said. “I can show people what we do on the road and that I can still have time with my kids. You always have to sacrifice something to be good at anything. I think that one of the parts that I’m not willing to sacrifice is the time I have with my kids, especially at this specific age. I hope that shines through as you watch the show — that that’s extremely important, that family time is extremely important, and there’s other things you can sacrifice but it doesn’t have to be time with your kids.”
Tony Finau on the Upswing
Finau, who made his PGA Tour debut in 2015, had four missed cuts and one top-10 finish through the first 11 events of the 2021-22 campaign, heading into April. Then it turned for Finau. He rattled off back-to-back victories at the 3M Open on July 24 and Rocket Mortgage Classic on July 31.
He then leveraged that success into another victory on Nov. 13 at the Houston Open for his third win in seven tournaments, and his fifth overall on the PGA Tour.
“Winning once on the PGA Tour is cool, but going back-to-back weeks gives you confidence,” he said. “I think it’s definitely given me some confidence just to know I can win. I had a stretch of my career where there were a lot of people doubting if I was actually able to close out a golf tournament, so to be able to win in two different ways back-to-back was pretty cool. Then I think I sealed that with the win in Houston as far as in my mind.”
Investing in Wellness and Winning
With three top-10 finishes in seven events in 2022-23, Finau has been able to support his family through his PGA Tour success, where he’s earned $34.3 million. But he’s also been busy building his portfolio off the course.
Finau signed with Nike in 2016 and with Ping two years later. He’s also a brand ambassador for Aon, the financial services firm behind the Risk Reward Challenge.
And as perhaps his biggest off-course endeavor, Finau is a brand ambassador and investor in Hyperice, an industry leader in recovery training technology.
“I’ve always been a big believer in overall health and wellness and this fits the bill better than just about any brand that I have,” Finau said. “My house looks like I’m an intense investor in Hyperice because there’s nothing but Hyperice products all over my house. It helps me play, it helps me pre-round, post-round. There’s so many products that are amazing for everybody and you can make it specific to you.”
He said the partnership works because he truly believes in this mission.
“It’s quite something to be involved with a company like that who is looking after your wellness even if you’re not,” Finau said. “That’s what I think is so great about these products.”
And as far as what’s ahead, Finau said he’s focused on finding ways to win.
“I think it takes a certain amount of experience to learn how to win and just gaining that experience I think is important for me,” he said. “My outlook on this season and as I move forward, I think, internally just the expectations change a little bit when you’re in that position — you expect to win and that’s what makes it great when you play in these types of events. That’s sports but you have to be up for the challenge.”
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