Just as well Tony Finau’s a nice guy, but his character is getting severely tested right now. It’ll be that way until he finally adds that next W.
It’s surely just around the corner but, as we’ve seen so often, it might never come. Nothing is guaranteed in this game.
Finau had a golden chance to win the PGA Tour’s 3M Championship but finished joint third behind Michael Thompson. Former Golfweek colleague and good friend Adam Schupak says Finau could be suffering from the Puerto Rico curse. Finau’s only PGA Tour win came in the 2016 Puerto Rico Open.
Other players who have won the Puerto Rico Open have not won again. Finau has 30 top 10s since then, the most of any player without a win in that time. Tommy Fleetwood is second with 16.
“They don’t give out second-place trophies, third-place trophies, I’ve learned that the hard way with a lot of them coming early in my career, but I continue to just believe and hope for the best for my future,” Finau said.
“There’s a little bit of frustration, but not, you know, not a lot.”
As Charles Price noted many years ago,
“Golf, especially championship golf, isn’t supposed to be any fun. It was never meant to be fair, and never will make any sense.”
Finau isn’t the first player to find this out. He won’t be the last. One thing’s for sure, the questions are going to come flying at him. They might be phrased in different ways, but they'll ask the same question: why haven’t you won again?
Better players than Finau get it all the time. Rory McIlroy has been subject to it since 2014. He won two majors that year – the Open Championship and PGA Championship. He hasn’t won a major since, and he’s had to field questions on why ever since.
Lee Westwood has been subject to similar "why haven’t you won a major" questions. Colin Montgomerie did, too. Sergio Garcia as well until he won the 2017 Masters. Tom Kite went through it in his career. Kite, a money-making machine with 19 PGA Tour victories, always said it never bothered him. Then he won the 1992 US Open and finally admitted:
“It bugged the hell out of me!”
Finau is as nice a guy as they come but you can bet he feels just like Kite did. He can take heart from Thompson, who went seven years before notching his second win to go with 2013 Honda Classic.
Finau has pressure on him but Thompson perhaps had more. After all, he’s a former World Amateur Golf Ranking number one. He reached the top of amateur golf in 2008. Much was expected of him in professional golf, perhaps more than just two wins so far.
Thompson’s story should give Finau comfort. He still has lots of time to make his mark in this frustrating game. One thing's for sure, it will be a popular victory when it comes.
England double for Amateur golf
Today sees a historic first in the men’s and women’s English Amateur Championships. For the first time, both championships will be held in the same week at the same venue.
Woodhall Spa sees Connor Gough set out to defend the title he won as a 16-year-old at Hankley Common, while Ellen Hume will be looking to win the trophy she lifted at Saunton last year.
Obviously Covid-19 protocols have forced England Golf to conduct both championships at the same venue, but it makes such perfect sense it’s a wonder it doesn’t happen more often.
The Amateur Championship and Women’s Amateur Championship will also be held in the same week next month for the same Covid-19 reasons. They’re not being held at the same venue but not far from each other at respective clubs Royal Birkdale and West Lancs.
Celebrating the best of men’s and women’s amateur golf in the same week has to be good for the game, doesn't it?
#JustSaying: “I have never felt so lonely as on a golf course in the midst of a championship with thousands of people around, especially when things began to go wrong and the crowds started wandering away.” Bobby Jones