What makes Tony Finau so good? We asked him and coach Boyd Summerhays

tony finau

Tony Finau,eflt, and Boyd Summerhays breaking down the evolution of Finau's swing.

Boyd Summerhays is scrolling. Scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. He’s got his iPad Pro in one hand, cell phone in the other, as he browses hundreds of videos of Tony Finau swings over the years. Information overload!

Summerhays arrived at Ping headquarters in Phoenix a few minutes late — blame the 8 a.m. traffic — but incredibly prepared. We were set to run through all the work he and Finau have done together for nearly a decade. This is why this swing library is so important. It’s always useful to go back in time for reference. Finau waited patiently in the other room, on set, mic’d up and ready to go. 

In this pair, Finau is the generational talent. But Summerhays is no slouch, either. He enjoyed a Tour career himself and spent a number of years in the mid-2000s studying the swings of the best players in the world. He also benefitted from employing a number of coaches. 

“Looking back, that made me a well-rounded coach,” Summerhays said. “Had a lot of different perspectives from a bunch of different coaches. Some I took, some I didn’t like from those coaches. But I took the good from those coaches and put it into what I was doing.”

When he was ready to call it quits on his playing career, Summerhays received a phone call from an up-and-coming talent on what was then the Web.com Tour — yep, Tony Finau. “He said, ‘Hey are you done playing?’” Summerhays recalled. “And I was done. I didn’t make a long explanation … and he trusted I was done. Because he didn’t want to work with somebody that was still trying to get back out on Tour. And the rest is history.” 

Well, not all history. Those baggy shorts Finau wore during a practice session in Utah back in 2014, they’re christened on the Internet forever. What you’ll also appreciate is how Finau has fine-tuned the tiniest of alterations to fix his path, the steepness of his swing and his footwork over time. And how during his infamous fall at the 2018 Masters, he changed his swing to avoid pain, send the ball into the sky and cobble together a top 10 finish.

In the video above, which was first made available only to InsideGOLF members, Summerhays and Finau go back in the archives to 2007, when Finau played an international juniors event in Sweden. He tried to hit it as far as he could back then, with a draw. Fast-forward 15 years and Finau hits power fades. When he’s locked in with the driver, he becomes one of the best players in the world, as evidenced last weekend in Houston, where he trounced the field. 

Listen in as one of the best players in the world and one of the top coaches in the world get into the nitty-gritty details of creating a world-class swing.

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Sean Zak

Golf.com Editor

Zak is a writer at GOLF Magazine, currently working on a book about the summer he spent in St. Andrews. You can read about those travels here and catch his latest thoughts on the Drop Zone Podcast:

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