Tony Finau played the ultimate Presidents Cup prank on his swing coach

Boyd Summerhays isn’t just a world-renowned golf coach, he’s also a world-renowned prankster. The GOLF Top 100 Teacher is more than simply a swing coach for the stars, he’s also their chief cage-rattler — beloved and, at the same time, despised by his students for his prank antics.

But even the best pranksters aren’t immune to landing on the receiving end of a good joke, as Summerhays explained to hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz on this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar.

“Oh gosh, you talked to Tony, didn’t you?” Summerhays said with a laugh, as he began to share a true student-becoming-the-master story about his own student, Tony Finau.

“Okay, so, Tony plays some great golf, Tiger Woods is Tony’s childhood idol,” Summerhays said. “He’s playing great, he’s going through the playoffs, his world ranking’s high. It makes all the sense in the world that he’s going to get picked [for the Presidents Cup].”

But, Summerhays remembers, around the time that Finau was supposed to hear about earning a spot on the Presidents Cup team, the 31-year-old pro went dark.

“We’d been facetiming and doing our normal thing during tournament week,” he said. “All of the sudden, he gets done and he didn’t play good that last event. So, he didn’t text much that night, and I thought, ‘okay, that’s a little weird.'”

Slowly word began to trickle back to Summerhays that Finau had missed the Presidents Cup team, despite having a very worthy resume for the spot.

“Then he had his caddie and his agent start to text me saying, ‘hey, have you talked to Tony yet?'” Summerhays said. “I don’t even know why the heck I started to buy it. So, at the time, his caddie was like, ‘man, have you heard the news?’

“So I text Tony, and I’m like, man, you played good enough, it’s just a decision. My condolences.’ He’s like ‘Hey bro, I get it, but we’ll chat when I land. I’m gutted. Thanks.'”

After their conversation, Finau went dark again, leaving his coach heartbroken over the supposed missed-selection for another 48 hours.

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“So for like, two days, I’m just feeling it for him, because I feel like he really deserved to be on, and I know he’s gutted hearing it from Tiger,” he said. “He facetimes me and I answer the call and we’re talking and he’s playing it great and he’s sad and his face is sunk a little bit.”

Finally, Finau couldn’t take it anymore. He had to spill the beans to his coach.

“The conversation keeps going on but I’m still not catching on, and all of the sudden he’s like, ‘c’mon Boyd, you know Tiger’s a smart guy, he picked me,” Summerhays said. “His wife’s recording it, and he says, ‘he picked me’ and I’m like three or four seconds where I’m just quiet recording it because for two days I knew he didn’t make the team. So he got me good. And he still laughs about it. That’s the only time he’s ever gotten me.”

Finau proved a strong selection for that Presidents Cup team. The Puerto Rico Open winner played well all week, at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia, and even though he didn’t pick up any outright wins, his three tied matches played a key role in the U.S. Team’s dramatic comeback to retain the Cup.

To hear the rest of Summerhays’ Subpar interview, including why he thinks Finau doesn’t get enough credit for his competitive chops, check out the video below.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine on a broad range of topics. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and utilizes his broadcast experience across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James — and evidently, his golf game — is still defrosting from four years in the snow, during which time he cut his teeth at NFL Films, CBS News and Fox Sports. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from.