Why Tiger Woods gave Tony Finau the cold shoulder on Masters Sunday

April 7, 2020

We all know there won’t be a Masters this week, but World No. 16 Tony Finau at least provided a little glimpse into what it was like playing in the final grouping for last year’s Masters.

Finau recently joined Drew Stoltz and Colt Knost on GOLF’s Subpar podcast to talk about his prodigious power, why he decided to skip college and turn pro and, of course, the final day of last year’s Masters. Finau shot a bogey-free eight-under 64 in the third round on Saturday to vault up the leaderboard, and he said that afterward he thought he’d given himself a pretty good shot to sneak into the final pairing. But with an ominous weather forecast for Sunday, that final pairing turned into a final grouping, and Finau (11 under) and Woods (11 under) joined 54-hole leader Francesco Molinari (13 under) as the final threesome off the 1st tee on Sunday morning.

“I dreamed since I was a kid of competing against Tiger, playing against him in the final group, being paired with him in the final group of a Masters or a U.S. Open, and that’s what my dreams were made of as a kid,” Finau said on Subpar. “The putt that I made was to beat him by one. All that. I was the same kid. To finally have that opportunity, on Saturday night yeah of course I was nervous.”

But then came Sunday, and Finau said the nerves were much better than he’d expected. He said he’d never seen that many people in his life when walking to the 1st tee and called it “surreal.”

“I was more like, Man, I earned this, and I’m happy I felt that way because it’s not a good feeling to be on the 1st tee and fangirling over Tiger,” Finau said.

Finau said that when all three players arrived at the tee they said “hi” and “good luck,” but after that few words were spoken. That’s what led to him learning an important first-hand lesson about Woods.

“We finally get to the 7th hole, and Tiger and I were walking next to each other off the tee, and it was kind of awkward,” Finau said. “I was like, How come he’s not talking to me? Maybe I should say something to him. So I’m like, ‘Hey Tiger, how are the kids?’ And he’s like, ‘Oh, they are doing fine.’ And he just laser-eyed straight down the fairway and just kept on walking and from that point on I said, well, I know where his attitude is at and I’m not talking to him the rest of the day. The next time we spoke was when I congratulated him on winning the green jacket. He pretty much told me (during the round) with a straight face, ‘Leave me alone.'”

We all know how this one played out. Finau and Molinari found Rae’s Creek on 12 and Woods shot 70 to clinch his 15th major title. Finau shot 72 to tie for 5th, which at the time matched his best major finish of his career. This all happened with a front-row seat to history.

“Those type of experiences are things, for me, you can’t pay for,” Finau said.

Check out the full conversation with Finau on this week’s episode of Subpar on Apple Podcasts HERE, by searching for “Subpar” wherever you get your podcasts or by watching the complete video below.

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