When Tony Finau played his first full season on the PGA Tour in 2014-15 and notched five top 10s, banking over $2 million in winnings, it looked like the sky was the limit. His maiden win soon followed in 2016, at the Puerto Rico Open. But between that victory and Finau’s second career Tour win, which he claimed at The Northern Trust in August, it was a long wait of more than five years.
During that time, Finau had a number of close calls, both at major championships (he played in the final pairing with Tiger Woods at the 2019 Masters) and regular Tour events, but struggled to close, leading some to speculate that perhaps Finau lacked the killer instinct needed to seal the deal on Sundays.
That all changed when Finau won the first FedEx Cup playoff event of 2021. But instead of basking in the achievement, Finau’s coach, Boyd Summerhays, said on this week’s episode of Off Course with Claude Harmon that Finau is hungrier than ever.
“With every close call that he lost, it was building up a little bit of the dog, and the chip on the shoulder and the frustration,” Summerhays said. “So when he got that win in New York, we celebrated that night. The next morning, he was at the golf course. He was like, ‘Boy, I am so hungry for more, I’ve waited so long for this second win. It’s been way too long. Let’s go.'”
Summerhays then talked about the difficulty of maintaining a hot streak, and how hard it is to come back after a slump. According to Summerhays, Finau has managed to stay hungry throughout his career because of how difficult it was to notch that long-awaited second victory.
“I don’t think he can be this hungry eight years in if that second win wasn’t so hard to get,” Summerhays said. “Because he’s now into his eighth season, and he has high, high goals. He’s not going to be satisfied to retire without a major, for sure. He wants a couple of majors. He wants to be in the Hall of Fame. Always his goal, even from the Korn Ferry Tour.
“I still feel like he’s going to be really hungry for the next 10 to 12 years,” Summerhays continued. “He’s always playing golf. He’s never taken a break, unless he’s sick.”
For more from Summerhays, including how to best prepare junior golfers for a future in competitive golf, and how chasing perfection in the golf swing can go wrong, check out the full interview below.