Tony Finau’s experience in the 2018 Ryder Cup drove his efforts to make the U.S. team for this week’s Presidents Cup, and his performance in Paris is a big reason why Tiger Woods picked him to play in Australia.
The Salt Lake City native and Lehi resident is the first homegrown Utahn to play in either international golf event. Finau is part of the 12-man American team that will challenge the International squad at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, beginning Wednesday (Thursday in Australia).
Finau was one of Woods’ four captain’s picks, and being part of Woods’ team is rewarding to him. Like many golfers of his generation, the 30-year-old Finau was influenced by Woods’ rise in the game.
Making the team “was a goal of mine to start the season and I know I wanted to just have the opportunity to play, and play for Tiger,” Finau said.
PRESIDENTS CUP SCHEDULE
Golf Channel's coverage of the Presidents Cup (times MST):
Wednesday – 3:30-10 p.m.
Thursday – 5-10 p.m.
Friday – 1 p.m.-12 a.m.
Saturday – 4-10 p.m.
Finau was one of the top U.S. players in the Ryder Cup, posting a 2-1 record that included a 6-and-4 defeat of Tommy Fleetwood in their singles match. Europe took a 17½-10½ victory in Paris.
In picking Finau last month, Woods cited his Ryder Cup exposure. “So he’s been around it, he’s understood it, and what a great team guy. … Everyone on this team wants to play with Tony. He can play either format, which is great.”
Finau had mixed results in the fall portion of the PGA Tour's 2019-20 schedule, tying for ninth place in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, but finishing low or missing the cut in his other starts. He finished well last week in the Hero World Challenge in Bermuda, shooting 68-68-65 to tie for 10th place after opening with a 79. The 18-player field included 11 members of the U.S. team.
Like the Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup consists of two-man teams, playing four-ball (“best-ball”) and foursomes (alternate-shot) matches, then one round of individual matches. The difference is the Presidents Cup schedule is spread over four days instead of three.
The Americans have dominated the Presidents Cup vs. the non-European golfers for more than a decade. Sandy resident Mike Weir, a native of Canada, is an International assistant captain as a five-time Presidents Cup contestant.
Preston Summerhays, the two-time defending State Amateur champion, was part of the U.S. team that defeated the International team 13-11 in the Junior Presidents Cup this week in Melbourne. Summerhays went 2-1 in his three matches, losing 1 up in singles play.