Finau expects 'no shortage of adrenaline' at Quail Hollow
Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Hideki Matsuyama are among the favourites ahead of the US PGA Championship at Quail Hollow, and are generally among the favourites whenever they tee it up. But there is another young star flying under the radar who could surprise this week.
Tony Finau, number 61 in the world rankings, finished 10th in his first PGA Championship back in 2015, and feels ready to better that this year.
As the season nears its end, some players start to feel a little fatigued. Finau, however, is just ready to compete.
"[I'm] definitely more excited than fatigued," Finau told Omnisport in an exclusive interview on Tuesday. "That's not to say I'm not fatigued, but I'm definitely very excited. When you have an opportunity like this, you just prepare and get ready for it. There will be no shortage of adrenaline and excitement for me."
Finau, 27, turned pro in 2007 and has steadily risen through the ranks to become one of the longest and most dangerous players on the PGA Tour. He earned his first victory last year at the Puerto Rico Open and has been a consistent top-10 threat throughout the last three seasons.
Finau may not yet have the same glowing resume as some other young stars, but he's worried only about his own game right now and does not want to concern himself with what others are accomplishing.
"I've never really been one to be super antsy or anxious. I feel like I've done some good things in my short career," he added.
"I had a different path, and my game is progressing, which is what it's all about. It's about getting better. If I start comparing myself to all these guys who are winning [majors] then I'm thinking about the wrong thing and I haven't used the experience that I've had."
The old adage of "golf is not a sport" is thrown out the window when looking at Finau. Standing six foot four and weighing 200 pounds, he joins the likes of Dustin Johnson in looking more like an NBA shooting guard than the archetypal professional golfer.
In fact, Finau received college basketball scholarships offers, but opted to turn pro as a golfer at 17 to play the mini-tours. Not quite ready to label himself the most athletic person on the PGA Tour, Finau did acknowledge his impressive stature.
"I do feel like I'm an athletic person," Finau said. "[I] feel like I'm a talented person. I have a lot of different skills.
"I feel I'm very seasoned. I play different instruments, like musical instruments and things like that. I just grew up around a bunch of different sports, so as far as being the most athletic, that's probably for someone else to judge, but I do feel like I'm an athletic person and I'm very skilled. There's a lot of different things I do outside of golf. Golf just happens to be the one I'm best at."
With two top-seven finishes in his last three starts, Finau enters this week in great form. He will get his PGA Championship started at 7:30am local time on Thursday.