By Max Adler, GolfDigest
How Tony Finau maintains his killer instinct (with a smile)
Park City, UT (August 2, 2022) — Golf Digest recently spent time with Tony Finau at Victory Ranch, a swanky new residential development and golf course overlooking Park City, Utah. There we broke the news to him that he finished first on Golf Digest’s fourth edition of its Tour Nice Guys Ranking, and his reaction was wonderfully modest. On the range before he showed us a few shots, he took a fresh glove from its packaging and commented about how much this luxury still tickles him. This from a golfer who has cracked the top 10 in the world ranking, played on a victorious Ryder Cup team and won four times—after back-to-back wins at the 3M Open and the Rocket Mortgage Classic—on the PGA Tour. Just an hour west of Park City, beyond the beautiful mountains, Milton Pouha (Tony) Finau grew up the third of seven children in a gritty section of Salt Lake City to a father, Kelepi, who worked night shifts for Delta Airlines, and mother, Ravena. There Tony lapped the Jordan River Par 3 Course wearing the same glove for five years, playing with younger brother Gipper.
That’s not to suggest simple origins are a requisite for being nice. For sure, lots of wealthy country-club tour players are as quick with a warm greeting and a handshake when the cameras aren’t watching. But Finau’s easygoing manner made him top of mind among his peers. Of course, “nice” is subjective. Particularly this year, the ongoing schism in professional golf has challenged traditional notions about right and wrong. It’s possible to be an ethically upright person who isn’t pleasant to strangers, just as it is to be a cordial backstabber to one’s friends. Hanging out with Finau, 32, though, confirmed that our method picked a good egg: