Tony Finau at the 2016 Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla.

Second-year PGA golfer Finau already giving back to communities

Started the Tony Finau Foundation very early in his career

PALM HARBOR, Fla. – Some professional athletes wait until they have amassed a large fortune before they donate money back. One PGA Tour golfer knew what it was like to be in need and didn’t want to wait. 

“There is never really a right time to give back, but for me, why not start young?” said Tony Finau, a 26-year-old pro who set up his own foundation in 2015, his first year on the circuit.

He had been in the tour less than a year and made little money for himself before he decided to give to the less fortunate. The inspiration for setting up the Tony Finau Foundation and giving back to needy kids came from growing up with little means in Utah.

Tony Finau practices a couple of final puts on the 18th green during the 2016 Valspar Championship practice round in Palm Harbor Fla.
Tony Finau practises a couple of final putts on the 18th green during the 2016 Valspar Championship practice round in Palm Harbor Fla. (Andrew Bottomley/Toronto Observer)

“I know what it is, what some of our kids need,” said Finau, of Polynesian descent. “From growing up in the suburbs of Salt Lake City. I feel pretty blessed to reach the point that I am at.”

The foundation’s most recent donation was to the Shriners Hospitals for Children–Honolulu. After his donation, he finished tied for 16th at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open with a 10-under-par 274.

In only his second year on the PGA Tour, he has cracked the top 100 in the world golf rankings and currently sits at 97.

Finau played a practice round at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club on Tuesday ahead of the 2016 Valspar Championship this weekend. He is looking to bounce back from last years’ tournament, when he shot 9-over-par 151 for the first two days and missed the cut.

Even if Finau makes the cut this year, he is a long way from challenging Jordan Speith, the world No. 1 golfer and defending champion at Valspar. At least he feels good about the course after his practice round. 

“The greens are going to take some time to heal. Overall, I like it,” he said.