Tony Finau, the only big USA player in Mexico

The PGA Tour continues its journey, this time at Vidanta, the venue for the 2024 Mexico Open

by Andrea Gussoni
Tony Finau, the only big USA player in Mexico
© Cliff Hawkins / Staff

The PGA Tour continues its journey, this time at Vidanta, the venue for the 2024 Mexico Open. Despite its ancient roots, this event has only recently gained significant status, allowing it to be included in the roster of tournaments on the major global circuits.

Tony Finau returns to defend his title after defeating Jon Rahm by three strokes last year (it's worth noting that Rahm, now part of the LIV Golf, can no longer compete on the PGA Tour).

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There's also something interesting happening for Italy.

Actually, more than something: someone. Francesco Molinari is ready to seek a good result on Mexican soil. He has the potential and certainly the favor of the course, the same one where he managed to finish 24th a year ago. The challenge for him lies in finding consistency on the other side of the ocean, something that hasn't been achieved to a great extent in recent times.

Among the top 30 in the world, only the aforementioned Finau is participating. And speaking of Rahm and the LIV Golf, the paradox is that the course for the Mexican Open was designed by Greg Norman, who is now the CEO of the Arabian league.

Nicolai Hojgaard and Thorbjorn Olesen are two of many Europeans seeking significant signs of success, while Scottish Robert MacIntyre and Belgian Thomas Detry will also aim for a big win. Although Finau received college scholarship offers in basketball, he chose to turn professional at the age of 17, embarking on a career in golf.

He initially competed on various mini-tours, including the Gateway Tour, NGA Hooters Tour, and National Pro Tour. In 2009, Finau and his brother Gipper participated in Golf Channel's The Big Break, where Finau notably finished second on Big Break Disney Golf.

In 2013, Finau played on the PGA Tour Canada, making an impressive seven cuts in eight starts. He then secured his Tour card for the 2014 season by finishing T-3 at the Tour qualifying school. Finau clinched his first title in August 2014 at the Stonebrae Classic.

His strong performance throughout the season, finishing 8th in the regular season and 12th in the Tour Finals, earned him his PGA Tour card for the 2014–15 season. Finau's breakthrough on the PGA Tour came in March 2016 when he secured his maiden title at the Puerto Rico Open.

He won in a sudden death playoff over Steve Marino, sinking a birdie on the third extra hole. Despite having missed a putt for outright victory on the 72nd green, the win propelled Finau into the top 25 in the FedEx Cup standings.

In 2017, Finau decided not to defend his Puerto Rico title, instead aiming to secure a spot in the field at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. However, he fell short by two players in the rankings, as the tournament typically invites the top 64 available players from the Official World Golf Ranking.

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