Utah’s Tony Finau gets final spot on US Ryder Cup team

Tony Finau plays a shot from the ninth tee during the final round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship in Southampton, N.Y., June 17, 2018. | Associated Press file photo by Seth Wenig, St. George News

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. (AP) — Tony Finau has been named to the Ryder Cup team, the final pick by U.S. captain Jim Furyk.

Finau joins Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods as Furyk’s four wild-card selections. Finau has 11 top-10s this season, including three in majors.

Tony Finau hits on the 17th tee on Aug. 7, 2018, during a practice round for the PGA Championship golf tournament at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis. | Associated Press file photo by Charlie Riedel, St. George News

“There won’t be any locker room noise with me,” said Finau, who was born and raised in Salt Lake City. “I can play with anyone. I feel that my personality is just that way. I can bring the best out of different guys playing with them, and them the same to me. I’m pretty easy to play with. And I’m playing some good golf, some world-class golf.”

His appeal is that he makes a lot of birdies, which is critical in match play. He was paired with Furyk the first two days at the PGA Championship, and struggled in the opening round before he tied a championship record by making 10 birdies in the second round.

“He has an unbelievable body of work this year,” Furyk said. “All those top-10 finishes, the play in big championships and the majors, and then his current form, a second, a fourth and an eighth in the playoffs. He checked a lot of boxes and made it impossible not to pick him.”

Eight automatic qualifiers were set after the PGA Championship, so the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs was effectively an audition. After his top-5 finishes in the first two events, Finau shot a final-round 65 on Monday to tie for eighth at the BMW Championship while Xander Schauffele, making a late run at a pick, finished one shot out of a playoff.

The Ryder Cup team includes three rookies (Finau, DeChambeau and Justin Thomas) and nine major champions.

The matches are Sept. 28-30 outside Paris.

The eight Americans who qualified on their own were Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson and Patrick Reed. Throw in Woods and Mickelson, and that gives the U.S. team a lineup that has combined for 31 majors.

That doesn’t mean as much in foursomes and fourballs, on a European course before the singing and chanting of Europeans fans.

European captain Thomas Bjorn went with veterans for his four captain’s picks, adding Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia to a team that had five rookies qualify on points.

Europe’s qualifiers were Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose, Thorbjorn Olesen, Jon Rahm, Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood and Alex Noren.

Finau, who turns 29 on Thursday, was invited by Furyk to play as part of a small group at Le Golf National on the weekend before the British Open. Finau, who has one career PGA Tour victory, said he was ready for the pressure of the Ryder Cup.

“I never thought I was on that team until I got that call,” he said. “I made sure I played that way; I played like I always had something to prove. And I let the guys on the team know that I’d be a great pick and I’d be ready to go. It’s definitely cool to accomplish something like this and to be able to play as well as I have under the circumstances, it’s something I’m extremely proud of.”

By DAN GELSTON, Associated Press Sports Writer

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.