AUSTIN, Texas – Two weeks ago Tony Finau was 70th in the Official World Golf Ranking and well outside the normal window to earn a spot into this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
But when the commitment list was released, things had changed dramatically, with five players choosing not to make the trip to Austin Country Club for this week’s event, so Finau was thrust into the role of first alternate.
It was a particularly tough decision for Finau, who is the defending champion this week at the Puerto Rico Open, to take his chance at the Match Play.
“It was only this scenario that would pull me from Puerto Rico,” Finau said. “It was a tough decision because I loved being in Puerto Rico and I told the fans last year in my winning speech I’d be back if I wasn’t playing the Match Play, so it all kind of rang to me.”
Finau could have remained committed to the Puerto Rico Open and defended his title had no one else withdrawn from the Match Play on Wednesday, but he said he wouldn’t have been mentally prepared to play the opposite-field event and focused on the World Golf Championship.
“It was a no-brainer for me. It’d be tough being in Puerto Rico right now and someone withdrew [from the Match Play] and I’m not here to take advantage of that,” said Finau as he completed a nine-hole practice round on Tuesday. “I’d like to think I’m going to play in this event in the years to come, so whether I get in this year or not I’ve seen the golf course and look forward to the years to come.”