Tony Finau’s Favorite Golf Gambling Story: A $500 Hole-In-One

Tony Finau’s Favorite Golf Gambling Story: A $500 Hole-In-One article feature image

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tony Finau

The Action Network spoke with several of today’s top professional golfers to find out their favorite personal golf betting stories.

  • Who: Tony Finau
  • When: About 10 years ago
  • Where: Las Vegas

Finau grew up in a hardscrabble section of Rose Park, Utah, the third-oldest of eight children. When he was 9 years old, his father Gary started taking him and his younger brother Gipper to a local par-3 course called Jordan River, which became a refuge from the gang-infested streets.

The boys quickly turned into local legends, as Tony would perform in fire-knife dancing shows to scrape together enough money to compete in tournaments around the world.

This is his story of the most memorable golf bet of his life.

“My best skins game story happened when I was 19. I was already a pro. [Gipper] and I would go to Vegas sometimes, when the weather got sketchy in Utah, really just to make some money.

“We went out there for a team game. That day, there were a few guys there who, if I lost, they probably would’ve had some people on me.

“I was down about $800 going into the last four holes and there’d been a lot of carryovers. So we’re up to about a $1,200 hole. I don’t have this type of money. It’s either I.O.U. or we’re going to have to win these last few holes.

‘We get to the 15th hole and I hit a 5-iron over the top of the flag. We get up there and it’s in for a hole-in-one. My brother and I ended up winning about $500 that day.

“It’s a day I’ll never forget. It’s like that saying that Lee Trevino talks about: Pressure is playing for money you don’t have. Especially when you’re a man of your word.

“You don’t want to be known as the hustler who can’t pay his bets. I take pride in that and pay my bets when I owe, but I didn’t have that type of money. I hit a great shot when I needed one.

“I was there to win some money and I did. It was pretty nuts.”

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