Carnoustie Confidence

The Open Championship // Tony Finau

 

Carnoustie Confidence

by Garrett Johnston

 

Tony Finau makes his third Open Championship appearance this week at Carnoustie Golf Links in golf’s oldest championship, the 147th edition of The Open.

In two previous Open appearances Finau finished tied for 18th in 2016 at Royal Troon in Scotland and tied for 27th last year at Royal Birkdale in northern England.

This year Finau hopes to get a good look at what this traditionally difficult links test has to offer.

“I’m really looking forward to it, I’ve heard Carnoustie is the toughest test of all the Open Championship courses, most guys tell me that’s the case,” Finau said.

“I played really, really well at Shinnecock Hills (U.S. Open) and I feel really good about my game.”

Nothing like some strong self-confidence, especially in this game filled with mental and emotional ups and downs.

One interested U.S. Open viewer who was impressed by Finau’s performance at Shinnecock Hills was six-time major champion Nick Faldo.

“Well Tony really handled Shinnecock well because it was such a multitude of tests that week,” Faldo said.

But the three-time Open Champion is quick to point out that just because Tony played well in the U.S. Open, it doesn’t guarantee that he will continue that this week because it’s a different kind of major and a whole new event.

“It’s a good feeling for his emotions but it’s a completely different type of major,” Faldo said. “A whole different test.”

Faldo has also seen all kinds of different weather conditions in the 37 Open Championships he’s contested.

“Who knows what you’re going to get at Carnoustie.

“Sometimes you’ve got to put your waterproofs on and whoever plays in those the best, who swings the best in waterproofs for a week. Like Louis Oosthuizen when he won at St. Andrews (2010),” Faldo said.

“Until you really know and see it and know the forecast, it’s obviously the stronger player and ball-flight.”

Finau would fit in that mold, and he’s taking some good confidence out of his close call at last month’s U.S. Open (5th).

“I feel good,” Finau said.

“Shinnecock was huge for me and my confidence, I always felt like I could contend in majors and that I have the game to win major championships.

The U.S. Open, however, was the 28-year-old’s first major in the final pairing on Sunday and that is an experience that doesn’t exactly grow on trees.

“To be in the final group and sticking near the lead on the back nine was a lot of fun for me and I know that my game is built for major championships so hopefully I can play well at Carnoustie.”

As Finau enters the Open Championship he says that having a chance here on the back nine on Sunday, just like at the U.S. Open, would be incredibly special.

“It would mean everything to me and my career,” Finau said. “Wow, if I had an opportunity to win the Open, it dates back to the oldest championship, so to have a chance to do it at the home of golf (Scotland) would be great.”

 

Garrett Johnston is a sportswriter and video producer and a frequent contributor to Fairways. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnstonGarrett