Golfer Tony Finau tees up a foundation to give back to community

Posted at 6:33 PM, Sep 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-30 20:33:37-04

LEHI,  Utah – Tony Finau is a rising star on the PGA Tour, but he isn’t forgetting his roots.

Wednesday, the Utah native combined his love for the game of golf and giving back to his community of Rose Park.

The 26-year-old can now add Founder of the Tony Finau Foundation to his resume. Finau attributes much of his success on the links to role models who pushed him to pursue his passion.

With his foundation, he hopes to give kids who are less fortunate an opportunity to excel. Finau raked in a lot of cash and turned a lot of heads as a rookie on the PGA Tour.

“$2.1 million I made this year, so it was a very successful year for me,” Finau said.

A young, rising star of Tongan and American Samoan descent, who played alongside golf legends.

Finau said: “Walking up the 72nd hole at the PGA Championship game this year was kind of my, 'Oh my, you know, I'm here and I'm doing it, and this is awesome!'”

Wednesday,  Finau is covering new ground. He held an inaugural golf tournament for his new foundation at the Thanksgiving Point Golf Course in Lehi.

“We have two words that basically sum up our foundation, and it's: 'Inspire someone,'” Finau said.

Finau grew up in Rose Park and said it’s important to stay connected to his roots. This week, he visited his old school, Backman Elementary School, and he encouraged students to follow their dreams.

“I've been blessed to be able to do what I do for a living and play golf, and hopefully we can raise enough funds to help some kids make a difference in Salt Lake City,” Finau said.

The foundation is a way to honor his mother, who passed away in 2011. She pushed him to pursue sports at an early age.

“I really miss having her around, but I feel her spirit all the time,” Finau said.

His father, Kelepi Finau, says Tony doesn’t want to forget his friends in Rose Park.

Kelepi Finau said: “He remembers what it was growing up in Rose Park, all his friends, some are doing well, some are struggling, so he said: 'Dad, we gotta go back. We know what it's like there. There's a lot of kids that need help.'"

Golf pro buddies, like Mike Weir and Daniel Summerhayes, showed up for support.

They say Finau may be a tough, fierce competitor, but he’s also humble and generous.

“There are so many other things that he could be worried about, his game, or just improving for next year," said Daniel Summerhayes. "He's looking outside himself right off the bat, and I think that's a really great sign of his character and of his willingness to give back."

For more information about the Tony Finau Foundation, click here.