Tony Finau’s Perseverance a Lesson in Overcoming Setbacks

Rory McIlroy, who has won every golf major except the Masters, wondered Wednesday if the post-round interview might be easier if golfers had a cooling-off period, which is common in other sports.

Asked if he agreed, Spieth laughed and said he would be no less distraught.

“For me, it lasts hours to a day, so it wouldn’t really make a difference if you gave me an extra 10 minutes,” he said.

There is one thing that golfers agreed upon on Wednesday: Finau’s victory at the Northern Trust after a long drought — he won the 2016 Puerto Rico Open, which was contested on the same week as a World Golf Championship event — was greeted enthusiastically by his colleagues.

“It was a really popular win in the locker room,” McIlroy said.

“Obviously Tony hadn’t won in a while, but he never complained,” McIlroy continued. “He just sticks his head down, goes about his business.”

Finau even credited the process of falling short in several tournaments — and then meeting with reporters to talk about his many second-place finishes — with helping to guide him back to the winner’s circle.

Answering questions following a defeat, he said, was an act of sportsmanship.

“I was taught since I was a kid, no matter how things go, sportsmanship is very, very important,” Finau, who is of Tongan and Samoan descent and was raised in Utah, said. “If you want to be good at anything, you’re going to go through some really hard times. When you go through those, it’s OK to be nice, it’s OK to be kind still. I never wanted to be one where golf was going to kill me. I’ve seen it happen to too many people where they let the game literally drive them crazy. I’ve never wanted that to be the case.”

Finau, 31, called the string of runner-up finishes, which included losing three playoffs, part of his development on a world golf stage.