Jordan Spieth made news by birdieing the final three holes to win the Dean & Deluca Invitational at Colonial in Fort Worth, earning his first PGA Tour victory in his home state of Texas. Meanwhile, Tony Finau finished tied for 34th, but he ended up authoring a happy story in his own right.
During Saturday’s third round, Finau sent his drive on the 11th hole to the left and the ball hit a spectator in the head. Elisa Butler’s injury required stitches, and although the episode seemed to affect Finau’s round, Butler obviously got the worst of it.
But rather than sign another ball for her, or make a similarly standard gesture of contrition, Finau went the extra mile. Or several extra miles — as many as it took to show up at Butler’s house with flowers, a box of chocolates and a “get well soon” card.
In a post to Instagram, Butler described it as “a very stand up gesture,” one that turned her into Finau’s “new favorite fan.” For his part, Finau told the Golf Channel, “I felt like I had to . . . just for my peace of mind.”
“I wanted to make sure I was on good terms with her and her family, and just to make sure she knows that I didn’t just hit her and I don’t really care,” Finau said. “We’re not out here to hit people, but I wanted to make sure she knew at least that I cared.”
If you had to be hit by a golfer’s drive, you particularly wouldn’t want it to come off the club of the 6-foot-4 Finau, who leads the PGA Tour in driving distance at 311.1. The 26-year-old Salt Lake City native, who turned pro in 2007, won his first PGA Tour event in March at the Puerto Rico Open and started off well in Fort Worth, carding rounds of 68 and 67. But after hitting Butler, Finau went on to shoot 73 Saturday before bouncing back a bit with a 71 Sunday.
“After the incident, it was kind of hard to erase it from my mind just because of the image. She was bleeding from head to toe,” Finau said (via the Golf Channel). “It was hard for me to kind of regroup mentally. I felt like, ‘I hope I didn’t kill somebody.'”
Not only did he not kill somebody, he created a new fan, and likely many more as the story of his in-person apology spreads. Finau, a second cousin of Bucks forward Jabari Parker, may not have gotten a victory over the weekend, but he more than earned Butler’s description of him as a #classact.
Post from @enbuster (Elisa Butler)
This is Tony Finau. Yesterday at the Colonial golf tournament, his golf ball bounced off my head and went back into play ??🠮 Luckily I am ok and all I needed was a few stitches. In a very stand up gesture, he showed up at my door step with flowers, chocolates, a get well soon card, and he stayed and talked with us for a bit. @tonyfinaugolf I wish you the best of luck in the tour going forward! -Signed, your new favorite fan, Elisa #iforgiveyou #prettyawesomestory #FOOOOREE #ouch #classact