Tony Finau may be known to golf fans as the guy who nearly broke his ankle before the Masters, but to his wife, Alayna Galea’i-Finau, he is simply a family man. Tony made history by becoming the first Tongan and Samoan to play on the PGA Tour. The couple has four children, and Tony admits his travel schedule as a pro golfer makes it difficult on his family.
“I think the biggest challenge when I’m on the road is being away from my family,” Tony explained to Deseret News. “I always had parents who were there for me, and they would … teach me the basic principles of the gospel, really through example more than anything else. I don’t have as much time with my children as I’d like.”
Before his infamous ankle injury, Tony was able to enjoy the Masters Par 3 Contest with his family, an annual tradition for golfers to play with loved ones on the eve of the big tournament. His wife and children attend the tournaments when they are able.
Learn more about Tony’s wife and children.
1. Tony Sustained a High Ankle Sprain After Celebrating a Hole-in-One with His Family at the Masters Par 3 Contest
Prior to the Masters, Tony made the news, but not for the reasons he wanted. On the eve of the Masters, Tony was playing the Par 3 Contest with his wife and kids. Tony had an awesome hole-in-one, and elected to celebrate by running down the green. Unfortunately, his ankle buckled, and Tony looked to have popped his ankle back into place as soon as it happened. The video went viral, and Tony admits a lot of people recognize him at tournaments now.
“Ankle is great,” Tony told Newsday. “It was kind of crazy how it happened, but maybe a blessing in disguise. A lot more people, a lot more seem to know me now, so I don’t mind it all.”
2. Tony & Alayna Have 4 Children
Tony and Alayna have four children: Jraice (6), Leilene Aiaga (5), Tony (3) and Sage (1). Their big family keeps the Finau couple busy, but it sounds like they want to keep adding to it. Tony spoke with the Charlotte Observer about potentially having more children down the road.
“We’d like to at least have one more,” Tony explained to the Charlotte Observer. “We’ll probably do five or six. We come from big families. I think Polynesians in general, but also the Mormon community, LDS, we like big families. I have five brothers and three sisters. (My wife) has three sisters and a brother.”
3. Alayna & Tony Are Both Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Tony is passionate about his heritage as a Tongan and Samoan athlete as well as his faith. The couple are part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Alayna takes the children to church by herself on most Sundays as Tony is playing in tournaments. Tony enjoys representing all parts of his faith and family.
“It’s really an honor for me to represent my people at the level that I am,” Tony explained to the Deseret News. “I think the Polynesian people and the gospel are in harmony. We’re very respectful people, and very humble people … and I try and let that shine through as much as possible.”
As part of an expression of his faith, Tony abstains from alcohol. Tony elaborated on the philosophy behind his decision.
“I made that decision a really long time ago that [alcohol] was not for me,” Tony told the Deseret News. “I think people look at it as, ‘Oh my goodness, you’re not having fun.’ But I think it’s really cool you can have fun without being intoxicated by anything … understanding the Word of Wisdom, knowing why that’s in place and believing in latter-day revelation as a Mormon has been everything to me…I want to try and have as long a career as possible. That’s only going to happen if I take care of my body now. … My church teaches me the same thing with the Word of Wisdom, that you have to be healthy, you have to take care of yourself and take care of your body.”
4. Tony Once Turned Down a Tee Time With Tiger to Be With His Wife When She Was Pregnant With Their Fourth Child
It may not seem like a big deal now, but Tony once turned down Tiger Woods. At the time it happened, Tony was still a relative unknown in the golf world . Tiger invited him to play golf, but the couple was nearing the birth of their fourth child. Tony was also late to one of his tournaments as they awaited the birth. Alayna admits it meant a lot to her to see her husband sacrifice something that was important to him for his family.
“That’s a memory that I really appreciate because he stayed with me the whole time,” Alayna explained to the Deseret News. “He’s a really good dad that makes a lot of time for all of us. Not just the kids, but for me, too.”
The Deseret News described the event, and how Tony was able to see the birth then catch a private plane to the tournament.
But decades later when Tony was invited to join Woods on the golf course, the Utah native had to ask for a raincheck — Alayna Finau, Tony’s wife, was expecting their fourth child any day now. And because the tee time with Woods was so close to the date, Tony didn’t think he could risk it.
Three weeks later, though, Tony had canceled several additional engagements and the baby still hadn’t come.
“I could tell he was stressing a little, but he does a good job of not showing it,” Alayna Finau said.
Well past her due date, Alayna Finau opted for induced labor. With Tony scheduled for a Pro-Am the next day, followed by a tournament the day after that, the timing would be tight. But if he booked a late flight, they thought he could be there for the delivery and also make it to his other commitments…
But then finally, their son came — a magnificent, squirming baby boy with brown eyes and tufts of dark hair. The wait had been worth it.
Tony had one last resort, too. A local company owned a private jet, and he was in need of a favor. Boarding just after 11 p.m., he flew across the country and arrived hours before he was set to play.
5. Alayna Attends Half of Tony’s Tournaments
For the most part, the couple’s children stay home when Tony is competing at tournaments. According to the Charlotte Observer, the Finau children come to a tournament about eight times each year. Tony explained that his wife comes to about half the events, and stays with the children the other weekends when she is not on the road.
“My kids come out probably about seven or eight times a year, then my wife probably twice as many,” Tony told the Charlotte Observer. “So maybe about half the events.”
Tony is used to big families as the golfer comes from a family of seven children.