Ian Finnis is Tommy Fleetwood’s caddie, who has posted two straight solid days at the British Open at Royal Portrush. Fleetwood offset two bogeys on Friday with six birdies, including four on the back-nine to finish the round with a 67. He trails J.B. Holmes and Shane Lowry by a single stroke.
Finnis and his boss represent one of the closest player-caddy relationships in all of golf. While Fleetwood has yet to break through with a win on the PGA Tour, he has recorded victories at five European Tour tournaments, as well as another two miscellaneous ones.
Finnis towers over the 5-foot-11 Fleetwood, and both are pretty smiley and fun-loving on the golf course. Here are 5 Fast Facts you need to know about Finnis.
1. Finnis Helped Fleetwood Turn His Career Around After He Ranked Outside the Top-100 in the World Rankings a Few Years Ago
Fleetwood turned pro in 2007 and slowly worked his way into the top-50 in the world by 2014. However, his next two years led to a downward spiral to No. 188 and only three top-10 finishes in 2015.
According to the Caddie Network, it wasn’t until Fleetwood hired Finnis as his caddie that things started to change for the better. In the last few seasons, Fleetwood now ranks No. 20 in the world, finished just one stroke behind at the 2018 U.S. Open and helped Europe win the Ryder Cup last fall.
“It can’t be underestimated having your friend with you, whether you’re in leading the U.S. Open or whatever else,” Fleetwood said of Finnis. “No matter what, that’s something when you’re always going to walk up the 18th green with your best mate.”
At that U.S. Open, Fleetwood almost made dual history. He was a single stroke away from the single-round scoring record, notching a 63. He almost sank an eight-foot putt on the 18th hole to not only grab the record but draw into a tie with eventual champion Brooks Koepka.
Finnis was there with encouragement after the near-miss.
“He’ll have multiple chances to win majors because he’s got a pair of bollocks,” Finnis told Golfweek afterward. “He’s always believed he has what it takes, but he’s actually doing it now.”
2. Finnis is Married to Former England Football Goalkeeper Rachel Brown
According to Echo, Finnis married former England national team goalkeeper Rachel Brown in 2013. They wed on New Year’s Eve at the United Reform Church on Warren Road in Blundellsands, which is a suburb of Liverpool.
She is now known as Rachel Brown-Finnis. As a football player, she kept the last name Brown. Her claims to fame are starting in between the nets for England at the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, as well as the 2012 London Olympics. The national team made the quarterfinals in each tournament.
While Finnis helped Fleetwood to a title at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Brown reached out over Twitter to offer words of support.
“Come onnnn!!! So excited watching watching @TommyFleetwood1 do so well with @Finnis1878 #AbuDhabiChampionship,” she tweeted.
The win was a major step in putting Fleetwood on the right path is his career, but he also made sure to validate Finnis’ presence.
“A lot of hard work has gone into it,” he said to The Sun. “But I think I’m more happy for Finno than I am for me!”
3. Finnis Likes to Poke Fun at Fleetwood
In a 2018 article by ESPN’s Michael Collins, Finnis was interviewed about what’s in Fleetwood’s bag. He came up with some unusual answers and even took time to gently make fun of his boss.
Collins: Anything weird in the bag?
Finnis: Tommy carries a lot of hair care products, obviously. [Deadpan, trying not to laugh.]
Collins: Hair care products?! In the bag?!
Finnis: I’m sick of people asking me what he carries. I say, “When he goes to the toilet, he puts a bit [of hair product] in.” That’s what I tell ’em. But seriously, the most important thing we’re going to carry in the bag at the Ryder Cup is food. Ask Tommy: If I get hungry, we got big problems.
Collins: You get “hangry”?
Finnis [nodding]: I get very hangry. Ask anyone. I’m a very happy person. People think I’m aggressive because I’m so big [he’s 6-foot-7 and does look a little menacing]. But … when I’m hungry, look out. Don’t speak to me, I’m hungry.
Fleetwood take the ribbing in stride.
“You want to win and you want to be remembered for winning, and that’s what it is all about,” Tommy told Golf by Tour Miss. “But in saying that I’ve also got a lot more hair (smiling) and it’s the only way people recognize me.”
4. Finnis is a Good Golfer in His Own Right
Finnis has proven his own ability at golf a few times. According to Golf Monthly, he was the assistant professional at Formby Hall near Southport.
He’s seen a few chances to prove himself at different caddie events. In 2017, he won the annual competition on the 17th hole of the Player’s Championship at TPC Sawgrass. It was determined by who shot closest to the pin, which Finnis hit to within 6 feet, 11 inches.
A year later at the Masters, he topped himself. Per Golf.com:
Finnis…hit a perfect low liner that skipped four times off the water, bounced off the front bank and up past the pin, settling four feet away to raucous applause. Finnis soaked it in, taking a bow and walking up to the green with a wide grin.
He would tap the ball in for an unofficial birdie with Fleetwood holding the flag.
5. Brown Made Fun of Finnis for Allowing a Ball to Fall into the Water at a Tournament in China
During the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai last October, Fleetwood was forced to take a drop on the par-5 14th hole. Finnis waited down a slope for the ball just in case it rolled towards the water. He whiffed at grabbing the wayward ball, leading to some mocking on social media.
First, the European Tour referenced his wife Brown and her goalkeeping skills, suggesting that Finnis get some training. Brown responded with a monkey emoji covering its eyes, as well as a shocked cat.
“Not even @rach_brown1 would of saved that leg spinner!! Happy not to end up in lake,” Finnis responded.
Fleetwood would end up with a top-10 finish at the event, which was won by Xander Schauffele in a playoff over Tony Finau.