Tony Finau taking tips from Nelly Korda at Grant Thornton Invitational to improve his game

Tony Finau taking tips from Nelly Korda at Grant Thornton Invitational to improve his game

Tony Finau has the perfect partner this week for the Grant Thornton Invitational in Nelly Korda. The duo respects each other to a level only professional athletes can.

They spoke to the media on Wednesday ahead of the 54-hole event at Tiburón Golf Club in Naples, Fla.

It’s one of the first times these PGA Tour guys will get to play golf alongside the women. With their grueling schedules, it’s hard to pair them together, but this week, the men will get an up-close look at just how talented these ladies are.

Finau and Korda’s connection was instant, and he made it clear that he was glad to be out there with her.

“Big admirer of Nelly and her game. I’ve also watched her over the years, more on TV than I’ve been able to play with her,” Finau said. “After the nine holes yesterday, everything I thought about her game was even better up close.”

He then took it upon himself to put male players on notice as to why they should pay attention to women’s golf.

“I look up to Nelly. Even though she’s younger than me, she’s an incredible golfer,” Finau said. “She’s been the No. 1 player in the world in the women’s game, and she’s someone that I think quite frankly a lot of us can still even learn from even on the men’s side.”

Finau is a student of the game. He loves to learn about golf and is always looking to improve. With him being a Utah native, any time he can learn from someone who grew up playing Florida courses, he soaks that knowledge up like a sponge.

“I’ll be looking to pick up a few tips. She’s an incredible chipper on this Bermuda, growing up in Florida,” he said. “I didn’t grow up on Bermuda, so I’m always trying to get little tips on how to chip around these greens. She’s as good a chipper as you’ll see on Bermuda… I already picked up a few things watching her.”

Witnessing the No. 21 player on the men’s side being so complementary of Korda is incredible and desperately needed. His words and message are one way women’s golf can continue to expand.

This event will allow the world to see the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour together. It will only help grow the game for both sides and showcase the women who deserve that attention.

“It’s huge for our game to join the men’s and women’s tours together. To have some of the best players on both tours competing is unique for our game,” Finau said. “There’s going to be a lot of great interest in this event moving forward. Being involved in the inaugural Grant Thornton Invitational is cool — having Nelly as a partner is a great bonus.”

Finau and Korda are the favorites to win this week, but the field is stacked. They’re one of 16 teams playing, and any of them could win it. Fun is the goal, but seeing the men and women take on different formats daily will showcase all of their talents. As teams, they can feed off each other, giving a dynamic that will make for some must-watch television.

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.

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