GATHL

Players Personal Life Stories
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Tony Finau

The first Tongan-Samoan to become a PGA Tour player. Growing up Tony had very little in material things. Tony learned golf in a make-shift garage driving range where his Dad hung a mattress on the back wall and Tony beat balls he had found into it. Tony worked, as one of his many “make money” jobs, at a nearby course and was given hand-me-down clubs by members. Tony’s Mom & Dad taught and instilled deep personal values & beliefs. These included: believe in yourself, do the right things, work hard, build a foundation for success, and never give up – keep trying, keep trying & keep trying, and you’ll get there. Values, hard work and believing in yourself serves at the core of Tony’s life skills.

Tony competed in the PGA Tour Q-School 7 times before making it in 2014. Tony said when you have $5 in your pocket and you are playing “money games” for high stakes – and if you lose, you are in BIG trouble – that’s pressure!!!! You need some luck, but hard work is core to important life skills like gaining mental strength (confidence) & believing in yourself – especially under pressure.

In 2009 Tony & his brother (Gipper) were selected to compete in the Golf Channel’s “The Big Break” in which he finished second and achieved significant TV recognition. Once realizing he was going to be on the PGA Tour routinely, Tony said he knew he had to beat most of them all out there to stay on tour. That’s motivation.

Tony was asked the question “Tony, what mulligans would you like to have back (take another attempt without a penalty) in your life so far?”  Tony said “None. I learned from all my mistakes – big or small. Learning from everything is a priceless gift toward gaining inner strength.”

See Feherty (Golf Channel) featuring Tony Finau for details and insights on this amazingly talented golfer with his deep values and inside thankfulness.

Reported recently Tony purchased a new home and gave it to his parents. The act was a thank you to them for their dedicated support and helping Tony achieve – especially the values and teaching him to believe in himself.

Jon Rahm

From Spain and a prodigy of Seve Ballesteros, Jon did not speak English. Jon said his most significant initial challenge was coming to the US on a golf scholarship – not speaking English and having to learn a difficult language quickly. Very uncomfortable. Jon said Seve told him to work harder than anyone else in everything Jon did, and he would be a golf star.  Seve drilled over & over into Jon’s head “believe in YOU”!!!!

When asked the question: What are your secrets to your amazing game?  Jon, standing in front of his golf bag, reached into the bag and grabbed four clubs – putter, PW, SW & 60-degree wedge. Jon pulled them out and said, “these are my big buddies – my secrets – taught to me by Seve.” Jon pulled his driver out of his bag and said, “this guy is next important – hit it long.” Seve’s wisdom embedded into a talented boy from Spain.

When asked, “what are the two or three most important messages you tell young folks building life skills from golf?” Jon said: Believe in YOU, give honored respect to others around you, and work harder than everyone else toward your goals.

Jordan Spieth

On June 24, 2013, Jordan made his first professional golfer event debut at the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club in Potomac, MD. In the Pro-Am Wednesday event, Jordan on the 18th hole had an 8 to 10-minute delay before being able to tee off. The 18th hole is a Military honor guard tribute hole with representatives from all service branches.  Jordan walked over to each of the Military honor guards, thanked each personally for serving our Country, talked with each asking them their personal history questions, and asking if they are being treated well, and if they needed anything to reach out to him or his business manager.

When Jordan was introduced by the honor guard announcer on the 18th hole with a big standing ovation, Jordan waved, and immediately said to the fans surrounding the tee box – thank you for your amazing applause. But – let me bring to your attention these honored Military members standing here.  THEY are the ones who deserve ALL of our respect and honor.  They serve our Country to allow us to live the way we do today, and I am truly thankful for our Military and honor them.  Please – our honored military guards (pointing) – result – Extraordinary loudness & duration of applause.

In Jordan’s first event (at 19 years old) as a Professional golfer – a vivid example of explicit deep character, high personal values, respect of others & an immense maturity.

See David Feherty and Jordan Spieth interview from (Feherty Golf Channel) for details on Jordan’s career since its inception this first day.