By: Will Gray
FORT WORTH, Texas – Tony Finau made an unexpected detour at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational after hitting a fan on the head with an errant drive.
Finau’s drive on the 11th hole during his third round went left, hitting a young woman on the fly. While the ball bounced back into the fairway, she was left bloodied with a cut that required stitches. It was a shot that affected Finau throughout the rest of his round, as he faded from contention with a 3-over 73.
“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 after a final-round 71 at Colonial Country Club. “It was hard for me to kind of regroup mentally. I felt like, ‘I hope I didn’t kill somebody.’”
For Finau, the best remedy was to check on the woman after his round. He got her contact information from one of the tournament’s rules officials, then swung by a nearby grocery store and picked up some flowers and chocolate before showing up at her parents’ home Saturday evening to surprise her.
“I felt like I had to,” Finau said. “I just wanted to make sure she was OK, just for my peace of mind.”
It was an especially rattling incident because Finau was once on the receiving end of a similar shot. When he was 16, he was hit near his temple and had to remain in the hospital for a couple nights to monitor bleeding in his brain. The injury caused him to suffer from migraines for weeks.
Finau showed up just as the family was getting ready to take the woman to get stitches, and the resulting visit gave Finau the peace of mind he was seeking.
“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,” he said. “We’re not out here to hit people, but I wanted to make sure she knew at least that I cared.”
The surprise visit gained social media traction when the woman posted a picture with Finau to her Instagram account. For Finau, it was time well spent – even though the Tour’s leader in driving distance at 311 yards per shot realizes the woman probably had some bad luck to get between his shot and the ground.
“There are a lot of other balls that she’d want to get hit with before mine. She’d probably be in better condition,” he said. “But she’s doing great, which is a good thing.”