Full Swing Season 1 Episode 6 Recap: Don't Get Bitter, Get Better
Tony Finau and Collin Morikawa star in the Full Swing episode titled 'Don't get bitter, get better' - a quote made famous by Tiger Woods
- (opens in new tab)
- (opens in new tab)
- (opens in new tab)
- Sign up to Golf Monthly Newsletter Newsletter
Episode six of Full Swing focusses on Americans Tony Finau and Collin Morikawa. Stop reading now if you want to avoid spoilers for the Netflix series!
The episode gets its name from a famous Tiger Woods quote, where he said "Don't get bitter, get better."
Woods, the greatest player of his era and one of the best sports stars of all-time, has inspired today's generation of players including both Finau and Morikawa.
THE TIGER EFFECT
"I think a big motivation for me I would say is a guy that we all know by the name of Tiger Woods," Finau is heard saying at a clinic at the start of the episode.
"I started playing golf in the summer of 1997. You guys know what happened in April of 1997? Did anybody remember that?
"The '97 Masters was so inspiring to me. I just remember everybody watching in complete awe of this Tiger Woods guy. And then I also recognised that this guy is the same skin color as I am.
"1997 Masters Tiger won, I watched that with my dad and I was like 'you know what, I want to be like that guy.'"
It's similar for Collin Morikawa.
"The reason why I play golf is because of Tiger," he says. "He opened up a pathway for so many more kids that never would have thought that golf was for them."
The episode touches on how Finau went from watching Tiger win the Masters as a child to then playing with him in the final round of the 2019 tournament and get a front row seat to see him win the Green Jacket again 22 years later.
Finau shared a funny story of how he finally managed to speak to Woods on the 7th hole in the final round, asking him how his kids were doing and simply getting the response of - "they're fine." He got the gist that Woods was too focussed on the job at hand to talk.
Tony is constantly questioned in the episode of not winning enough and being too much of a family man to be one of the world's elite players. He's "not consumed by golf like the greatest players" a quote is heard.
FINAU THE FAMILY MAN
Full Swing gives a very intimate look into the life of Tony Finau and his family, who get the lion's share of this episode. He and wife Alayna have five children and are travelling on the PGA Tour together in 2022 following the loss of Alayna's father.
Is Tony's big family, all travelling together, a distraction away from his golf? That's a question posed and a constant narrative of this episode but it's clear that nothing comes before family for Tony and he's trying to be there for his wife and kids.
"This year was a year I knew I needed to be there for my wife and I will say a lot of my focus was there to make sure she was there mentally, emotionally," Tony says in the episode. "I know what it's like to lose a parent."
Later in the episode Finau opens up on the death of his mother, who died in a car crash when he was just 21-years-old. He breaks down in tears and most viewers will too. It's a heartbreaking story and a quick reminder that golf is just a game.
His mother Ravena died on the spot in a car accident on 27th November 2011, and his first child Jraice was born the next day. Jraice is obsessed with golf and his favorite color is green, like his dad who wears green on Sundays in honor of his mom.
We get to see Tony and Jraice practising their putting drills and it's clear that Finau senior is challenging his son and needling him to get better. Tony then travels alone to the 150th Open and missed Jraice's appearance in the Junior Worlds, which he won when he was a kid. All parents will understand the pain Tony felt at St Andrews in missing his son's big tournament.
Finau's humble beginnings
Full Swing also takes a look at Finau's route into the game of golf, with he and his brother Gipper learning to play the game by hitting balls into a mattress in their garage. The cameras follow him and his father Kelepi as they take a look at the old garage door and there's dents everywhere from golf balls. Finau learnt to hit balls in his garage, went to the course to putt and chip for free and then the driving range once a week, as it was all the family could afford.
"People thought it was normal to hear like a shotgun because the neighbourhood was shooting too," Kelepi jokes about the noise made by golf ball after golf ball being struck in the family's garage, right after explaining how golf was a way of keeping Tony out of trouble. "A stupid game" he calls golf, saying "tennis is much easier." His smile is infectious, just like Tony's.
Tony was one of eight siblings growing up in Salt Lake City, in a rough area surrounded by violence. How he managed to get out and become one of the world's best golfers, and a true family man, is a beautiful story and one of the best stories told in the Full Swing series.
"A golden child. A big time superstar."
The episode then turns to Morikawa and Zhu travelling to The Masters along with their dog. A big contrast to how Tony Finau and his family travel.
It cuts to a clip as Tony Finau drives down Magnolia Lane and shares a story of how he accidentally parked in the past champion's parking lot. "I'll be back next year," he says he joked to the member.
Morikawa, eight years Finau's junior, comes across as much less of a family man and seems to much prefer a quieter space.
"I hate when things are not in place. If I was coming around with 10 people and I didn't know what's going on, I'm getting like the antsy shakes like trying to figure things out thinking about that," Morikawa explains when asked if he could travel like Finau.
"A golden child. A big time superstar," is how Morikawa is described. "One of the most impressive players on the PGA Tour. He possesses something different."
He's also described as extension of the success of Tiger Woods" by Brandel Chamblee and the "heir" to Tiger's throne.
It's not the year Morikawa would have been hoping for in 2021, when he captured his second Major title in just two years at the 149th Open.
He seems very happy with his top five finish at The Masters, where his and playing partner Rory McIlroy's incredible holed bunker shots are shown. He describes his best ever Masters finish as a "confidence boost" before saying: "let's go play some great golf the rest of the season"
Morikawa takes the cameras behind the scenes at an adidas Apparel Meeting where he pushes back on wearing green trousers with a particular orange/white pattern. It will surely make all golfers jealous of the pros and their apparel deals. He also describes the need for himself as an elite golfer to be selfish in taking care of himself and what's best for him, managing his time and his health to perform the best.
The 150th Open
The scene then sets to the Old Course at St Andrews and the 150th Open.
Tony Finau is there alone for the first time all year. He's unhappy about missing Jraice at the Junior Worlds and the chance to caddie for him but says he has "business to attend to myself."
Finau get an update from Jraice's round and hears that "he kind of gave up, which I don't like to hear."
He went on to make a 10 footer to make the cut and took it as a small victory despite a run-of-the-mill top 30 finish. "One of the small victories was that I made a big putt when it counted," he says later in the episode. "To me that's a big deal."
Morikawa is at St Andrews for the first time and he's there as defending champion. We see an amusing clip from his arrival as he hands over the Claret Jug to R&A chief Martin Slumbers. The photographers wanted him to do it again for more photos but once he let go of the trophy, he wasn't touching it again due to his superstitions.
"Maybe we're a little too much for him"
The episode constantly hints that Tony Finau is distracted by his family and perhaps even too nice to be a serial Major winner.
"Maybe we're a little too much for him," his wife Alayna questions.
Amanda Renner says it must be annoying to be asked all the time 'what is separating you from becoming a champion?'
"It's a narrative, it's a thing. Why isn't he just winning? Are you distracted by your kids?"
Finau's response: "You don't really know someone until you've walked in their shoes.
"My career means a lot to me, and at times I think we can mistake that it means everything"
"My career means a lot to me, and at times I think we can mistake that it means everything," Finau says in response to questions about him, explaining that his family, and his wife's grief, is far more important than golf.
"I knew what my wife was going through. I knew what she was dealing with. Could my game have taken a back seat? Maybe, potentially. But that's not nearly as important to me as my wife was as making sure I was there for her as the strength she's been for me for years."
The episode closes with Finau's back-to-back wins at the 3M Open and Rocket Mortgage Classic - his third and fourth PGA Tour victories.
We see Scott Piercy fall away badly at the 3M Open and Finau walk through the open door and win for the first time with his family watching. Despite his win, he still knew he had doubters due to the event not being one of the PGA Tour's strongest.
"I had a sour taste in my mouth after the win honestly, I still thought that I had something to prove," he says. "Silence some of the doubters if they had any doubt the week before on the weak field or whatever the naysayers had to say."
Finau then goes and wins in Detroit at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and has some more beautiful words before he arrives back home to his wider family, friends and supporters who are waiting for him at the airport with signs and posters to celebrate and dance.
"My kids they see the work that dad puts in, and it means everything that my kids can watch me not only fail but to win as well," he says with his trophy. "And that's what it takes to be a champion."
"A winner is just a loser that never gave up. If you don't win, you learn."
Full Swing Season 1 Episode 6: Don't Get Bitter, Get Better
- Episode length: 44 minutes
- Synopsis: Tony Finau and Collin Morikawa take different approaches to the game heading into The Masters Tournament and the Open Championship.
- Main cast: Tony Finau, Alayna Finau, Collin Morikawa, Katherine Zhu
- Tournaments featured: The Masters, 150th Open, 3M Open, Rocket Mortgage Classic
Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-6. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TSR4
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max
Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
2023 Valspar Championship Final-Round Odds and Live Picks
The Valspar Championship is still wide open heading into the final round! Trent Pruitt breaks down the live odds entering Sunday and provides his top two bets.
By Trent Pruitt • Published
Matthew Baldwin Cruises To Maiden DP World Tour Title
In his 200th DP World Tour start, Baldwin fired a final round 68 to secure the SDC Championship and a first DP World Tour trophy
By Matt Cradock • Published