The Full Swing documentary from Netflix takes on two characters at different points in their personal lives for episode six. Collin Morikawa and Tony Finau are the focus of this episode, which feels, at times, like it could have just focused on one of the two. We continue our series of reviews and podcast discussions on the season here.
For more in-depth discussion, Andy Johnson, Joseph LaMagna, and Brendan Porath are recapping and reviewing each episode in podcast form, sharing insights on what they learned about the tours and their stars, what they found amusing, what worked, and what flopped. You can subscribe to the “Full Swing Thoughts” podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all other major podcast platforms.
Episode 6 Synopsis:
The sixth episode of Full Swing profiles Tony Finau and Collin Morikawa. Morikawa is cast as an ultra-focused superstar who travels only with his wife and his dog. His maniacal focus is contrasted with Finau, who travels with his large family and is therefore dealing with distractions. You can decide for yourself whether these characterizations are authentic or manufactured, but that is the selected theme for episode six.
Some of the highlights of this episode revolve around Tony Finau’s personal life. We see his childhood home, which still bears the golf-ball shaped welts from range sessions in the Finau family garage from decades ago. We learn that Tony’s mother passed away in a tragic car accident, and his first child was born the next day. Perhaps this sequence of life-changing events is responsible for some of Finau’s perspective on the golf course.
We also learn that Tony’s wife Alayna lost her father at the end of 2021. Throughout the episode, Tony reiterates that being supportive of his wife was a priority in 2022, and if his on-course performance suffered as a result, that’s a trade-off he’s willing to make. I found the Distracted Tony narrative to be a bit overdone, but the closeness of the Finau family unit makes it easy to enjoy Finau’s on-course success. His on-course success also begs the question, “Was anybody really calling Tony Finau distracted last year?”
The episode is pretty light on details about Morikawa. We do not learn much about Collin or his backstory. Morikawa is portrayed as a hyper-focused athlete with a tendency towards particularity. In one scene, Adidas presents Collin with clothing options for an upcoming tournament. Collin responds, ‘I don’t think it’s my style. I think it’s your style.” The scene successfully conveys Morikawa’s attention to detail and willingness to voice his opinion, but overall the episode lacks depth with respect to Morikawa’s personality.
Tony Finau: “A winner is just a loser who never gave up”
Collin Morikawa hands back the Claret Jug following his year-long reign as Open champion. Media asks Collin if he can do the hand-off again, for photography reasons. He does not oblige.
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