Not all courses on the PGA Tour reward speed equally. Following a fall swing and early winter of mostly benign setups, Torrey Pines presented the first lengthy, physical test we’ve seen on the PGA Tour in months. Long hitters like Jake Knapp and Taylor Pendrith finished in the top 10, capitalizing on the benefits of their speed at one of the most bomber-friendly venues in professional golf. Stephan Jaeger finished T-3; he’s another recent speed trainer who went from below average in driving distance in 2022 to above average in 2023. Torrey Pines served as a stark reminder of the benefits of speed, especially on setups that more closely resemble major championships than, say, PGA West does.

Considering the importance of speed on tour, I’m especially excited to see what’s in store for Tony Finau (T-6) in 2024. In a post-round interview at Torrey, Finau mentioned that he has finally recovered from some lingering injuries that have accrued over the past couple of years. He also talked about speed training and offseason workouts with the Utah Jazz focusing on his lower body.

In Finau’s first full season on the PGA Tour back in 2014-15, he ranked second in ball speed, averaging 182.7 mph. He spent the next three seasons ranked in the top five in ball speed before falling to 12th in 2018-19 with an average of 180.8 mph. Last season, Finau ranked 43rd on the PGA Tour in ball speed, averaging 178.1 mph. So far in 2024, Finau is back up to averaging 182.5 mph, placing him within the top 10 on tour in ball speed.

This is a significant development. Finau, who won four times between July 2022 and April 2023, has not been gaining as many strokes off the tee as he is capable of gaining, especially between last June and the end of the calendar year. Known for his effortless power and unique athleticism, Tony Finau should be a top-20 off-the-tee golfer on the PGA Tour. Given his recent speed training work, I’d expect Finau to improve significantly upon his 2022-23 SG: Off the Tee ranking (44th), which bodes well for his 2024 season. I’m optimistic about continued success given the speed increase, especially on long golf courses. A healthy, speedy Tony Finau is well-positioned to make some noise this year.

This piece originally appeared in the Fried Egg Golf newsletter. Subscribe for free and receive golf news and insight every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.