Tony Finau knows the clock is ticking — he needs to win a major.

Finau has won six times on the PGA Tour and elevated himself to an elite spot in professional golf, but the one thing that has eluded him is to win a major. He’ll get that chance this week in Louisville at Valhalla, site of the PGA Championship.

The window in which Finau’s at the top of his game is right now. Oh, he could putt better and he could close stronger on the weekends, but he’s still earning a bundle of money in the process of working through these things. But his professional goal right now is to win one of these major events and this week is as good as any.

He will be joined by fellow Utah native Zac Blair, who will be one of just a few professional players to have played in a major at Valhalla, where his father Jimmy also appeared in the PGA Championship in 2000. Zac was just 9 years old and got to meet Tiger Woods.

Finau told ABC4 sportscaster Wes Ruff before the Masters in April that he’d experienced so much in golf and how it is time to do the big thing and win the top events in the game.

“I’m at a point in my career where I’ve done a lot of cool things, won some cool tournaments, played in a lot of the international team events, which has just been incredible,” Finau said. “The one thing that I feel like my career is lacking is winning a major championship, and multiple (majors). I’ve got my eye to win more than just one, and I still have plenty of time. I feel like I’m still young. For me, the time is now, and it would mean everything to my career …”

Finau tees off at 6:48 a.m. MDT with Tyrrell Hatton and Sahith Theegala on No. 10, while Blair goes off at 6:54 a.m. with Ben Polland and Ryan van Velzen.

In 2023, Finau registered his last two victories at the Mexico Open and Houston Open. He’s had six career wins since he joined the Tour in 2015. At 34, he has had two top-10 finishes, stands No. 46 in FedEx Points, has 11 runner-up finishes, three third-place finishes and 32 times has finished in top five. He has 61 top-10 finishes with career earnings of more than $39 million.

Finau has reached a certain level of fame as a golfer, including a prominent appearance in the popular Netflix series entitled “Full Swing,” where he, his wife Alayna and five children were featured.

Here's the story of Tony Finau's unlikely journey to golf's grandest stage

At his annual fundraiser a week ago in Park City, Finau was asked if he’d be doing any more episodes of “Full Swing.” He said while he and Alayna enjoyed doing it, there are other great players and stories that should be featured. He said his wife attracted a lot of attention and social media followers from being on Netflix, but there were a lot of media critics who said his game would suffer if he kept taking his family on Tour while he played in events. He then rattled off a series of wins to prove them wrong.

Many of the majors, like the U.S. Open, are set up to test the best players in the game and usually feature both length, in terms of yardages, and height of the rough. These features tend to favor Finau because of his ability to hit long tee shots and recover from missed fairways because of his length with irons on approach, usually relying on more lofted clubs for stopping power on slick greens.

“This is a great golf course for Tony,” said Bobby Casper, son of hall of fame golfer Billy Casper and co-host of “Real Golf.” “It’s a big golf course that requires length and shotmaking into the greens, both of which Tony does well. He’ll need to hit lots of fairways and be spot on with his short game and putting. But the PGA Championship is known for first-time major championship winners and I think this week will be a good one for Tony.”

It makes a huge difference if you are hitting a lofted club from the rough at a short distance over trying to recover a missed fairway from 30 to 50 yards further away from the pin than Finau and other long-hitters.

This question was posed to one of Finau’s best friends, former No. 1 player in the world Jon Rahm, earlier in the week in Louisville. Rahm was asked about length on Valhalla’s softer and wetter conditions this week.

Rahm replied: “Well, listen, hitting it further is always an advantage, right? There’s a reason why almost generationally the longest or one of the longest players has been the best. Jack was the longest, Tiger was the longest, Greg Norman was the longest, Rory, Dustin, they have been the longest, right, so it’s no surprise there. Even Seve at his time was the longest.

“I think the one that I can remember maybe that wasn’t the — two that I can remember are Ben Hogan and Nick Faldo that I can remember quickly. I don’t mean to insult anybody, right. Maybe David Duval wasn’t the longest, but I don’t believe he was short either, so it’s always going to be an advantage.

“It’s as simple as that. It requires maybe a little bit less precision in certain moments and just the ability to have a shorter club in anywhere is just — that’s it. I mean it’s always going to make it a little easier. I don’t think there’s any sport in which more power is detrimental. So it’s just obviously controlling it and using it properly.”

In the first major of 2024, the Masters at Augusta, Finau’s final round of 8 over par ballooned him to a tie for 55th at 13-over. That was not a normal finish for Finau in a major event. His average finish at Augusta is 21st.

Professional golfer Tony Finau smiles as he and other golfers demonstrate golf strokes during the Tony Finau Foundation Golf Classic in Farmington on Monday, Aug. 1, 2022. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News