Daily Sports Smile: Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith caddies for golfer Tony Finau at Hero World Challenge

Apr 10, 2021; Augusta, Georgia, USA; Tony Finau reacts to his putt on the second green during the third round of The Masters golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Jaylon Thompson
USA TODAY Sports+

Top golfer Tony Finau needed a favor and called in one of his close friends. Finau was looking for a caddie ahead of the Hero World Challenge after regular caddie Mark Urbanek couldn't make the tournament due to his wife expecting a child. 

Finau, a Salt Lake City native, made the special call to Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith. The duo will spend this weekend navigating the Albany Golf Course in the Bahamas. The event is hosted by 15-time major winner Tiger Woods and is exclusive to 20 of the world’s best golfers.

Finau told the Golf Channel that he asked Smith about the position six weeks ago.

“Ryan has been a good friend of mine,” Finau said. “I gave him a shout about six weeks ago and asked him if he would mind. He was more than happy to be here. He’s been a great friend and a great mentor.”

RORY ROLLS: Rory McIlroy shoots a 6-under 66 to begin Hero World Challenge

Smith bought the Jazz last year. He is a Utah native and the CEO of tech company Qualtrics. He worth an estimated $15 billion and is the team’s principal owner. Former NBA star Dwayne Wade also has an ownership stake in the organization.

Ryan Smith is the CEO of Qualtrics and the new owner of the Utah Jazz.

Finau looks to win the Hero World Challenge in its return to action. Last season, the tournament took a year off due to COVID-19 pandemic. The featured course is a Par 72 and is a links-style layout.

Some of the top golfers in the field include Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Collin Morikawa and Rory McIlroy among others.

FEELING GOOD: Daniel Berger shows no rust in first round performance

Finau sits at 4-under 68 in the first round. He made four birdies and an eagle on the afternoon. His highlight moment came when he sunk a birdie on the 16th hole from the bunker to save an approach shot.

Finau currently sits tied for seventh heading into Friday’s action. His tee time is set for 12:01 p.m. as he looks to climb the leaderboard.