Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Adam Schupak

Ready for the Vu-Tang Clan and Team FiNelly? The Grant Thornton Invitational finally brings some of the best of the PGA Tour and LPGA together

Lilia Vu didn’t meet Joel Dahmen until Tuesday night, but they’ve been part of a text string with their caddies called the Vu-Tang Clang for about a month.

Vu, the No. 1-ranked female golfer in the world, knows the name is a play off the group the Wu-Tang Clan but when Dahmen declared they would listen to some of the musical group’s greatest hits on the way to the first tee, she wondered, “Is that hip hop?”

“Yeah, it’s the best era in history,” Dahmen said.

Vu and Dahmen, the No. 166-ranked male player in the world, may not have a lot of history playing golf together yet, but that is about to change this week at the Grant Thornton Invitational.

They are partners in the first mixed-team co-sanctioned event between the PGA Tour and LPGA since John Daly and Laura Davies won the final JC Penny Classic in 1999. There’s been talk about reviving a co-ed team event seemingly since the previous one went away and it has attracted some top talent in its debut at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida.

“It means a lot. We’ve been kind of wanting this type of tournament for a long time,” Vu said. “It’s a really big deal for us to actually be on a stage to showcase both women’s and men’s golf together at the highest level, so it’s an honor to be here and showcase that.”

As a matter of fact, Vu said she’s so pumped to play in the co-ed event that she’s actually nervous.

“What is there to be nervous about?” Dahmen said. “It’s the offseason, you’re the best player in the world, we’re just goofing off and we’re going to beat most players here.”

Yeah, you’re right. I’m going to need that a lot,” Vu said.

But in the next breath, Dahmen got Vu’s nerves jangling when he reminded her, “my paycheck depends on you this week.”

No pressure, right?

Oh, no,” Vu said. “I just started sweating.”

Our team’s going to have more fun than everyone else, that’s the number one thing,” Dahmen said. “I mean, she’s won four times this year. I haven’t won four times since I was like 12. To watch her kind of handle everything that comes out of this week is going to be awesome.”

Dahmen noted that Vu’s putting prowess was going to be fun to watch.

“Yeah, I’ve got you,” Vu said.

“Love that,” Dahmen said.

Vu-Tang Clan isn’t the only team with a funky name. Nelly Korda and Tony Finau are Team FiNelly.

“And Certified Fresh, and that comes from Finau Fresh, and she’s Certified Finau Fresh,” Finau, a six-time Tour winner said.

“Yeah, I got certified yesterday,” said Korda, an eight-time LPGA winner. “I was pretty happy.”

Korda and Finau are both ambassadors for the tournament title sponsor and thus made a natural fit. But they had yet to play golf until pairing up for a nine-hole practice round Tuesday.

“Everything that I thought about her game, it was even better up close,” Finau said.

Korda’s response: “You’re already making me blush.”

The mutual admiration session continued.

“She’s good at everything. Sometimes my game can be a little rough around the edges, so she’ll clean up for that,” Finau said. “Nelly is not a hard partner to play with, and then she’s got an incredible attitude, and she’s obviously extremely competitive, as well.”

I’m just getting compliments left and right,” Korda said. “I love this.”

And what part of Finau’s game is she most impressed with? “I can’t wait to see all the bombs out there,” she said. “Hit it close for me.”

Team FiNelly and the Vu-Tang Clan may just be getting to know each other before the 54-hole tournament begins in earnest on Friday, but they already sound as if they are BFF’s.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.