College is about experiencing many new things, and for senior golfer Tino Weiss, everything about college has been a new experience.
Weiss is from Bach, Switzerland, a town that is more than 4,000 miles away from Knoxville, but he says that living in the U.S. has been unbelievable.
“Living in a different country far away from home with a different language has been an unbelievable thrill,” Weiss said.
Weiss came to Tennessee after an assistant coach saw him play in a tournament in Spain for the Swiss National Team. After the tournament, he was asked if he was interested in coming to the United States. Weiss knew that this was his best chance to play golf and work on his academics.
“It was a no-brainer for me after I came for my first visit. It was the only way for me to pursue a career in golf while working on my academics at the same time,” Weiss said. “If I would have gone to University in Switzerland, I probably wouldn’t have had the success I had in the sport the last few years.”
Before coming to the states, Weiss achieved a lot of success in Europe. He was the 2005 French Amateur Champion, and three years before that, he won the 2002 Swiss Match Play Championship title. All the hard work has recently culminated in him earning a spot on the Swiss World Amateur Team.
Coach Jim Kelson said that being named to that team is a tremendous honor.
“That is the biggest honor someone can achieve in amateur golf,” Kelson said. “There are only three people from each country that get to participate in that tournament. That is kind of like the Olympics, that is truly an honor.”
Weiss feels like he is ready to compete for his country later this month.
“I am really excited about going to South Africa on Oct. 20th. I feel like I am ready mentally and physically for an event like this one,” Weiss said. “This is a sweet finish for my last year in college and my amateur career.”
But Weiss’ success in Europe didn’t immediately translate to success for the Vols. He struggled with his consistency, which he said led to him not playing much. Weiss said he has overcome that problem and is ready to improve his game. Weiss has learned how to overcome the differences between golf courses in America and Europe.
“The greens are much faster and trickier over here, and I had to learn to pay more attention on where to place my ball on the greens. Some could say that I had to learn to read the golf courses better,” Weiss said.
Weiss has worked hard to improve his game and to adapt to the golf courses in America. His hard work has not gone unnoticed by Kelson.
“He has worked as hard as any player that I can recall coaching,” Kelson said. “He actually developed his own statistical computer program to help with his putting. He has gone above and beyond in all areas.”
The hard work has paid off. Through the first two tournaments, Weiss has finished in the top 25 in both events and has improved his scoring average by more than two strokes.
Weiss has grown accustomed to being in the U.S. and has even grown to like football. He knows that his experience as a Vol is something that will prepare him for life after graduation.
“I think this is an experience that is going to help me throughout my whole life,” Weiss said. “Just being over here as a whole has been the best experience of my life. I learned how to live life.”
Weiss and the 10th ranked men’s golf team traveled to Johnson City, Tenn., over the weekend to compete in the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate at the Ridges. Weiss looked to improve on his season against a tournament boasting 11 of the top 50 in the nation. Going into the final round on Sunday, Weiss was tied for 17th, and the Vols were two shots behind tournament leader East Tennessee State.