Tommy Vining is a junior sport management major on the men’s golf team.
Cheyenne Alexis: Why did you decide to pursue golf in college?
Tommy Vining: I’ve always played golf, and I’m a transfer here from Minnesota, but it’s just close to home. My brother’s the assistant coach and I’ve always known head coach Hovden — he’s a great coach. So I knew I was coming into a program that was growing and was positive. And they’re just a fun group of guys to be around and the places we get to go are pretty cool.
CA: How is it working with your brother as the assistant coach?
TV: It’s good, it’s different. I have to kind of treat him differently, not as a brother. I treat him as all the other guys do. It helps me a lot because he knows my game, and he knows what works for me and what’s best for me, so it’s nice to have him right by my side.
CA: What do you attribute to your successful season and being Summit League Player of the Week?
TV: I think just playing for my teammates kind of pushes me and just working really hard. And my faith has kind of driven me to do my best. I have five guys (who) play each tournament, so you want to give your best every time for them, you never want to give up. I think that’s a big attribute and just knowing that we have a good team kind of gives me confidence to not have that pressure. Really, just my teammates and my faith is a big part to do with that.
CA: What are some personal goals you have for your college golfing career?
TV: I think for our team, I know we have a really good chance at winning Conference and making regionals, so that’s the big one. And you never know what could happen from there — then you go to nationals, so I think that’s the biggest one, and that’s always our end goal. All these tournaments are kind of just building us up to that point. (We’re) just trying to get better each and every day and not trying to get ahead of ourselves, because I kind of felt like we did that last year, so I think this year (we’ll) just go one day at a time trying to get better.
CA: Who’s your biggest inspiration?
TV: I just have a lot of good people around me that influence me and are honest with me. There’s a bunch of different people — I couldn’t name them all — that just push me to get better, who are honest with me when I’m not doing things right or my attitude’s not good. I think just surrounding yourself with people and having that strong foundation of my faith had kind of helped me realize the big picture.
CA: Can you talk about your season thus far and how you think it’s been going?
TV: Our team has done really well and I’ve played my best golf that I ever have in my life, so that’s exciting and that’s helped the team. We have a really, really young team and that’s exciting because the future hold bright for us. The one we really want is conference so we have that opportunity at regionals, and anything can happen, (like) making the run at nationals. I know this team is capable of that and not a lot of people think that South Dakota could do that but I think that would be pretty cool to shock the country and make a run. We’re building toward that end goal, and that’s all we can do.