Tadiotto returns, uses extra year of eligibility

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Photo Courtesy of Fighting Illini Athletics

Senior Giovanni Tadiotto drives a ball out of the sand trap. Tadiotto’s consistent performance earned him Big Ten Player of the Week on Feb. 26.

By Jonah Perez, Staff Writer

Another batch of good news for the Illinois men’s golf team came after senior Giovanni Tadiotto announced via Twitter on April 9 that he would be returning for a fifth year.

The NCAA gave spring athletes the option of using an extra year of eligibility because of the coronavirus-related cancellations.

“First of all, there were a lot of things to think of because of the situation we’re in, and I never envisioned having the opportunity to come back for one more year,” Tadiotto said. “I came to this decision with a lot of talks between my family and coach (Mike) Small about what the extra year could bring to me and what turning pro this year could bring to me … And so we concluded that an extra year at Illinois could only benefit me in my future as a professional golfer.”

He also added he still had things to improve on, and he didn’t want to end his Illinois career with a shortened season; he wants to do more for the Illini.

Family is important to consult, especially for an international player. Tadiotto is from Belgium and was very happy and thankful for their support.

“My parents helped me think about what I need right now and what is going to make me a better player and prepare the best for my dream, which is being a successful professional golfer,” Tadiotto said. “They’re just very supportive and thoughtful because I’ve been away for four years and maybe they were thinking, ‘Oh, we’re going to get him a little bit more back home now.’ They didn’t have that mindset, wanting me to make one specific decision; they just wanted the best for me.”

Coming off a hot start to the spring season, this will significantly add to an already stacked returning class for next year.

At the moment, everybody is coming back, except senior Bryan Baumgarten, who is the only one still undecided.

“We built some momentum this spring and I think we all learned from the … struggle we had during the fall of 2019,” Tadiotto said. “I’m just excited to compete again with the guys and also to push each other. We’re all very competitive and that’s something that weighed in my decision as well. Those guys help me become better.”

His workload should be less with the master’s program; he plans to start in the fall. Right now, he’s still undecided on which one to start, but he said he’s working on finding it with his sports academic counselor, Shari Clapp.

Not worrying about all the undergraduate work should help him focus more and improve his game.

“I was starting to play very well this spring semester, but there was still a lot that I learned from those rounds and that I realized could get better,” Tadiotto said. “Having Coach Small with me next year is going to be a massive help because when you’re inside your bubble and you play, you don’t always see things that Coach Small can see. For example, my body motion, Coach Small would be able to see if something goes wrong … He has a very strong pair of eyes where there’s so much that he sees that he knows how to help me.”

He added that while he was happy to have top-five finishes in each of the spring matches, he wants to learn how to win tournaments and coming back for another year will help him achieve that.

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