A two-time All-American during his time at Vanderbilt University, Matthias Schwab is enjoying just his second year in the professional ranks. The proud Austrian tells us about his home debut, his hopes for the future, and taking to the skies with his brother…
I made my professional debut on home soil at the 2017 Lyoness Open. I had a lot of spectators following me, which was amazing. I had just finished college at Vanderbilt the previous week after making it to the semi-final of the NCAA Championship and I admit I arrived without enough time to properly prepare.
While I didn’t play as well as I would have liked, I enjoyed the pressure to perform and learned a great deal that first week in front of my home crowd.
I believe it’s just as hard to win on the Challenge Tour as it is on the European Tour. I played on the Challenge Tour throughout 2017, managed to make three top tens and played in the Grand Final before I earned my European Tour card for this season through Qualifying School.
The gap between the tours isn’t as big as some people may think. Yes, the events are a bit bigger here, but I think the level of play is very good on the Challenge Tour.
I definitely count myself as a proud Austrian. Growing up I remember watching Hermann Maier, a famous skier in Austria. I would one day hope to compete at the Olympics and represent my country.
Back to this year, the Shot Clock Masters is a tournament that I’m very much looking forward to being a part of. I hate slow play so I’m excited, especially more so given it will be in Austria and bring with it a lot of interest around the world.
I’ve been lucky to experience some amazing things - most recently participating in a base jump in the Austrian mountains. The guys from the Red Bull skydive team were having a practice week very close to where I live and they were kind enough to invite me along. I instantly said yes. I’ve always had things like that on my bucket list so it was awesome.
My love of extreme sports and adventures perhaps runs in the family. My brother Johannes is trying to become a commercial pilot. When we are both home we often go flying together which is really cool. We’ve flown together a number of times, often over the Austrian mountains which is specular.
Flying can be an intense experience with him as he likes to try to make me throw-up with sharp turns and bumpy moments - but it’s fun. I have no ambitions to fly myself as I appreciate just how hard a process it is learning to fly. For now, I’ll stay as my brother’s co-pilot and enjoy our time together in the sky.