Courtesy of the Disc Golf World Tour

2016 European Open – Less Competition, Less Prestigious?

The 2016 European Open is stop three on the Disc Golf World Tour. It is also the 10th anniversary of the event as Avery Jenkins keeps reminding us in his Facebook Live videos. “The Beast” in Nokia, Finland is obviously a top notch course and probably one of the best in the world. When you combine all of this along with the promotion that the Disc Golf World Tour has given every event, you would think that the 2016 European Open is the biggest event in Europe this year. According to Avery Jenkins, for the weekend of June 2nd-5th, it’s the biggest event in the world.

Here is why it isn’t. Competition and the Disc Golf World Tour.

Without bias, everyone knows the best players in the world come from the United States, male or female. There is some exceptions when you factor in Simon Lizotte and KJ Nybo among others. But for the most part, the cream of the crop is in the States. At the 2015 European Open, the top players in the world attended. Like almost all of them. 25+ American players made the trek across the pond to compete including Will Schusterick, Steve Rico, Nikko Locastro, Gregg Barsby, Philo Brathwaite and the list goes on. Almost all of those same players are not in attendance in 2016.

Why? Well, there is the President’s Cup situation. The President’s Cup happens every two years, so naturally there would be a drop off in 2016. But from 25+ in 2015 to about 4 in 2016 is a huge drop off. For as popular as “The Beast” and the event is among players, you would think more effort would be made to attend in 2016. You could also factor in travel expenses, scheduling, etc. But I think there is more to it. I think the DGWT may be directly to blame.

1 Tour, 1 Champion.

Courtesy of the Disc Golf World Tour
Courtesy of the Disc Golf World Tour

Once again there are no separate divisions. Unlike 2015, if women want to play, they must play in the same division as the men. Catrina Allen has once again stepped up and played with the men. Before the start of the first round, she was introduced as the “2015 European Open Champion”. Rightly so, she beat out Valarie Jenkins, Paige Pierce, Sarah Hokom and 12 other women to claim that win. It’s a shame she can’t show up in 2016 and defend her title. With the DGWT running this event, they have alienated the rest of the FPO field. No Val, no Paige, no Hokom and so on. After the 2nd round this week, Catrina is in 52nd place. Had their been an FPO division, she would likely be at the top. Especially considering the year she has put together.

So where are all the guys at? It was mentioned that Paul Ulibarri either lost or had his passport stolen right before he and Catrina were to leave for Europe, so that explains his absence. Instead he will be playing the Fort Steilacoom Open in Washington.  Where is everyone else?

Nikko Locastro and Eagle McMahon are joining Uli in Washington. Will Schusterick is at the Tennessee State Championships. It appears many took this weekend of to prepare for the Beaver State Fling (NT) next weekend.

The 2015 European Open was in the middle of July. About 2 weeks before Worlds at the beginning of August. With the DGWT bumping this years event to the beginning of June, a week before a PDGA National Tour event, it basically created a scheduling conflict for almost every player not named McBeth or Wysocki. McBeth is obviously an ambassador for the DGWT and will attend every event. Wysocki missed the second  stop of the DGWT and probably didn’t mind a trip overseas. Will it have an effect at the Beaver State Fling? That remains to be seen.

The Disc Golf World Tour is doing many great things for the sport and I can appreciate that. But when you cause such an awesome event to be marginalized by your tour standards and scheduling, you may have to chalk this weekend up to a missed opportunity.

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