Saturday, June 1, 2019

Speculation For The 2019 Season - What Could The Year Have In Store?

Sports fans always enjoy taking a swing at making predictions for an upcoming season, and no matter if it’s football, basketball, or disc golf, there’s a little bit of a thrill that we all get from trying to see if our favorite man or woman will come out on top. In years past, it seemed as if only a select few individuals would dominate the MPO and FPO fields, but as time has gone on, many of the year’s major events are anyone’s game.

We’re finally headed into the midst of the 2019 season and so far, it’s been quite the rollercoaster. Given that not everyone attends each big event, playing the comparison game can get a little bit tricky, but it’s a discussion that’s worth having as it pertains to the future of the sport.

Hard Work And Talent

There are so many variables that go into finding success on the disc golf course, as some layouts are suited to one’s particular skill set while other tournaments may end up favoring a particular player due to extreme weather and that person’s ability to persevere. Ultimately though, it cannot be argued that both hard work and talent don’t also factor into who takes home first place at each Major, NT, or Pro Tour stop.

Multiple time World Champions like Paul McBeth, Ricky Wysocki, Paige Pierce, or Valarie Jenkins have all shown they have what it takes to win, but as others begin to create a scenario of contention year after year, does that necessarily mean these winners aren’t working as hard? Most would say no, and instead, it’s the newer players who are stepping up their game rather than the seasoned pros lessening their efforts.

When Venues Matter

Some tournaments have brought an air of predictability each season, and while courses may undergo minimal to moderate changes each year, for the most part, everyone shows up to GBO or Masters Cup and knows what to expect. Could this level of comfort be an element that others are capitalizing on?

A quick look at UDisc Live stats shows some interesting patterns: for example, DD team member Dustin Keegan placed 6th in Las Vegas and 24th at the GBO this year, whereas last year his finishes were 9th and 51st respectively. While this trend isn’t true across all events, it does raise some questions. Paige Bjerkaas has seen even more success this year, with a tie for 6th at this year’s GBO and a tie for 4th in San Francisco. In 2018 she found herself in 11th after Emporia’s event and finished 9th at the SF Open.

Are some of the sport’s dominating players starting to let off the gas pedal a bit, allowing others to rise to the top? Or is there more at play, like injuries, not enough practice days, or simply luck that’s leading to first-time wins for some? We know this will likely spark a hot debate, but leave your thoughts in the comments below. What do you think the rest of the year will have in store? Will we continue to see a variety of players taking home first, or now that people are warmed up will the usual faces top the leaderboards once again?
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