Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Let's Analyze The Open Division In 2020

Disc golf is certainly a unique sport in nearly every way you can imagine, so it’s not surprising that competitions are designed to give everyone an equal opportunity to do their best. While the divisions that the PDGA implements have changed over the years, by and large, they’ve always had relatively the same goal in mind: allow professionals to compete against each other and let those who are newer to the game play with others that are similar in skillset.

This concept has recently had a big bold spotlight shined down upon it as the PDGA is making a change to some of the divisional criteria come 2020. Let’s explore exactly what the change is, how it might affect you, and the real-world implications of this shift.

Behind The Scenes

The PDGA works tirelessly to ensure that they are doing all that they can to grow the sport of disc golf and provide the best possible experience for their members, and there’s no doubt that much of the conversation at this fall’s Summit has centered around that common thread. One topic of discussion touched upon the ratings required to register in the Open division for both National Tour and DG Pro Tour events, noting that come 2020, a minimum rating of 900 will be necessary.

Suddenly, the internet was buzzing as someone referenced Lloyd Weema and casually questioned if this change had anything to do with him - for reference, Weema attended 2018 Pro Worlds and competed in the Open division as a 735-rated individual, ending up in last place when all was said and done. Starting next year, players like Lloyd will no longer be able to compete in NT or DGPT events as an Open player just for the fun of it.

How Major Is This Change?

Any hot button disc golf topic will naturally have a plethora of voices on many sides of the issue, and of course, this newly dubbed “Lloyd Weema Rule” is no exception. While a handful of players are concerned that this change is naturally closing the window of inclusivity, the fact of the matter is that very few people will be negatively affected. Take a look through 2019’s event history and count how many Open players were sub-900...we’ll wait. At most, this new rule will exclude a few handfuls of players from competing in Open across all NT and DGPT events.

Disc golfers are passionate people and of course, whenever it appears like someone is going to get left out, we make our feelings known. A host of questions have come up surrounding the new rule, ranging from whether this positively promotes a higher level of professionalism within the sport all the way to inquiries about if you’ve previously accepted cash and are now prohibited from playing in Open because your rating ended up dropping.

We’d like to spark our own healthy conversation around the rule change and the nature of PDGA divisions as we know it - where do you stand on this modification? Leave a comment below and share your two cents!
  1. I think it is a good change. A sub 900 player like myself is likely to negatively affect pace of play in a tournament. There are plenty of competition opportunities for sub 900 players. In fact 900 isn't a very high bar. I am curious how many times sub 950 players cashed in the national events. I would be surprised if the number is above zero. I would like to see some improvement in communication of pro clinics. I think these are some of the best opportunities for amateurs to interact with pros, but it seems like, probably because it is like the clinics are kind of slapped together at the last minute. I would like to be able to plan clinic attendance several months in advance the same way the pros plan the tournaments in which they are going to compete for a given year.

  2. If i had the money and the attitude i would of done the same thing Weema did prob. It must of been exciting. However, i do get the 900 limit and think it's a good idea. I have thought about for a while doing a bottom card podcast though to get the thoughts and stories or the people playing on the bottom card but still going through till the end.

  3. Well, that would be an insult. But in a way it does make sense. Some person do have a heart to play the game they love. Playing with the best and learn from the best. But they should screen out where they played before. Some person play in a tough tier ABC tournamant depending on where they are located. It does affect the ratings.

  4. I always wondered if people get upset or not when Lloyd Weema the Burpie Beast get upset at speed of play when on his card. He is a super nice guy and tries real hard though and I have played in Amatuer Divisions at events he has played in Ohio and I have never heard anyone complain but totally understand in an NT or DGPT event where speed of play would slow down tremendously.

  5. Will this impact prize dollars if it results in less participants?

  6. I played 2 tournaments last year for an average of a 935 rating. I don't belong in a MPO Open event on a large scale. I'm simply not good enough. As our sport grows, so does the desire to play events. I think a minimum is a smart thing to look at for events that have hundreds of people on the waiting list. If I can maintain that rating through 10 events I would consider Open, but MA1 would probably be a better fit for me personally.

  7. Good rule - enforce it, as well as the opposite of baggers playing down to win.
    This is not always about ratings as there are very good players out there without one.
    No rating - good golfer, must play advanced or appropriate age division.

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