The Disc Golf Pro Tour’s new ownership has already made its first major change: the 2019 Tour Championship is being relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina, from Emporia, Kansas.
The Championship will now be held at the Hornets Nest Park on October 18-20 and hosted by the Charlotte Disc Golf Club.
The dates and location correspond with those originally announced by the Pro Tour last winter: Oct. 17-20 in the Southeast US. The DGPT surprised players, fans, and sponsors in late July when they announced that the Tour Championship would instead be hosted in Emporia, Kansas, at the beginning of November and sponsored by Dynamic Discs instead of Prodigy, the Tour Championship sponsor in 2017 and 2018.
The date change — two weeks later than originally announced — and geographic shift back to the Midwest from the southeast US, where players are already competing in October at USDGC and the Hall of Fame Classic, were not popular among players.
“One of the first things we did after the sale was reach out to Dynamic Discs and discuss the current environment of the Tour Championship that was announced by the former ownership, and it became quickly apparent that neither the Disc Golf Pro Tour nor Dynamic Discs felt that the Tour Championship was feasible in Emporia,” said new DGPT Tour Director Jeff Spring.
Right away, the new owners considered changes, including a venue switch or even ending the 2019 Tour at the Green Mountain Championships and crowning a champion and awarding bonuses without a final Tour Championship.
“We decided that we would only run an event if we felt it could be held to the standard of events that we will be running going forward,” said Spring.
Ultimately, the Pro Tour felt that Charlotte was a great option as a host, especially with course designer John Houck and local pro Jeremy Koling able to collaborate on the final course layout for the Championship.
“I think it’ll be the biggest pro tournament there since I won my first worlds in 2012,” said Paul McBeth. “So that’s pretty awesome and special.”
The Tour will be paying out $40,000 in prize money, including $30,000 in added cash, at the Championship, a significant reduction from the Steve Dodge promised $75,000 but still the largest Tour Championship payout to date. This year, there will be a $200 player registration fee.
The Tour Championship is being cut down to a three-day event this year from the usual four by holding two rounds on the first day of competition. In MPO, seeds #17 to #32 will compete in a play-in round, with the best eight scores advancing to the quarterfinals. They will play in the second round of the day with seeds #9 to #16 in the quarterfinals, which will send the best eight scores forward, rather than the winners of each individual card and some wildcards like in previous years.
The semifinals, held on Saturday, will feature four cards of four players, including seeds #1 through #8, and the top four scores will advance. In the smaller FPO field, the top four scores from quarterfinals (seeds #5 through #16) will advance to semis, including seeds #1 through #4, and the top four scores will advance to the final.
The final invitations — 32 MPO, 16 FPO — will be determined after the Green Mountain Championships next week.
The Tour Championship will no longer feature a single presenting sponsor, but multiple major manufacturers which could signal a shift in approach to DGPT sponsorship.
“We’re happy to get Prodigy and Dynamic on board, and Dynamic has worked really well with us to find solutions out of a tough situation and Prodigy has been great about returning to an event they’ve hosted the last two years,” said Spring.
More information about the Tour Championship should be available soon from the Disc Golf Pro Tour.
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