Pro disc golf is finally back!
February 15, 2023 by Justin Westfall in Preview with 0 comments
If you’ve been anxiously awaiting the return of live disc golf these past four months, the wait is finally over! While the 2023 Elite Series does not kick off until next week, the Disc Golf Pro Tour All-Star Weekend begins this Friday in Tucson, Arizona, featuring 24 of the best players in the world. In a modified Ryder Cup format, the All-Star event pairs off 12 MPO players into two teams, and 12 FPO players into two teams. The MPO and FPO teams will compete separately in a skills competition as well as doubles and singles stroke play in order to accumulate points for their respective teams. At the end of the weekend, the MPO and FPO team with the most points take home a small paycheck, but, more importantly, bragging rights over their opponents.
Ricky Wysocki and Paul McBeth are the team captains in MPO. In a live draft, they selected the following teams and assigned each player to one of the three skills competitions:
Catrina Allen and Ohn Scoggins are the team captains in FPO. In a live draft, they selected the following teams and assigned each player to one of the three skills competitions:
The All-Star Weekend is a three-day event, featuring a Friday skills competition, Saturday head-to-head doubles stroke play, and Sunday head-to-head singles stroke play. The teams earn points by winning each element of the head-to-head competition. There are a total of 12 points available across the three-day event.
On Friday, the skills competition features three different categories: controlled distance, shot shaping/accuracy, and putting.
Controlled Distance [1 pt]: Throw as far as you can without going out of bounds. Players will have 6 attempts to throw their furthest shot. Each player’s longest shot becomes their score, and scores for each pairing are added together. The highest combined team score wins the point.
Here are the distance matchups:
- Simon Lizotte/Kyle Klein (Team Ricky) v. Calvin Heimburg/Kevin Jones (Team Paul)
- Henna Blomroos/Jennifer Allen (Team Catrina) v. Ella Hansen/Maria Oliva (Team Ohn)
Shot Shaping/Accuracy [1 pt]: Each player gets 3 throws at 5 different stations. Players get points for each throw based on where the shot lands relative to the target. Winners are determined by most points when all 5 stations are totaled and for teams, both players’ scores are added. All players throw their 3 shots and rotate through each station before moving to the next station.
Points System: Make (5 pts), Bullseye (3 pts), C1 (2 pts), C2 (1pt), outside C2 (0 pts)
Here are the shot shaping/accuracy matchups:
- James Conrad/Matt Orum (Team Ricky) v. Paul McBeth/Joel Freeman (Team Paul)
- Eveliina Salonen/Sarah Hokom (Team Catrina) v. Holyn Handley/Kat Mertsch (Team Ohn)
Putting [1 pt]: Each player gets 3 throws at 5 different stations, and 1 bonus throw from 66 feet. Players get points for each throw based on the points system. Winners are determined by most points when all stations are totaled and for teams, both players’ scores are added. All players throw their 3 shots and rotate through each station before moving to the next station.
Points System: 20 footer elevated basket and 25 footer (1pt), 25 footer obstructed to forced straddle and 33 footer (2pts), 33 footer obstructed to elevated basket and 45 footer (3 pts), 66 footer bonus station (5pts)
Here are the putting matchups:
- Ricky Wysocki/Gannon Buhr (Team Ricky) v. Chris Dickerson/Isaac Robinson (Team Paul)
- Catrina Allen/Alexis Mandujano (Team Catrina) v. Ohn Scoggins/Missy Gannon (Team Ohn)
Doubles [3 pts]: On Saturday, team captains will select three doubles teams each for head-to-head competition based on combined seeding. Pairs are ranked by the lowest seed after both the player’s individual seeds are combined. For example, Seed 1 & Seed 4 = 5 (if this is the lowest total number, that team serves as a #1 seed for doubles). Doubles pairs play the pair on the opposing team with the corresponding seed (Seeds 1 v 1, Seeds 2 v 2, Seeds 3 v 3). Doubles teams play best disc, stroke play, lowest total score wins. The winner of each match will gain an additional point for their team.
Singles [6 pts]: The singles competition on Sunday will be the final opportunity for each of the teams to score points. Players from each team will be matched up via seed (based on 2022 DGPT standings), with the lowest score of each pairing earning their respective team a point.
Here are the MPO singles matchups (Team Ricky v. Team Paul):
- Ricky Wysocki v. Paul McBeth
- Gannon Buhr v. Calvin Heimburg
- Simon Lizotte v. Chris Dickerson
- Matt Orum v. Joel Freeman
- Kyle Klein v. Kevin Jones
- James Conrad v. Isaac Robinson
Here are the FPO singles matchups (Team Catrina v. Team Ohn):
- Catrina Allen v. Ohn Scoggins
- Sarah Hokom v. Missy Gannon
- Eveliina Salonen v. Ella Hansen
- Henna Blomroos v. Kat Mertsch
- Alexis Mandujano v. Maria Oliva
- Jennifer Allen v. Holyn Handley
The Pusch Ridge temp course at the El Conquistador Resort remains unchanged from last year’s event. Located on a traditional golf course, the long and open track features out of bounds on every hole. Having control over the disc is key on this course, with 10 holes containing OB territory inside of circle 1.
MPO: 8,601 foot Par 57
FPO: 7,867 foot Par 60
Here is the caddie book.
Schedule & How to Watch
Live coverage of the 2023 DGPT All-Star Weekend will be available exclusively on Disc Golf Network.
Friday’s skills competition begins at 3 PM Eastern for both the FPO and MPO teams. The Saturday doubles rounds and Sunday singles rounds kick off at 11:30 AM Eastern for the FPO teams and 4:30 PM Eastern for the MPO teams.
Four Things We’ll Be Watching
1. The 2022 All-Star event had a couple of exciting moments, most notably Nikko Locastro’s 536ft ace and Eagle McMahon’s 80ft spin putt on the final hole of the event. Of course, these shots occurred late in the competition on Sunday, and up until then the event lacked pop. With the same format and venue, it’s hard to see this year playing out much differently. If the players don’t bring the energy early and create some special moments on the course, Disc Golf Network may have some trouble keeping viewers tuned into the skills competition and doubles matches.
2. Four players will be throwing new plastic after sponsorship changes this offseason. Maria Oliva moved on from Innova and signed with Thought Space Athletics and Infinite Discs. Holyn Handley is now represented by Discraft after throwing Dynamic Discs last season. Of course, everyone is excited to see Simon Lizotte throwing his new MVP/Axiom/Streamline discs after he parted ways with Discmania and signed a massive contract this offseason. And in a shocking turn of events, Gannon Buhr announced earlier this week that he will be leaving Prodigy for a new sponsorship deal. At the time of writing this article, Buhr has not yet announced who his new sponsor will be.
3. Ella Hansen came just 16 feet shy of Jennifer Allen’s distance World record at the 2022 U.S. Distance Championships. With strong winds in the forecast on Friday, it’s possible that Ella could throw one near or past that mark if the field is positioned favorably. Of course this event is not sanctioned by the World Flying Disc Federation, meaning such a throw would not constitute an official World record. Surpassing the 568 foot mark with Allen competing for the opposite team would certainly make a statement though.
4. If you’re a fan of disc golf, you have to be excited about Ricky Wysocki and Paul McBeth going head-to-head for 18 holes on Sunday. It might just be an exhibition event, but these two players always have a little extra incentive to compete when they play against one another. Not since the 2021 Open at Belton have Wysocki and McBeth given us one of their classic battles, so savor every moment of this round. We can only hope that similar to last year’s event, the winner will be decided by this matchup.
While temperatures will creep into the 70s this weekend, weather conditions will vary greatly with some wind and chillier temperatures during the morning rounds. Heavy winds on Friday will likely add quite a bit of difficulty to the skills competitions.
Friday: Cloudy with highs in the upper 60s, winds 25 to 35 mph
Saturday: Sunny with highs in the mid 70s, winds 5 to 10 mph
Sunday: Cloudy with highs in the upper 60s, winds 10 to 15 mph, chance of rain 30%
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