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Memorial Preview

2011 National Tour Elite Series Intrigue Flourishing Without Even a Single Disc Yet in the Air

Great excitement is now growing, as the 2011 PDGA National Tour Elite Series presented by Vibram gets set to launch Wednesday at The Memorial Championship presented by Discraft.  Now in its ninth season of play, the National Tour has grown to become disc golf’s hallmark of the best players, the best events, the best courses, and the best promoters in the sport. 

Though the 2011 Elite Series has yet to have a disc fly in competition, the intrigue is already palpable.  Nikko Locastro’s second consecutive Player of the Year award will surely not sit well with POY runner-up David Feldberg, who is the number one ranked player in the world and won five NT events in 2010.  And just this last weekend, the 2005 and 2007 World Champion, Nate Doss, bested Locastro by six throws at this weekend’s Gentlemen’s Club Classic in Las Vegas.  Locastro did not capture two PDGA Player of the Year awards by finishing second, so he will surely be gunning for Doss, Feldberg, and the rest of the field this week in Arizona. 

At the same time as these three stalwarts of disc golf play “whatever you can do, I can better” with each other, a host of other talented players are working to supplant Locastro, Feldberg, and Doss at the top of the leader board.  The depth of talent has never been richer.  Cale Leiviska, Paul Ulibarri, and Devon Owens will attempt to transfer their success at the Gentlemen’s Club Classic into Arizona gold at The Memorial Championship this week.  Perennial favorites Ken Climo, Barry Schultz, and Avery Jenkins too will be in the field at The Memorial and can never be counted out of this tournament, which annually marks the launch of the National Tour season. 

Valarie Jenkins remains atop disc golf’s women’s open division, as she solidified her number one ranking with a win in Las Vegas this past weekend.  Jenkins was also awarded the 2010 PDGA Player of the Year award earlier in the week, which marks her fourth consecutive year to win the honor.  She now stands in the exclusive company of Juliana Korver and Ken Climo, who are the only disc golfers ever to accomplish that feat.

While Jenkins’s success is now officially renowned, it has not come without being pushed.  Liz Lopez, the 2008 Rookie of the Year continues her steady improvement and 2010 Rookie of the Year, Paige Pierce, impresses her competitors every week she plays.  All these ladies will be in the Memorial field this week in Arizona, so the disc golf intrigue is not restricted to just the men’s open division. 

Fans of the sport will be able to watch all the drama unfold live from the beautiful Fountain Hills course in Arizona by pointing their browser over to  The broadcast will begin on Thursday at 11:15 am Mountain Standard Time and continue Friday and Saturday.  Special bonus coverage of The Memorial Championship presented by Discraft will occur on Tuesday, as will provide a live feed from the Memorial Press Conference in Fountain Hills at 2:15 pm MST. 

With so many advancements now in the sport, 2011 promises to be a very exciting year for disc golf, especially for Vibram Disc Golf, which is presenting the PDGA National Tour Elite Series.

The PDGA is taking bold new steps with the NT this year and Vibram Disc Golf is proud to be able to help build the National Tour into the spectator friendly events it was always meant to be. Some of the big changes the PDGA is implementing include:

   1. An emphasis on creating a fun event-type atmosphere
   2. A PDGA tent (60'!) to attract and inform spectators
   3. Creating regional events
   4. Using the Vibram Open as the crowing event
   5. Broadcasting several NT events live via DiscGolfPlanet.TV.

As in previous seasons, this ninth year for the PDGA National Tour maintains its mission to be the spotlighting of disc golf’s best events, best courses, best players, and best host clubs.  With 2011’s nine-event schedule, the PDGA feels that this valuable mission will continue to be fulfilled for our disc golf fans, players, and strategic partners.

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