The City of Roses, Stumptown, Rip City, PDX, Disc City…these are just a few of the nicknames for the great city of Portland, Oregon. OK fine, you busted us. Disc City isn’t one of the nicknames, but maybe it should be. Portland and the Stumptown Disc Golf Club have a long history of success in the disc golf world and we couldn’t be more excited about what is about to begin, the 2014 PDGA Professional Disc Golf World Championships presented by Keen!
That’s right folks, it’s Pro Worlds time and it’s shaping up to be one of the biggest and baddest events in the history of the sport. Portland and the surrounding area is basically one giant disc golf mecca. In a 50 mile radius there are 40+ courses, many of which are installed in parks so beautiful that they’d be worth visiting with or without the course. Add to that a Pacific Northwest climate that allows for year-round disc golf and it’s no mystery as to why the sport has seen such success in this area.
Portland is also home to one of the biggest supporters of the sport, Keen footwear, founded here in 2003. Just as they did for the 2014 Japan Open, Keen is once again providing every competitor of the event with a brand new pair of $130 shoes made specifically for disc golfers, the Keen Nasu WP. There are many other sponsors to thank as well, all of which are listed on the Pro Worlds Sponsors page of PDGA.com. Events of this magnitude simply aren’t possible without their support.
It's no secret that Paul McBeth #27523 is seeking to win his third consecutive Pro Worlds title. McBeth skipped the PDGA National Tour event last weekend, the Fort Steilacoom Open, opting to head straight to Portland instead to start practicing the courses. A three-peat at the Pro Worlds in the Open division is no small feat. It's only been accomplished by one individual, known to the disc golf world as simply The Champ. Ken Climo #4297 didn't stop at just three in a row. In fact, he won three in a row, three times in a row, taking home the title every year from 1990-1998.
Paige Pierce #29190 will be chasing after the repeat title as well, battling against the likes of 3x World Champion Val Jenkins #17495, 3x World Champion Des Reading #15863, 2012 World Champion Sarah Hokom #34563, and Catrina Allen #44184, currently ranked the #2 female pro in the world. If Paige pulls it off, it will be her third world title in the last four years.
3x World Champion Barry Schultz #6840 took home the gold in the Masters division last year after blowing away the competition at Lemon Lake. He's seen plenty of success this year already, including a win at the Tim Selinske US Masters Cup, a PDGA Major. To get the repeat title in Masters he'll have to once again take down incredibly talented golfers, all while having a target on his back. Patrick Brown #25713, Ken Climo #4297, Jay "Yeti" Reading #15864, and Jonathan Baldwin #18114, amongst many others, are all more than capable of coming out as the 2014 Masters World Champion.
In the Legends division, Peter Shive #7240 will be going for his 12th world title! Yes, you read that correctly. After his victory last year at Lemon Lake he moved into second place as far as most world championships wins is concerned. The only person with more World Championship wins than Shive is of course, Ken Climo, who's racked up a whopping 13.
The singles competition begins on the morning of Tuesday August 12th with 400 competitors spread out over six different courses in and around the city. The courses and parks that were chosen demonstrate just how diverse the landscape of this area truly is. Each one presents its own unique and challenging terrain meaning players will need an array of shots in their bag to finish well at the end of the week.
A favorite of touring pros and amateurs alike, Milo is one of those courses that you can’t fully appreciate until you’ve been there. It’s a bucket-list course to say the least. Milo is the only park being used that has two 18-hole courses, Milo East and Milo West. The holes are carved out through and surrounded by enormous evergreens that tower over the fairways and greens. It’s hard to comprehend the massiveness of the trees until you see just how tiny a basket looks in comparison.
Blue Lake is a beast. The 18-hole par 68 layout being used for Pro Worlds is 10,430 feet of beautifully manicured fairways with thick and sometimes treacherous rough. The fairways are plenty wide enough to leave a little bit of room for error off the tee, but don’t push your luck. If your driver ends up in a cluster of thorn-filled blackberry bushes, there’s a decent chance you might not see it again. No matter what happens during a round at Blue Lake, you can always take a breath, relax, and enjoy the view of Mt. Hood dominating the horizon.
Blue Lake will be home to the field events on Sunday August 10th, the semis and finals on Saturday August 16th, and to a special live-streaming exhibition match put together by SmashBoxxTV on Monday August 11th.
Pier Park is the kind of place you could play every day, multiple times, and never get tired of it. The fairways are filled to the brim with perfectly placed old-growth Douglas Firs. The trees are so large that very little sunlight breaks through the canopy, creating a dark and almost eerie atmosphere, but in an awesome way. The 18 holes of Pier Park all play as par 3s with a combined distance of just over 6300 feet. Precision is the name of the game at Pier, not power.
If there is any course that will make or break someone’s spirit, it’s Trojan Park. The course is set up in a par 60 layout and features water hazards on 14 of the 18 holes. To add to that, a majority of the water hazard holes are as aesthetically pleasing as they are extremely difficult. A bad run of drives or upshots can and likely will cost you a hefty stack of plastic.
If you were fortunate enough to witness any of the rounds at the 2012 Pro World Championships in Charlotte, NC, you'll have a good idea of what McCormick Park is like. It's actually a few feet shorter in overall length than Pier Park but because of the way it is designed and layed out, it comes in at a par of 62. It's heavily wooded and forces players to play precision placement shots off the tee and on their approaches. It's another make or break type of course because of how quickly a par can turn into a double bogey, triple bogey, or worse.
DiscGolfPlanet.tv will be streaming live from the 2014 PDGA Profession Disc Golf World Championships all week long covering different divisions and lead cards with multiple camera angles. Live scoring will be up and running on PDGALive.com all week as well with hole-by-hole scores coming in from as much of the field as we can cover each day with some rounds also covered with throw-by-throw commentary on Twitter via @PDGALive.
If for some reason you missed the live streaming coverage from DiscGolfPlanet, worry not. We’ve created a page on the Pro Worlds section of PDGA.com that will lists all the hole-by-hole scoring for the rounds that were covered each day, as well as links to any respective video coverage we have available from the rounds.
Speaking of videos, we’ve received a record number of requests from videographers that want to come out and film this year’s action and for the most part, we’ve approved them all. The media flood gates are open! We look forward to being able to help provide fans of the sport with as many different videos from the week as possible. Featured YouTube channels that will be here filming are McFlySoHigh Video, The SpinTV, Central Coast Disc Golf, and ICGM8, just to name a few.
But wait, there’s more! As mentioned previously, SmashBoxxTV has put together a special exhibition round scheduled for Monday August 11th at 10AM PDT. The match will be played at Blue Lake and features Paul McBeth #27523, Ken Climo #4297, Steve Rico #4666, and Paul Ulibarri #27171. More information about this special event can be found on the SmashBoxxTV Facebook page.
Last but not least, we have to thank the tournament staff and the network of volunteers that have put in so much time and effort into making this event what it is and what it will be. If you see the staff, volunteers, spotters, and/or anyone else that’s out on the courses working instead of playing, make the effort to stop and thank them for everything they’ve done. It’s good karma, and more importantly, they deserve it.
Stay tuned disc golf world. The 2014 PDGA Profession Disc Golf World Championships officially starts tomorrow morning with Mixed Doubles at Pier Park! Anything and everything you need concerning the 2014 Pro Worlds can always be found at www.PDGAWorlds.com.
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