2011 European Open
As was revealed at the 2010 USDGC, the European Open will be back again in 2011 with a new venue and time slot. Taking place from the 21st through the 24th of July, this year’s EO will return to Finland, but this time in Nokia, a small city of 30,000 inhabitants right next to Tampere, the EO-host of ’06, ’07 and ’09. The name of the city may ring a bell for most people as the city of Nokia is the birthplace of the famous Finnish cell phone manufacturer. Despite the name, nowadays the city of Nokia has very little relation to Nokia the company.
What Nokia has to offer this year is an improved course with many kinds of challenges: water hazards, heavily wooded, as well as open, fairways and alteration in elevation. Previous layouts have been put to the test by some of Europe’s finest disc golfers, as Nokia was the second official tournament course in the European Championships in 2005 besides Epilä, Tampere. There have also been two Finnish national tour events held on the Nokia course in ’08 and ’09. The Nokia course has been praised as one of the most versatile and challenging in all of Europe by players who have been lucky enough to play it's tournament layout. Jussi Meresmaa will be the course designer again this year and the final layout for the 2011 EO will be published in late June.
The other reason Nokia was selected to host this year's European Open is that it provides a better environment for a tournament of this scale. The Nokia Sports Centre DiscGolfPark™ is located around the Nokia Ice Hall, which will serve as the tournament centre. This year the European Open will also feature a new tournament hotel – Spa Hotel Eden, where the Players' Dinner and Players' Party will be held. The hotel features a Spa, Gym and a six-hole warm-up course, which all are free-to-use for all hotel guests. This will definitely be the place to be while attending the European Open.
As we’ve seen from other big European events this year, the field in most tournaments have filled up really fast. The European Open is expected to reach a new record in number of players as the maximum quota for 2011 will be 150 players. Many of these players are expected to come from the U.S. too. So far, 21 U.S. players have registered, including names like Dave Feldberg, Paul Ulibarri, Will Schusterick, Val Jenkins, and Avery Jenkins.
The registration for the event is done in three phases based on PDGA ratings. The first phase started on the 15th of February, allowing all PDGA members rated over 975 to secure their place in the tournament. In the second phase starting on March 1st, all PDGA members rated over 940 can secure their place. Finally, if the field is not filled by these two phases, all current PDGA members will be able to secure their place starting on April 1st. For FPO players these minimum ratings will be 900 and 825 before the registration opens for everyone. More information about the registration process is available at the tournament website.
The year 2011 is a special year for the European Open, as it will serve as the only MPO PDGA Major event besides the PDGA Worlds, played in Santa Cruz, CA, just two weeks after the EO. The reason for this is that the other MPO Majors are organized bi-annually for the first time, as the USDGC made their announcement to take a year off in 2011. The tournament organization for the European Open has gone through some changes as well. The 2010 TD of the year, Jussi Meresmaa, is handing the torch over to Janne Kotka who will serve as the tournament director for 2011. Mr. Kotka is best known from his past positions as assistant TD for the 2009 EO and the 2010 Presidents Cup. Jussi will still serve as the head of the tournament organization, as Jussi’s company Innova Champion Europe will be hosting the event.
Returning to European soil, the Presidents Cup will again be played on the 20th of July, a day before the actual tournament starts. Honor will once again be at stake as the best players in Europe will try to take the title for the first time against the U.S. team, which has been victorious in the last 4 team events. More info concerning the qualifying process for the Presidents Cup will follow later this spring.
For more information about the 2011 European Open, please visit their website at www.opendiscgolf.com.
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