Plans to bring the Disc Golf Pro Tour overseas to Europe for the PCS Sula Open, a PDGA Euro Tour event, in 2021 have been postponed due to travel restrictions amid the unpredictable COVID-19 situation currently in Europe.
Tournament organizers, PDGA Europe and the DGPT staff announced the news on Thursday, just under a month after the 2021 European Open, a PDGA Major, was canceled for 2021.
“We are definitely not calling this off – it is a postponement and, if anything, it gives us a full year to move the project forward and make it even bigger and better when the time comes,” said PDGA Euro Tour manager, Matej Verl.
Added Jostein Haland, a member of the tournament’s organizing crew: “One more year of preparations? Well, it will be the best Disc Golf Pro Tour event ever!”
Current Norwegian travel restrictions necessitated this change.
“While our COVID-19 policy stipulates event confirmations to come at the 6-week mark, international travel necessitated that the final decision-making process on PCS Sula starts ten weeks prior to the event,” said DGPT CEO and Director Jeff Spring. “After assessment with the PCS Sula team, and Euro Tour Manager Matej Verl, it became clear despite our willingness to use our full creativity and resources, there was no longer enough time to continue to hope for a change in travel restrictions.”
The initial plan was for at least 30 of the top players from the United States to attend the event, which is set for July 7-10.
While the DGPT designation has been removed from the event, the PCS Sula Open may still proceed as a PDGA Euro Tour event, or a local Norway event, depending on the European travel restrictions, Verl said. Current travel restrictions do not allow players to travel from one country to another in some cases, at least without a required 10-day quarantine period upon arrival.
Verl said that a final decision on the event – whether to re-open registration or cancel it entirely – will come on June 1.
“We haven’t given up hope, but the chances are very slim, which is why we did not re-open the registration outright,” Verl said. “In the case that the situation gets better, we are ready to proceed but we also have to respect the situation, which is very daunting. We hope that all of the players understand how hard it is for us to make these decisions and for them to have patience with us.”
Recently, PDGA Europe announced the final schedule for 2021. If the pandemic situation does not improve, Verl said that the Euro Tour may be canceled for 2021, with focus shifting to 2022.
“The evolution of the PDGA Euro Tour has been three years in the making and it could very well be called off for the second year in a row,” Verl said. “That puts us in the situation where all of the steps forward that we have been making won’t be showcased until 2022.
“All of the new media coverage, partners, great venues as well as the up-and-coming young European players that want to show off; everything is on halt because of COVID-19. This will all be included in a big boom for the PDGA Euro Tour when it finally gets a chance to be played. There will be huge expectations and huge pressure, but it will be worth the way and all disc golf fans will be amazed with how we’ve progressed over the past two years, even if we cannot show it off yet. I can promise that.”
Stay tuned to PDGA Europe and the PDGA Euro Tour online and on social media for updates on this fluid situation.
Des Moines Challenge Added to Disc Golf Pro Tour
The Disc Golf Pro Tour now shifts to a city and a venue in Des Moines with a long history of running high-level events, including the 2004 Pro World Championships.
Ty Tannat, owner of Wander Disc Golf, will serve as the Tournament Director and run the event with the Des Moines Metro Disc Golf Club, a club with a fantastic history that includes disc golf legends Jay & Des Reading.
Pickard Park, the course being used, notably was designed by Julianna Korver, 5x World Champion, who is also registered for the event.
The Des Moines Challenge that the Tour had hoped to visit in 2021 but didn’t fit due to scheduling.
“We had several discussions and plans with Ty and the team at Des Moines, but due to the date conflict, we felt it was best to wait until 2022 to bring the tour to Des Moines,” said Spring. “While we are sad not to fulfill our Norwegian plans, we are grateful to have fantastic and flexible partners like Ty, the PDGA, and a group of touring professionals that believe in the Tour in order to keep a DGPT Elite Series event on the schedule.”
In March, when travel restrictions continued to persist, the DGPT began to assess replacement events for PCS Sula.
“I remembered how impressed we were with Ty and the Des Moines Challenge proposal last off-season,” said Seth Fendley, DGPT Operations Director. “When PCS Sula started to look like it was in jeopardy, we were able to coordinate with Ty to ensure we would have the ability to open the second wave of registration, which is key to elevating this event.”
The second wave of registration currently plans to open up 29 more spots for the FPO division and 50 more spots for the MPO division to add to the current fields. Both divisions play on Pickard Park, which has recently seen four new holes added, and the course lengthened in preparation for touring professional competition. Wave 2 of Registration will begin Thursday, May 20, and follow standard DGPT registration tiers. Tier 1 will be for DGPT Tour Pass holders, with all successive Tiers opening every week. Tier 2 will open on May 27 to 1000+/900+ (MPO/FPO) rated players, Tier 3 will open on June 3 to 970+/870+ rated players, Tier 4 will open on June 10 to 935+/835+, rated and Tier 5 will open on June 17 to 900+ rated MPO players while FPO will have open registration.
“We know that this change is not ideal, but we understand that, due to the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the DGPT must be flexible,” said Spring. “We truly look forward to the hope of a Norwegian trip in 2022, and thank all the players, event staff, and the team at Des Moines Challenge for rising to the challenge of the moment and allowing the Pro Tour to continue to move forward and deliver on our commitment to the touring professionals of the sport.”
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