The Tour Championship is a celebration. It is also a high stakes disc golf tournament with many pressure-packed rounds. Unlike a traditional tournament where you can bounce back from a mediocre round, at the Tour Championship, one mediocre round means you are driving home the next day.
On the men’s side, on day one, Dustin Keegan and Jeff Renner became the story. On day two, in the Quarterfinals, Dana Vicich, Reid Frescura, Dave Feldberg, Paul Oman, JohnE McCray, Nate Sexton and several others each had an exciting story develop. Two of them would move on, four of them would be eliminated from the tournament. The stories continued to develop into the Semis and the Finals.
Tim Barham’s amazing run. Who is Reid Frescura? Paul McBeth stating that while it was difficult to get motivated, he would have no motivation problems for the Finals with Ricky on the card. Simon’s battles with an illness the morning of the Finals and his heroic battle to not only compete against the best players in the world but to also compete against his rebelling body. James Conrad’s absolutely likely story to be in the Finals and to seemingly have things in control until failure bit him on a tunnel shot, one that he will hit 95 times out of 100.
And of course, Ricky. The kid that we’ve seen grow up on tour. He has fought and struggled and pushed everyone in the sport. Standing on 18, tied with McBeth, knowing that a win, two weekends in a row, over Paul on the final hole, would finally move him out of McBeth’s shadow to claim the crown as the best disc golfer on the planet. And then to prevail. Again. What a story Ricky Wysocki crafted for us.
On the women’s side, Nicole “Pickle” Dionisio set herself up for amazing heartbreak. Putting herself on tour this season, a kid from Maine, going up against the best in the world, and she pushed through to the Semifinals. Pickle, you’ve got what it takes. And then there was Lisa Fajkus’ great run and proclamation that she is among the best in the world. Sarah Hokom holding strong on a long and open course. Catrina Allen fighting back from a big early deficit. And Paige Pierce capping what might be the most dominant season of all time.
But did you hear about Tina Stanaits, our FPO Rookie of the Year? On the final hole, she asked her caddy, Paige Pierce, what she needed. Paige refused to tell her. Little did Tina know, but a par would get her in and eliminate her good friend Erika Stinchcomb. Imagine where Erika’s mind was, watching her friend with an opportunity to hit a putt and eliminate her. As a competitor, you want her to miss. As a friend, you want her to succeed. Imagine where Tina’s mind would have been if she had known. These are the emotions and moments and stories that the Tour Championship creates. And they are wonderful.
Thank you to all of the players that played on the tour, that believe the top end of the sport can be so much more. You put all of your professional efforts on public display for the world to see. You are emotional – there were dozens of close calls that resulted in moving on or being eliminated and everyone was impacted emotionally. I got so many hugs of joy and handshakes of sorrow I lost count. Each was an ending to a story, at the start of another. You are professional; with so much tension in the air, you always had time for the fans – to sign a disc or discuss a throw or take a picture. You are why we watch. You are why we will succeed. Thank you.