Maybe it’s our helpless need to break from the long winter, or perhaps it’s the excitement of knowing that the Memorial Championship presented by Discraft is the
first Pro Tour event of the season. Like the coming of Spring itself. No matter where you are in the world, all eyes will be drawn to sunny Scottsdale, Arizona where warm breezes and manicured fairways beacon all disc golf fans to the promise of an amazing season. We are more than ready to put away our snow shovels, clean off our discs and watch our heroes astonish us playing the sport we love. Although we hunger to stand beside the professionals as they knock off the rust and launch a disc, the real satisfaction comes with the fiery battles that lay ahead for all the competitors of this great event. For over 25 years, the Memorial Championship presented by Discraft has gained the reputation as an event that has inspired some of the most exciting and hard-fought finishes in the sport. Whether it’s the prestige of taking down a major title or just the satisfaction of playing in a gorgeous setting, the Disc Golf Pro Tour will undoubtedly reward the fans with best disc golfers in the world and the spectacle of competition that our cold, winter-worn souls have been craving.
With every new season of disc golf there is the inevitable hype of fresh young talent that will take the world by storm. But this year in the Men’s professional division (MPO) there is a feeling that all the forces that can and will make disc golf the sport of the next generation is here at our door. The idea of parity is not a new concept in many sports, but in disc golf there has never been as many gifted competitors that are on the precipice of reaching that next level. If you are fan of disc golf you can never overlook the determination to win that Paul McBeth has and his desire to repeat as reigning champ. But because of the enormous pool of talent, players like Simon Lizotte, recently recovering from a season-ending injury, is ready to return to prove his dominance in the sport. Another contender that has excelled at the 2016 Memorial Championship is Nate sexton. With his steady and smart performances, he was nearly awarded a victory last year trailing McBeth by a mere three strokes in the final round. Although the list of challengers that could win this year’s Memorial event is too long to mention, one name has risen above the rest among the field. Rated #1 in the sport of disc golf, Ricky Wysocki has proven himself as a clutch player who relishes the chance to pluck victories down the stretch when those around him seem to crumble. His emotionless demeanor mixed with his methodical game play tends to wear down his competition magnifying their minor mistakes allowing him enough margin for a win. Although he is known for the name Sockibomb, perhaps “Iceman”, might be a more fitting moniker for this icy player. There is no doubt the victory will be fiercely contested, but someone must defeat Ricky Wysocki if they have any hope of bringing home a trophy from the Memorial Championship.
In years past, the women’s division (FPO) has always demonstrated what we as disc golf fans are craving, competition! On occasion, the men’s division might leave us with a lopsided victory that is exciting but anticlimactic all the same. The female pros however nearly always give us what we want, a nail-biting finish! With only a few notable sponsor changes this year, the competition among the elite women disc golfers is at an all-time high. Last year’s champion, Catrina Allen, might be considered by some as the favorite because of her overall world ranking and steady game play. Another contender to take down the major is a true legend in disc golf, 4 time world champion Valarie Jenkins. She has the skills to win and the determination to elevate women’s disc golf to an entirely new level. If she plays her game, there isn’t much that can stop her victory lap. Although there has been a noticeable rise in female skilled players, the name that has made tremendous waves at the Aussie Open was Paige Pierce. Her miraculous victory in Australia may have given her the confidence to break from the pack. Her comfort level combined with her new bag and sponsor might shape her future in the sport of disc golf. Fighting off her competition wont be easy but she has the distance, the skills, and now armed with confidence, Page Pierce might be on her way to making history at the Disc Golf Pro Tour’s first event of the season, the Memorial Championship presented by Discraft.
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