The Disc Golf Pro Tour (DGPT) will return to Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) Elite Series sanctioned play this June, after pausing the tour on March 13, 2020, during the Waco Annual Charity Open in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The DGPT returns approximately six weeks after the PDGA announced a return to sanctioned tournaments, with new policies and best practices in place to address the health concerns related to the pandemic.
The DGPT has decided to cancel the San Francisco Open and Portland Open in order to stay in alignment with government guidelines which limit movement and gatherings in San Francisco, CA, and Multnomah County, OR, creating uncertainty that each of the respective events could run as scheduled. Tournament Directors Sean Jack & Shawn Mercy (SFO) and Jeff Spring (Portland Open) will be in touch with the registered players of both events to provide options to refund their registrations, or in the case of some touring or regional professionals, transfer their registrations over to the replacement events. As this process takes place, the events expect to have all refunds processed over the weekend.
“With a heavy heart, Team SFO has come to the conclusion that we are canceling the 2020 San Francisco Open. We have been closely monitoring ongoing fluid changes at the state and local levels. Waiting as long as possible in order to gather key information, we hoped to produce the event without spectators and with substantial best practices to keep everyone safe,” said Jack.
“However, due to factors brought by the current pandemic, it simply became impossible to schedule a new date.”
Co-Td Shawn Mercy added, “San Francisco is still currently under a shelter-in-place order until 5/31. And while disc golf has resumed in the Bay Area at some courses, Mayor London Breed has said that mass gatherings and crowded occasions are still months away from being permitted.”
While the San Francisco Open was already delayed, the Portland Open had held on to the hope that it could be the first event on the Pro Tour to return on it’s originally scheduled date. TD & Tour Director Jeff Spring explains, “In March, it looked probable that the event could be held. Unfortunately, it is still probable. The fact that we don’t have more certainty at this time means that necessary preparations for an event of this magnitude can’t start. We’ve just run out of time. While Oregon has begun the process of loosening guidelines, Multnomah County is currently an outlier, and we want to respect local guidance in every decision we make.”
Instead of beginning on the West Coast, the Tour will restart in the Midwest, in a familiar disc golf location, Emporia, KS, with a new event, the Dynamic Discs Open June 26-28. Another new event, the Preserve Championship, hosted by Airborn Disc Golf in Minneapolis, will replace the Portland Open on the Elite Series July 3-5. Both events are supported by the PDGA as sanctioned A-Tiers and have been added to the Elite Series. Both events will also be USDGC qualifiers and broadcast live on the Disc Golf Network.
With these changes, along with a rescheduling of the Jonesboro Open to October 1-3, 2020, the Disc Golf Pro Tour will continue to have an Elite Series consisting of 11 events, as planned at the start of the season. In addition, the Tour plans on keeping 7 of 9 original Silver Series events for a schedule of 18 total events in 2020. “We will continue to assess and either confirm or cancel each event six weeks in advance,” said Tour Director and CEO Jeff Spring. “We’re optimistic that most of the remaining events can remain on the schedule.”
“We’re excited to be working with Jeremy Rusco, Doug Bjerkaas, and the whole Dynamic Discs family to restart the 2020 season with the Dynamic Discs Open in Emporia. We’re equally excited to bring the DGPT back to the great disc golf community in Minnesota. I’m looking forward to collaborating with Cale Leviska and Jason Wilder on the event.” said Spring. “Everyone is familiar with the Emporia Country Club course, and we’re very excited to put The Airborn Disc Golf Preserve into the national spotlight.”
The Disc Golf Pro Tour will be adhering to strict new social distancing policies to ensure a safe environment for all players, staff, and media. The COVID-19 policies and best practices are sectioned into three phases, with Phase 1 including the following guidelines:
- Spectators prohibited.
- Enforcement of social distancing measures, keeping all players, event staff, volunteers, and media at least 6 feet away from each other at all times.
- Sanitization of common surfaces and hand sanitizer available during play.
- Group sizes will be limited to threesomes and field sizes will be reduced for speed of play. Reduced field size will also allow for easier social distancing, and limits potential group sizes.
Additionally, the DGPT will provide optional testing to all players, which will be mandatory for event participation if players show any symptoms of COVID-19 or have come into contact with anyone with the virus.
“We wouldn’t be restarting if we didn’t think we could do so responsibly,” said Spring. “Touring professionals have already begun traveling to events that are happening with PDGA sanctioning. We feel that by restarting the tour, we can provide resources and best practices for the touring professionals as well as set an example for other events to follow.”
The Disc Golf Pro Tour Elite Series will restart June 26th with the Dynamic Discs Open in Emporia. For more information about the DGPT and the restart of the 2020 season please visit www.dgpt.com. For inquiries please email Media Manager, Mahmoud Bahrani at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A full schedule is provided below: