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The Changing Tide

By Michelle Springett

The Changing Tide: Attempting to Predict the Unpredictable at USDGC 2023

Article written by: Michelle Springett – DGPT Communications Coordinator

As the 2023 United States Disc Golf Championship (USDGC) approaches, there’s a palpable excitement in the air. This year marks the 25th edition of this prestigious tournament. If the current season is any indication, it promises to be one of the most unpredictable and competitive in recent memory.

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A Record-Breaking Season:
On the MPO side of the 2023 Tour, there have been 13 winners in elite/major events, reflecting the sport’s increasing depth and talent. Additionally, this season has seen five first-time winners, highlighting the emergence of new players who are making their presence known. This 2023 season, we have seen five chase card winners: Kyle Klein at the 2023 Prodigy presents WACO, Simon Lizotte at the Music City Open, Gannon Buhr at The Open at Austin presented by Lone Star Disc, and the Innova Blue Ridge Championship at North Cove, and recently Matt Orum at the MVP Open presented by OTB.

Players to Watch:

  • Gannon Buhr: The reigning USDGC champion stands out, not just because of his victory last year but also because of his impressive form this season. With 3 elite wins, he’s leading the pack in terms of wins this season.
  • Isaac Robinson: The current World Champion is on fire. With two Majors this year, he could become the second-ever MPO player to snag three major wins in a single season. His continuous improvement at the USDGC, backed by two consecutive top-10 finishes, places him firmly among the favorites.
  • Calvin Heimburg: The 2023 DGPT Points winner, Heimburg has shown a knack for performing at the USDGC. Two of his three major podium finishes have been at this event, but he still hasn’t been able to shake the Major monkey off his back. Is this the event where he can finally do it?
  • Ricky Wysocki: A legend of the sport, Wysocki’s history with the USDGC is bittersweet. Despite 11 starts and 6 podium finishes, he’s never clinched the title. Could this year be his chance to change that narrative? After an abbreviated start to the season due to injury, Ricky hasn’t missed the top 20 since March.

Course Dynamics:
The Winthrop Gold course presents a challenging layout that may not be suitable for the faint of heart. It boasts one of the highest percentages of Double Bogey or worse scores on the tour, making every shot count. The final four holes, 15th to 18th, are particularly grueling and can make or break a player’s performance, demanding a blend of skill, strategy, and courage. Multiple Major Championships have been lost on hole 17 alone; you won’t want to miss out as the lead card comes down the stretch on Sunday. 

The Battle for Supremacy
With Paul McBeth—the only repeat winner in the last decade—absent this year, the field seems more open than ever. The roster boasts talented players like Eagle McMahon, who has achieved top-5 finishes in his last eight events, and Anthony Barela, who had a remarkable season. Both of these players must be on your shortlist when considering their potential and the challenge of the Winthrop Arena. 

A Historical Perspective:
The USDGC boasts a rich and varied history, with legendary players like Ken Climo (who won five times) and Paul McBeth (who won three times) etching their names in the annals of the sport. The victor of this year’s tournament will join an esteemed group. With the season being fiercely competitive thus far, predicting who will claim the championship is challenging.

The 2023 USDGC is set to be a landmark event. With a mix of established champions and emerging stars, combined with the unpredictable nature of the Winthrop Gold course, fans are in for a treat. So, get ready for a roller coaster of emotions, high-flying drives, nerve-wracking putts, and, most importantly, world-class disc golf. The stage is set; who will rise to the occasion?

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