pdgaistousga 88

Tour Championship: Unsanctioned

We have decided to unsanction the Tour Championship. It will not be a PDGA event.

This process of not sanctioning may need to continue into 2017 unless positive steps are taken toward working together. This is mostly meant as a shot across the bow of the PDGA.

Note: Discraft’s Green Mountain Championship will remain sanctioned.
Note: Any players that would like a refund due to the unsanctioning of the Tour Championship will receive a full refund no questions asked.
Note: Non sanctioned DGPT events will forward money to a Pro Tour charity effort (instead of paying PDGA sanctioning fees).

Our goal is to work together. The PDGA should treat the Pro side of the sport fairly. Some may view this as divisive. We are sorry that it has come to this.

The Pro Tour is laying the foundation to be disc golf’s PGA Tour in North America. The players and venues will have representation. The spectators will have live coverage, great stats, and an amazing Tour Championship (date and location to be announced in the coming months as details are finalized). The Pro Tour has tried, in good faith, to work with the PDGA on scheduling, co-branding events, and even discipline. The PDGA’s actions have consistently demonstrated that there is no desire to work with the DGPT, which is viewed simply as a series of PDGA events.

We are taking this action to demonstrate that the DGPT is an independent organization. We have put our umbrella around a series of events and are growing the Pro side of the sport in ways the PDGA never has. We have announced the 2017 Pro Tour, which was scheduled with the PDGA and World Tour events in mind.

———-

Working Together

When the Pro Tour and World Tour were announced in the Fall of 2015, Jussi (DGWT), Steve (DGPT) and Brian (PDGA) made it clear that we would all work together regarding scheduling. An initial calendar was worked out between the DGWT and the DGPT and was shared with the PDGA.

Since then, the PDGA has

  • Scheduled events that directly conflicted with our original proposal
  • Caused the tour to cross America in one week
  • Stated paperwork was lost
  • Explained that dates were written down incorrectly
  • Apologized for schedules not being referenced

The PDGA never reached out to the DGPT with proposals on scheduling. It has become clear that “working together” means the PDGA will setup the schedule as it always does, PDGA Majors and NTs first, everyone else next. That is not what the DGPT envisioned when we said “work together”.

————

No Communication, No Co-Branding
  • The Vibram Open, an NT for eight straight years, was not considered for NT status because it was a Pro Tour event. The PDGA never reached out.
  • The Ledgestone Open, presented by Discraft. The Ledgestone and Hambrick had been told that they would alternate being the NT for their region. 2015: Ledgestone. 2016: Hambrick. 2017? Neither. The Ledgestone was a Pro Tour event so it was not considered for the NT. The PDGA never reached out.

Is this a conspiracy? No. The PDGA staff was instructed to schedule no Pro Tour events as NTs by the PDGA Executive Director. The PDGA Executive Director serves at the pleasure of the Board of Directors (BoD). The BoD is either complicit in or directive of this instruction.

————

The BoD, the Summit, the brushoff.

The DGPT reached out to the PDGA to be a part of the Pro Tour/NT discussion, which was slated for four hours. The DGPT was told that the BoD would prefer to not hear from us nor have us involved in the conversation. This was when it became clear that the Pro Tour was, in the eyes of the PDGA and the BoD, not worthy of being involved in the discussion. Eyes wide open.

————

The final straw. Bradley Williams’ 18 month suspension.

In no way does the DGPT condone the actions of Bradley Williams.

I (Steve Dodge) emailed the Disciplinary Committee the day after the Ledgestone, where Bradley’s infraction occurred: “I want to be available to you all … and I want to work closely together and present a unified front when / if disciplinary actions are taken.” I was never contacted. The PDGA removed a player from the Pro Tour without any inclusion of the DGPT in the process.

I did reach out to the Disciplinary Committee after the fact and it was explained to me that they were talking to me ONLY because I happened to be the TD of an upcoming event that the suspension would affect. As the Director of the Pro Tour, I would not have gotten my call answered. Once again pointing out, the PDGA does not consider the Pro Tour a worthy partner.

So we have one player (Bradley Williams) suspended and two players (Paul McBeth and Cam Todd) who are boycotting PDGA events due to the PDGA disciplinary process. The players have every right to have representation in the Disciplinary process and understand what types of actions warrant what types of punishment.

Being a PDGA event is hurting the DGPT Tour Championship.

————

Time for the split

In good conscience, knowing that the goals of the DGPT are to build a professional Pro Tour throughout North America, we cannot continue to pretend to work together with the PDGA. The PDGA has consistently failed to communicate, put roadblocks in our way, refused to have discussions, and has suspended Pro Tour players without consulting the Pro Tour or the players.

Today I have renewed my PDGA membership for 2017. The PDGA is our governing body and does a very good job of defining the rules of the game, creating ratings for events, and executing the PDGA Majors. These are the exact same things that the USGA does for golf. The USGA is a worthwhile and good organization. It does not run and govern the Pro side of the game, except for hosting the US Opens.

The Pro Tour’s goal is to become the PGA Tour of disc golf in North America. The PDGA will continue to be the USGA of disc golf. Arguably, the PDGA never meaningfully supported the Pro side of the sport in the way the Pro Tour (and DGWT) does and will. It is not in the PDGA’s DNA to do this. 98% of its members will never play at this level and it is a member organization.

It is time for the split to happen. And it starts this weekend.

———–

One Parting Thought

We would like to work with the PDGA on the Pro side of the sport as a respected partner. In order for this to happen, the BoD needs to direct PDGA HQ to work closely with the DGPT. If this Board is not up to the challenge and if you would like the PDGA and DGPT to work together for the betterment of the sport, then during the next BoD election cycle, the relationship with the DGPT should be a topic of discussion.

We would like to see the following actions taken:

  • Bylaws written stating that disciplinary action taken on an MPO or FPO player at a DGPT event will be left to the DGPT Disciplinary Process.
  • The Board of Directors issue a directive telling PDGA HQ to treat the DGPT and DGWT as equals in the scheduling process of MPO & FPO level events.
  • The DGPT and DGWT be invited to each Summit to present updates on progress and potential scheduling conflicts.

With these simple changes, we will be able to work together going forward and schedule 2018 in a way that is best for the players, the PDGA/DGPT/DGWT, and the spectators. The sport is growing. It is time for our governing body to do so too.

88 Comments

  • Derek Disc

    September 13, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    For what it is worth, I hate to agree that this type of announcement was forthcoming regardless of the suspension of the DGPT player. I hope that the PDGA BOD, DGPT, and DGWT can work together to resolve this in a way that does not encourage anything but positivity and the continued growth of our beloved sport.

  • Sam Gibson

    September 13, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    Said DGPT player was deserving of said suspension. 100%. I don’t even want the sport to grow all that much until we can get more courses in the ground but in no way do I want that douchebag representing the game I love until he can act like an adult. 6+ years of seriously bad behavior. Dude got what was coming and your new tour be damned.

    You need to establish yourself before you split. Comparing yourself to the PGA tour after a handful of events? You might have just sounded the death knolls for your tour.

    • September 13, 2016 at 11:13 pm

      Your viewpoint is understood and heard, however this unsanctioning is about much more than Bradley’s suspension. Regarding the PGA Tour, yes, that is our goal and I should have worded and said it that way. If I said that we are the PGA Tour of disc golf already, I misspoke. Thank you for clarifying.

      • Sam Gibson

        September 13, 2016 at 11:28 pm

        I see what you are seeing with your vision and I do not mean to begrudge your efforts, sir. I genuinely wish you success and hope that the chasm you see is bridged.

      • Eamon Smith

        September 14, 2016 at 8:42 am

        “If I said that we are the PGA Tour of disc golf already, I misspoke. Thank you for clarifying.”

        Is that what the imagine at the top of the article is already implying?

  • Joseph Scarlett

    September 13, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    It is great to see some big changes in the disc golf world. All the new headlines and drama has so many people talking and that is a good thing. I’ve never seen so much disc golf talk in my Facebook news feed! Excited to see what kind of changes are in store!

    • Snappyfingers

      September 14, 2016 at 3:46 am

      J-Scar!

      • Big Nug

        September 14, 2016 at 7:12 am

        J-Scar and Snappy!

        • C. Pro

          September 14, 2016 at 7:47 am

          Enjoy the game, respect the sport.

    • Tangela

      February 5, 2017 at 7:29 pm

      with much misplaced authority.I count him as the best representative of the &#2s80;Han2on” approach in his political ideals but he is far better informed than she ever will be thus making him an exceedingly dangerous character.

  • Branden Garland

    September 13, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    I think the notion that we need the PDGA for tournaments is proving to be antiquated. As bad as BW might have been over the past few years, I found the decision to be harsh. Given the other details you shared Steve, this seems to be a no brainer. My question now is, is Mcbeth coming back for the finals??

    • September 14, 2016 at 12:08 am

      That is his choice, but we certainly would love to WATCH him complete for the $10k in the one round, winner take all finals!

      • Louis LaPorta

        September 14, 2016 at 11:05 am

        Is the entire purse the 10k for first Steve for the tour championship or will there be following payouts for the top 16? Just curiosity! Thanks.

  • Louis LaPorta

    September 14, 2016 at 12:17 am

    Steve, I would love to see the DGPT create a rating system of their own. In my opinion the PDGA has done nothing to grow the sport. All they do is collect their subscription and sanctioning fees. Where does the money go? The only thing they provide that is valuable to the player is a rating system and a rule book. Your thoughts? Think you will ever create a rating system?

    • Luke Petersen

      September 14, 2016 at 9:09 am

      Seconded! Let’s put our money into an organization that will actually grow the sport!

    • Vojtech

      September 14, 2016 at 11:01 am

      Funny thing to hear this. I am from Czech republic, which is in pretty much a boom phase (65 new courses in last 3 years, European tour event last year DGWT event this year…). However frankly speaking, except of rating and rule book I see nothing from PDGA. What more, having not many 18 holes courses, the majority of such events needs a lot of effort, work and money, as they are held on temporary courses, which have to be build just for this evcent. Finding sponsors here (for pretty much unknown sport) is nearly impossible. How can we make PDGA B tournament (or even A) here with current rules?
      Seems to me, that PDGA is simply US DGA. Not World DGA. Not designed for the rest of the world. And frankly, I do not see any activity or support to grow the sport in countries, where it started just few years ago (which is for example pretty much the whole EU except Finland and Sweden). Seem to me a bit that PDGA took the discgolf to be theirs and do not want to share it with anybody else…

  • Bob Kulchuk

    September 14, 2016 at 12:25 am

    It is a shame that it had to come to this, but perhaps it’ll be for the best. Or maybe this is the prompt that is needed to bring all the parties back together. We are certainly at a crossroads in the growth of the sport and I’m in full support of the efforts you and your staff have made towards growing the Pro Tour. Keep it up Steve.

  • Jack Rallhide

    September 14, 2016 at 12:48 am

    Well this is sad news. I’ve been loving the DGPT events and the coverage that they’ve been getting. It’s been great for growing the sport – I’ve definitely had a few friends who were casual players getting excited and more involved due to watching the DGPT.

    I hope you guys continue to reach out to the PDGA (and the local TDs) and find a way to work together to get an awesome NT and DGPT event schedule set for 2017 (or 2018 if 2017 is locked in.)

    I’d like to see:

    1. The PDGA and DGPT form a joint committee for disciplinary action for shared events, so sanctions are consistent across the sport, whether a PT or NT event.
    2. The PDGA issue a directive to include DGPT representatives in the NT/PT scheduling process. There may be NT and PT events that conflict every now and again because the sport is getting bigger. When an NT/PT event can actually be run may depend on the TD and local course, and neither should have precedence, but working out a schedule that works best for the MPO and FPO players is the best thing to do for the sport, especially since it isn’t grown to the level yet that many of the amazing MPO/FPO players can travel across the country/world multiple times in a season.
    3. Spot on re: the Summit and coordination.
    4. The DGPT run a member for the PDGA BoD at the next election cycle. I’m a PDGA member and voted this year, but if I see a DGPT representative on the next election card, I know I can cast my vote to ensure that there is a voice in the BoD to encourage the continued growth and cooperation of the sport.

    Lastly, I think Brad got the “make an example” mentality in the head of the PDGA as the sport is rapidly growing. Players who are consistently demonstrating bad sportsmanship are toxic to the sport and what the PDGA and the DGPT are trying to foster in the example lead by the best players in Disc Golf.

    But they should take a page from organizations like the NFL/NBA/PGA. For someone who’s Pro earnings this year are not even $20k, the option of a $1,000 fine or a two month suspension would send a very strong message to Pro players who are representing our sport to many new comers and outsiders. Brad has been averaging two events a month, with about $500 winnings per event, so a two month suspension would cost him $2,000. An 18 month suspension would be the equivalent of a $18,000 fine if he continued placing well, over twice what he earned as a Pro player in 2015.

    For comparison, John McEnroe was only ever fined $69,000 in his entire career (vs. earnings of $12M) and suspended a total of two months.

    • Eamon Smith

      September 14, 2016 at 8:44 am

      Would love to see a response from Dodge here.

    • Traci

      September 14, 2016 at 9:31 am

      I completely agree with this. The sanction was excessive and arbitrary. Pro Players deserve representation. This is an emergent, and possibly lucrative, global sport. A higher quality of governing should be in place. I applaud the DGPT for taking this stand, and having an eye toward growing a Professional level sport.

    • September 14, 2016 at 11:10 pm

      I agree with all of these points. And here is our post about Bradley Williams: https://www.dgpt.com/news/bradley-williams-serve-pro-tour-suspension

  • Steve Darby

    September 14, 2016 at 1:55 am

    I can except that you feel disciplinary action for someone on the pro tour should be your domain. So, what disciplinary action are you taking against BW.

    • Bob Cundiff

      September 14, 2016 at 7:10 am

      Let’s see if he plays in the finals or early 2017 DGPT events. Then we will know if the DGPT is real or a joke. To give him no disciplinary action would be more egregious than the 18 month sentance.

      • Ohio

        September 14, 2016 at 8:42 am

        What disciplinary action will be taken with Matt Dollar? He made verbal threats as well but neither filed with the DGPT. Matt did with the PDGA. Its also first offenses for both of them on the DGPT.

      • Traci

        September 14, 2016 at 9:36 am

        I completely disagree with this, and fault the PDGA for liable, having damaged the player’s reputation with an excessive (and unwarranted) lengthy suspension. Had the investigation into the complaint (made on the spot, in the heat of the moment) been unbiased, with player representation as part of the process, I feel strongly that a different outcome would have occurred.

  • Cooper Harkins

    September 14, 2016 at 1:58 am

    Not only do I agree that cooperation should be number one when trying to bring together a sport that has the potential to keep its momentous expansion in current years. That being said, I am not sure such a hasty move is the best move. Unless you are trying to coax action from the other side to remedy the situation. Its a bold move and its sad that something like this has to come at such a crucial turning point in disc golf.

    • September 14, 2016 at 11:13 pm

      I agree entirely. My action was taken too hastily and hopefully the PDGA will be able understand the aggravation that I have been experiencing. Having said that, the talking points should be addressed and discussed so we can build a long lasting bridge.

      • Dylan Campbell

        September 15, 2016 at 8:39 pm

        Hats off to you for doing what you feel is necessary to make the players comfortable for this exciting weekend of DISC GOLF!!! Definitely a bummer it had to boil up to this but a little dust needed to be shaken off the rug, right!? In the “About” section on this website are some really positive and motivating statements about the mission of the DGPT. I hope the bridge starts construction soon from both sides. Being united, the Pro, World and National tours can coexist and continue grow the sport. !!DISC GOLF FOREVER!!

        • September 17, 2016 at 7:21 am

          Thank you Dylan, we will continue to push the envelope for the Pro side of the sport.

      • Forever

        February 5, 2017 at 7:39 pm

        If i want to invite fraelencers who are not part of the community to join only one specific project and i don’t want them to see other sections (docs, crm, community) nor do I want to see their names as members of the community, how do i do so?thanks.

  • Henrik Nilsson

    September 14, 2016 at 2:26 am

    Of course PDGA should embrace new initiatives and cooperate as far as possible, but why should they discuss personal matters with any private organisation? As someone mentioned it could be a good solution to accept one representative from DGPT into PDGA diciplinary board, but all diciplinary matters should be handled there and nowhere else. You say that PDGA is a members organisation in a way that insinuates that this would be a bad thing for the pro’s? I would say that all members I know love to see the pro’s play for the big money, and from where is the money coming? I would guess the number of spectators, online and/or live. Turning against that organisation is more likely to decimate the very organisation that grows the sport. Go through the election process and join any of the PDGA boards and work from within.

  • Jamie Mosier

    September 14, 2016 at 6:00 am

    I inquired/called this early on in the week. Mos-stradamus strikes!

    • Dylan Campbell 34929

      September 15, 2016 at 8:15 pm

      Mostradamus! Making it worth scrolling down this far!

  • Campbell

    September 14, 2016 at 6:05 am

    There’s a group called the PDGA,
    Who frustrates us all in some way.
    So Steve Dodge comes along, and he sees all that’s wrong, and he just shook things up yesterday.

    Seriously though
    No more poems about this
    Way to go Steve Dodge =]

    • Roy

      September 14, 2016 at 8:53 am

      Love the limerick!

  • Tim Red Beard

    September 14, 2016 at 6:20 am

    Steven Dodge…there is nothing bad to be said about this man. I’ve known Steve for quite a number of years since I came into the sport and his heart and soul is to make this sport better!! What Steve is doing as well as Jussi and everybody else involved with the DGPT and the DGWT is nothing short of amazing. They have done more in the past three years then the PDGA has done since it’s inception. In my opinion having a disc golf pro tour in North America for the pros run by a professional group of people who care about the pros and the process as well as progression of the sport is something that this sport needs now more then ever. For the PDGA to sit back and play deaf dumb and blind to the fact that these two organizations the DGPT & DGWT are trying to do what’s best for the sport of disc golf is basically a kick to the face of both of those organizations. It’s disgusting!! I really hope that the DGPT succeeds with what they want to do for the pros and the tour in North America and also works with the DGWT to make both of these tours the best that they can be for the respective continents. You fully have my support even tho I will never play at that level, there are certainly many other people that will as this great sport grows.

  • Micheal Barnes

    September 14, 2016 at 6:22 am

    As gutsy of a move this is, it just might be what is needed. I have felt after watching the last several DGPT events there could be more done to expand the experience and I can see now where some of the resistance may have been. Good luck Mr. Dodge, and whatever you do, Make sure the intentions are geared toward the players and the advancement of the sport and fan experience.

    • September 14, 2016 at 11:17 pm

      Well said. Reminders of the goals are always welcome.

  • David Sauls

    September 14, 2016 at 6:32 am

    It’ll be interesting. Disc golf is still at the stage where a lot of people are making independent efforts in a lot of directions, instead of being dictated from the top. There’s a lot of good in that, because it allows for more Darwinian evolution.

    But from my vantage point, the timing is bad. 2017 makes sense. But the timing looks like you caved to McBeth, and opened yourself up to be the Bad Boys tour.

    It’ll be interesting to see your governance model going forward—your discipline process, how much players control the enterprise, and which players they are.

    In the meantime, I applaud your efforts to do something new and Big.

  • Bill

    September 14, 2016 at 7:36 am

    With this departure does the pro tour have plans in place for changes to payout structure? What about the insurance coverage provided by PDGA sanctioning, does the pro tour have it’s own insurance that will cover their events? I’m jumping around with my questions a bit, apologies.

    • September 14, 2016 at 11:19 pm

      No plans to adjust payout structure. Yes, we have insurance.

  • Chris Pierce

    September 14, 2016 at 7:46 am

    Brian Graham should resign since the members can’t vote him out.

  • JerryB #7619

    September 14, 2016 at 8:20 am

    Considering the history I understand the DGPT taking this action. I hate to see it come to this. I believe it is not in the long term best interests of the sport to have these kinds of divisions. No endeavor can thrive if there are multiple entities competing against each other. It is incumbent on the PDGA to make this right. Our top players are playing both the World tour and the Pro tour. What will happen if the pro field splits up because of this? How can we expect to be taken seriously by the sports world if we keep this up? If we can’t grow up and act like adults then we have no future and we might as well be tossing horse shoes.

    • September 14, 2016 at 11:20 pm

      I will work to behave more appropriately and reduce the airing of dirty laundry. Let’s all work together.

      • JerryB

        September 16, 2016 at 9:00 pm

        It’s all good, buddy. You love the sport and are trying to grow it. I dig the hell out of that. I’ve really enjoyed the PT and WT events. Two great steps forward. I’m sure you guys will work it out. After all, who’s interests would it serve to not? No ones. And remember, Bang Chains!

  • Mike Fiske

    September 14, 2016 at 9:15 am

    I can certainly see both sides here. The PDGA has done an amazing job growing and supporting our sport, even with almost exponential growth. Prior to the DGT, the PDGA was the only entity that could discipline a player and I thinks it’s a stretch to request that only the DGT can now discipline a player if he acts up in an event, especially if he is a PDGA member. As stated, this issue between PDGA and DGT is much bigger than a suspension (and I personally think PDGA is handling this correctly and McBeth and Todd are on the wrong side of this. PDGA HAS communicated all they need to, especially if an appeal is forthcoming). It appears clear to me that PDGA needs to do a better job of communicating with DGT and together they can continue to grow disc golf.

  • John Payne

    September 14, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Steve, I’m curious; if the DGPT is no longer going to be sanctioning events with the PDGA, will the DGPT be publishing an in depth rule book for these events? Is the DGPT completely breaking away from the PDGA in the sense that the PDGA player and round ratings will have no future bearing on the power rankings?

    • September 14, 2016 at 11:23 pm

      Not at all. The PDGA is the governing body of our sport, they define the rules and they run the PDGA Majors (as well as scheduling 3000+ events each year). All Pro Tour events will follow PDGA rules. I thank and fully support the PDGA in their efforts towards all of these things.

      Regarding sanctioning, worst case scenario, this would be a decision that would be made by the individual TDs/events.

  • David moore

    September 14, 2016 at 10:06 am

    What has the PDGA ever done for us?
    Became the organization that started the sport.
    Ok, besides starting the sport what has the PDGA ever done for us?
    Created THE rule book.
    Ok, besides starting the sport and creating the rule book what have the PDGA ever done for us?
    Oversaw the growth of the sport since its inception to the massive growth we see today with 4000+ courses worldwide.
    Ok, besides that?
    Used their Marco Polo program to introduce the sport to new countries what have they ever done?
    Created the rating system.
    Ok, besides that?
    Introduced the sport to over 40 countries.
    Ok, besides that.
    I could go on but you get the picture…..

    • Vojtech

      September 14, 2016 at 11:30 am

      Bah…. PDGA would be nothing without enthusiastic people all around the world. Yes there is an organisation, which makes changes in rules now and then (yes, they created it somehow, rather put them in some form and shape). And NO, PDGA has not started the sport. You got this point completely wrong. Disc golf has been here before PDGA, which made it somehow official.
      Marco polo program? How many countries has this program affected? In EU for example? Count with me. Aloud. If you consider each state in US as a country I could agree with you with the last point, but hell no. It were again the people, who made it under PDGA name. What was the PDGA role in these events (judging from Czech Republic)? Except that rule book and rating? Is that really enough for you?
      Leaving aside you have not touched a single point from the article above. Just praising PDGA. Yes, they made quite a lot over 40 years. However I feel that there are people like Jussi and Steve (and several local people), who are doing much more for grow of the sport than PDGA itself. PDGA was great to make it somehow official sport, however I c annot see anything much coming from them to really grow the sport in last years. Sorry.

      • Genevieve

        February 5, 2017 at 9:43 pm

        I could watch Sced’ilhrns List and still be happy after reading this.

    • September 14, 2016 at 11:26 pm

      The PDGA is the governing body of our sport, they define the rules and they run the PDGA Majors (as well as scheduling 3000+ events each year). All Pro Tour events will follow PDGA rules. I thank and fully support the PDGA in their efforts towards all of these things.

      In my opinion, the PDGA needs to work better with the DGPT in regards to scheduling, communication and the discipline process for joint Pro Tour / PDGA events.

  • Ted Bigham

    September 14, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Great first step. Next you should host Minor League Disc Golf events to coincide with your Pro Tour events. There’s a ton of players who would like to compete for cash, but can’t hang in the PDGA open classes. Triple-A, Double-A, and Single-A classes would give lots of options for people tired of paying to play for discs and trophies, and wondering exactly what they’re getting for their yearly membership cost, and tournament buy-ins.

    • September 14, 2016 at 11:28 pm

      Our goal is to run a Pro Tour.

      • Ted Bigham

        October 7, 2016 at 1:50 pm

        Hi Steven. I’m imaging your Pro Tour could have more than one level. Forget a PGA for a minute and think of MLB or NHL. They have the regular triple-a pros that you see on TV, but also minor league pros (yes they still get paid).

  • Rob Bullen

    September 14, 2016 at 10:57 am

    History is just repeating itself. This is a story published on the PDGA Site earlier this year. Disc golf is better for the changes made by the protests in the early 80’s. Disc Golf will be better for these protests happening now. Pro Tour is the future.

    Story by Matt Gregoire #28647, Joe Feidt #362, and Jim Palmeri #23
    “Ed was a control freak. He liked being the man in control of the PDGA and resented attempts by players to control the direction of the organization. It’s important to remember that, until 1982, he was doing essentially everything by himself. Considering how active he was—running a start-up company, traveling the country promoting a new sport, selling discs and baskets, installing courses—it’s amazing he had any time at all to process memberships, write newsletters, and keep the PDGA going.

    By 1980, a growing number of players began to challenge Ed’s control of the PDGA. In 1981, a group of players started a new organization to be run by the players and invited Ed to be #001 of the new club. Ed declined the invitation, lashed out at the organizers in a flaming letter, and used his clout to extinguish the fledgling organization before it had time to grow. This particular incident alienated many people and his popularity suffered.

    The next year, Ed decided to hold the first Disc Golf World Championships in Los Angeles. It was there before the event started at a meeting of his regional reps that Ed decreed players could throw only Wham-O discs (the brand he was selling at the time). This was another unpopular decision, as players had been lobbying Ed to allow other discs such as Jan Sobel’s popular Super Puppy but he stood firm on his decision.

    It was here at this raucous meeting that the first seeds of the present day PDGA were sown. Ed asked if anyone wanted to put together a pro tour for the next year. Future Disc Golf Hall of Fame (DGHOF) member Ted Smethers #1159, then a little known pro from Little Rock, Arkansas, volunteered.

    Coincidentally, 1983 was also the year a new disc company called Champion Discs (now known as Innova) debuted with its new proto Aero, then called the Eagle. The Eagle, designed by another future DGHOF member Dave Dunipace #987, represented a quantum leap in technology and instantly became the hot new driver that everyone was throwing.

    Later that year in Hunstville, before the tournament started, Tournament Directors Tom Monroe #33 and Lavone Wolfe #580 didn’t ask Ed—they told Ed—that any legal-weight disc, including Eagles and Puppies, could be thrown. This was the first time the players prevailed in a contest of wills with Ed. It was this Huntsville controversy more than anything else that persuaded Ed to decide to slowly relinquish control of the PDGA to the players.”

    • Vojtech

      September 14, 2016 at 11:37 am

      Very well said.
      Just one hypothetical note here. How would the DG looked like today if Innova was not holding the patents for the discs so long, making it nearly impossible (or at least not affordable) for anybody else to make their own? I can clearly see an answer in Trilogy, MVP, my beloved Kastaplast and many more…
      This for the growth of the sport vs. “owning” the sport.

  • WF

    September 14, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Biggest problem/issue I have with this is the lack of acknowledgement from Steve and the DGPT regarding Bradley Williams discipline. Given that his latest actions occurred at a DGPT event, Steve/DGPT have an obligation to discipline Mr. Williams. Now being separate from the PDGA they dont have to take into account his past transgressions/aggressions, but they still need to address this latest issue. By Unsanctioning this event, it allows Bradley to play, BUT should he? I understand the outrage over the 18 month PDGA suspension, but why let him skate by with NO punishment? All this has done is give the Pro’s an out when it comes to bad behavior at PDGA events. They will act out, claim PDGA is out to get them, and then just move onto DGPT events with no repercussion. If you want the pro tour to have credibility it will need to address player discipline and apparently be transparent in all its disciplinary actions. With out addressing the Bradley Williams discipline, this actions appears to come across as “We wanted Bradley to play in the DGPT Final, and we are doing what we have to do to make it so”.

    • September 14, 2016 at 11:33 pm

      Bradley Williams’ suspension was a symptom of the larger disciplinary process cause. We have actually gone forward and suspended him yesterday (https://www.dgpt.com/news/bradley-williams-serve-pro-tour-suspension).

      The larger part of this decision was the scheduling and communication. The discipline issue is the proverbial straw breaking the back.

      • Doug

        September 20, 2016 at 11:43 am

        Cut the BS man. The discipline issue wasn’t the straw that breaking the back, it was an opportunity for you to further your own agenda. Which whatever its your time/effort/money/etc, but it does sour me as a viewer of your events.

        Bradley was already on Probation, the PDGA disciplinary process is fine and clearly stated. Bradley not being there didn’t effect your event at ALL. You’re just acting like baby cause they didn’t consult you first. Get over it.

  • WF

    September 14, 2016 at 11:41 am

    I have to add, while this is/was needed for some time, the timing of it seems to hint that the Bradley Williams issue was the final straw to break the camel’s back. This issue should be addressed and the DGPT’s disipline a of BW should be made public, since that is what they are requesting from the PDGA. The PDGA has an obligation to the players and each player disiplined has the right to appeal, and until that appeal has been heard and decided upon, NO infromation regarding his suspension SHOULD be made public. So, either DO what you are asking from the PDGA, suspend/disipline Bradley Williams and clearly state why and for what reasons, or stay out of the PDGA disciplinary actions.

  • James L

    September 14, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Ive long thought the pdga has had competing goals when they try and act as the rules governing body, amateur governing body and pro governing body. The circumstances of this attempt at a split are not ideal, but a split makes sense to me. #imwithsteve

  • Jim Sutherland

    September 14, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    I have been frisbee golfing (yes. . .frisbee golf) since 1976. I do not have a PDGA number and will never have one. It is the Professional Disc Golf Association, and I am one of the 98% referenced above as I will never be good enough to play “pro” and I’m totally okay with that. I always thought the PDGA to be a ponpous organization that collected fees, but did little to promote the sport. Yes, great at promoting the professionals in the sport, but how many courses have they installed with the money they collected from you? How many elementary, junior high, high schools, or colleges have they sponsored teaching courses, disc giveaways, basket donations, etc. to grow the sport? None in our local area. I have been an advocate for an Amatuer Disc Golf Association for years. A group that represents the 98%. Hahaha, in an election year, this discussion seems so appropriate. Anyway, the professional should have a group like the PGA to represent the professional. We should learn from the other sports that have a professional level. I like the idea of minor leagues for the less than the best, but pretty damn good disc golfers. And, can we please go back to calling this sport “Frisbee Golf?” People outside this sport have no idea what “disc golf” is, but say Frisbee Golf, and they know exactly what this is. There’s more, but I’m a rare disc golfer with a well paying job and have to get back to earning a living.

  • Cooper

    September 14, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    These are purely my opinions…

    From what I have read I agree the PDGA need a wake up call, to be more inclusive and to look into ways of growing the sport more effectively etc, however i do not think the demands on this post are constructive towards the sport. These actions could set the growth of the sport back. Look at other professional sports, many contraversial decisions have been made in all professional organisations, some very wrong however the stakeholders continue to work together to make things work.

    To make things change other methods should be used. McBeth and Todd boycotting PDGA events will have a destrcutive and detrimental impact.

    We are in a new era, culture has changed and we should not retreat back. You cannot force an organisation to do something they don’t want to do – middle ground must be met regardless of the timescale.

    Again, note that both sides of this coin need to look at this situation differently and learn. It’s a shame that these actions on both sides have taken place and other organisations within Disc Golf really need to take a good look at what is really happening now.

    This is a distraction from what people need to be doing within the sport of Disc Golf.

    • September 14, 2016 at 11:39 pm

      I have made requests of things that, in my opinion, need to be changed. I am open to having the discussion of with the PDGA. It would clearly be a negotiation and I welcome it.

  • Rich

    September 14, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    Having been a state coordinator for 10 years, I can tell you that the PDGA doesn’t work with anyone. Most of the people in charge their are in the good old boy pothead network. It’s been a long time coming to have a true pro tour. PDGA is ok as a rules and amateur organization. But I look forward to some real pro tour events. Good luck Steve! I know it’s a tough call, but believe me, sanctioning isn’t needed if the event is good.

  • Daryl

    September 14, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    I have seen more innovation and growth from the Pro Tour in 2016 than in the past 15 years from the PDGA. I have watched more live events (with quality commentary) this year than ever before. I’ve always know the pros are better putters than me, but now I can see exactly how much better through the statistics (C1%, C2%, etc).
    I write this feedback strictly from a disc golf fan and consumer (without any insight or commentary into the business side), but I applaud the DGPT for delivering a better product to the disc golf community. I hope Steve and team can continue to learn about what would be needed to expand the interest outside of the current community and continue to grow the sport.

    • September 14, 2016 at 11:40 pm

      We will keep pushing the growth. Thank you for the kind words.

  • Ben Singer

    September 14, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    I am happy that a group of people have stepped up to develop a system to grow the pro sport. IMO the PDGA isn’t and shouldn’t be focused on showcasing the professionals but instead growing and governing the sport. This is finally a step in the right direction to help showcase the pros and let the PDGA focus on governing the sport.

  • Albert Guerrero

    September 15, 2016 at 1:16 am

    The logo graphics you present is a stretch of the imagination. Is this how you want to approach such a serious subject? In its haste, your marketing department hit the wrong button? I cannot imagine the PGA would approve.

    • September 15, 2016 at 6:50 am

      Hi Albert, in retrospect, the picture is a bolder statement than the words that we utilize. I suppose we could fall back on the adage that you want to get people’s attention, but I see your point.

      In the article, we use the phrases:
      “The Pro Tour is laying the foundation to be disc golf’s PGA Tour in North America.” and “The Pro Tour’s goal is to become the PGA Tour of disc golf in North America.”

      which do accurately represent where we are now. The header image is representing our opinion of where the sport is headed.

      Thank you for reaching out. The more communication we have, the better.

  • Phil from Illinois

    September 15, 2016 at 7:19 am

    New web site looks great! Am looking forward to watching the championship this weekend. Best of luck going forward, and don’t let the PDGA turkeys get you down.

  • Patrick from HSV

    September 15, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Until significant improvements are made, I won’t be supporting the PDGA with my $$$ (renewing membership). What’s the best way for me to support the DGPT with my $50 instead?

  • Jeremiah Blackmon

    September 15, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    This is very well written Steven. I hate that your hand has been forced in this decision, but I agree that changes are needed! Hopefully this will be the fulcrum that moves the BoD in the right direction.

  • JZip

    September 16, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Steve, Brian Graham’s response to your statement punches many holes in your narrative. I know, as per usual, the truth probably lies somewhere in between. Are you willing to pen a response to the PDGA’s rebuttal? (https://discgolf.ultiworld.com/2016/09/15/pdga-executive-director-responds-dgpt-statement-calling-full-inaccuracies/)

    I appreciate what you are trying to do with the DGPT, but I’m not sure your tactics when dealing with the governing body are reasonable, particularly for a fledgling organization. On the flip side, I haven’t renewed my PDGA membership for quite a few years because I don’t feel they provide their typical member much value. I could see a great benefit in an organization such as yours concentrating on the Pro level events, freeing up time and resources for the PDGA to actually provide some value to their typical member.
    As an aside, regarding Bradley Williams, consider him the Rasheed Wallace or Ron Artest of DG. Those Ts and suspensions come much more quickly, and severly, when one has a track record.
    Just my .02

    • September 17, 2016 at 7:23 am

      Thanks for the good words. For the time being, I am going to hold my tongue regarding a public response. I will go ahead and say that he and I clearly agree on one thing: Regarding “working together on scheduling”, for the PDGA this means they schedule the NTs and Majors and then talk with the Pro Tour and (presumably) the DGWT. For us, this is business as usual. So I have hopes that we are actually in agreement on what is happening, now we simply need to determine if that is going to change.

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  • Matt

    September 21, 2016 at 7:08 am

    Steve, I think your ideas are great, but I think you are jumping ahead too far too fast and expecting too much.
    You are the new kid on the block, you have to work with the pdga who has put in the 30 plus years and built this juggernaut, splitting and dividing is where you lose me.
    If you had said what you said and then suggested “hopefully in the offseason you can voice your concerns for the changes you would like to see in the future.”

    Slowly find common ground is a better approach and anything that divides us is bad for the sport and counterproductive.
    I think you should not be expecting to be as involved as you hope to be so soon.

    You have to prove yourself your intentions etc.. and this is a great example of why the pdga didnt jump to your requests and make all these changes, how well are you going to work with them?, and I think you are showing your cards here that you will be a thorn to them if you can not get your way right off the bat, from the get go.

    I think like anyone else they wanted to see what you can do, what you will come through with, etc.. and if that goes well it would warrant a discussion, but you may have ended any notion of that with these statements and these threats, and un-sanctioning.
    I joined the pdga, I only play pdga events, I would love to take part in the pro tour but it would have to back off and take its place in line with every other tour that wants to make a name out there, I dont think your tactics are good for our sport and I dont like the way you have decided to go about it.
    Humble yourself, take your place and earn the respect you are demanding, bring in the numbers, the media, the fans, get the tour going full steam in accordance with the pdga’s schedule and spirit and soon enough you will have what you want.
    Most of all Steve, be patient, you have great ideas and your vision may very well be the future, but be patient, slow down, dont split the sport into pieces because you are not 100% satisfied, dont hurt our sport because you cant get what you want in season 1 thru 3.
    IMO.

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