Way out in the high and temperamental desert of Nevada, on patches of green in an otherwise barren and inhospitable environment, the Disc Golf Pro Tour finds itself with an oasis underfoot and the first Elite Series event of the season underway.
The annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas has come, but only for about 80% of what we’d consider the field at full strength. This will likely become a trend as the fiscally-stable superstars of the sport are no longer bound to the #vanlife and its excruciating frugality. Some tournaments simply won’t make the cut. The Las Vegas Challenge and anything in Emporia are perfect examples, as the course design and weather conditions at these tournaments add a heavy dose of chaos theory to the equation. And for many of our favorite players, this is a very literal equation.
When the biggest headline of the tournament is the weather, it’s not quite as enticing to the traveling, (and budgeting), pro disc golfer/professional Ramen imbiber.
But I digress, and Vegas is calling to us as it has to so many degenerates before.
This is 2023. The biggest year yet for disc golf, and an outright spectacle for Disc Golf, (capital D and capital G) – the product being conjured by the small-ish cabal atop the industry’s imbalanced landscape. More cameras and eyes and credit cards are being pointed at us than ever before, providing We The Consumer all the more to digest. We are headed toward a rich, dense media environment, not dissimilar to that lush, green, allegorical landscape from earlier. Just like some world class green acreage in Nevada, our figurative oasis is small and obscenely valuable. And, in the grand scheme of things, the folks carving it up are still new to this level of revenue and responsibility.
So here we are, sliding broadside into whatever disc golf and Disc Golf will manifest for us in 2023, and at a unprecedented clip. Dangerous speeds. Buckle up, kiddos. There’s no stopping until the leaves that haven’t even bloomed yet start dying off again.
THE PROPHECIES of 2023 ACCORDING TO FROLFER MAGAZINE:
Simon Lizotte will have a banner year:
Lizotte’s 2022 was a testament to smart golf, with the Sky God reeling in the theatrics and executing a much safer and stronger game plan throughout the season. All score-y, no glory.
Hearing Lizotte make note of his work to “not overthink” The Las Vegas Challenge should send shivers down the spines of the entire MPO field. It’s not unlike Travis Pastrana hanging up the dirt bike double backflips and no-parachute skydives for a career in NASCAR. Of course this guy can turn left fast. Just look at his resume.
And this is Las Vegas we’re talking about here: There’s not much “overthinking” to be had on these courses. Simon seems to be really drilling down into this new, conservative golf character, and I think he’s going to be on the podium a whole lot…new MVP discs and all.
Isaac Robinson lives up to the hype:
2022 Rookie of the Year Isaac Robinson seemed to be shifting into his next gear just as the 2022 tour came to a close. With no real off-season to speak of in the south, we reckon the Georgia boy is going to hit the ground running and never look back. Look for a signature win this year, and a whole lot of airtime on the highlight shows.
Tattar v. The World:
It is profoundly inadvisable to bet against Kristin Tattar in 2023. The 2022 World Champ exhibited nary a hiccup last season, with performances that had the former shoe-in for GOAT Paige Pierce doubting whether or not she still possessed a killer instinct.
It’s Tattar by a billion this year. Any time, any place.
FPO Breakouts and Shakeups:
While Tattar, Pierce, and Catrina Allen certainly remain the holy triumvirate occupying FPO’s upper echelon, (honorable mention to Sarah Hokom and Missy Gannon), the real action in the female field is going to come from one rung lower in 2o23. Look to see names like Kat Mertsch, Ella Hansen, Maria Oliva, and Eveliina Salonen bouncing around the top ten throughout most of the season, with a number of podium finishes between them.
Sarah Hokom’s game underwent some technique expansion last season, with flashes of genius highlighting a year of obvious, meticulous growth. This could very well be the year that Hokom plants her flag in the upper crust of the FPO field for good.
I have a hard time imagining that this season comes and goes without some major disturbance. The crowds. The attention. The buzz. It’s just too bright of a porch light for the lesser moths among us to ignore.
A streaker, maybe? Protesters? A good ol’ fashioned Sunday afternoon brawl between inebriated “8 Holes”? Maybe a disc golf gambling scandal?
This sport has been on a quiet road for a long time. We’re almost overdue for something wacky. Expect the unexpected.
FORTUNE TELLING THE TITLES:
2023 World Champs:
- Simon Lizotte
- Kristin Tattar
2023 USDGC Champ:
- Simon Lizotte
2023 Throw Pink Women’s Disc Golf Champ:
- Catrina Allen
2023 Champions Cup:
- Chris Dickerson
- Kristin Tattar