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I'm not sure if I should feel bad for this person or be congratulatory toward him, but the hero of this story just won 1st place in AM1 in our annual b-teir tourney, by 8 stokes(with 2nd place shooting his #1+#2 P.B.'s in two of four rounds).
If he would have entered open, he would have placed 4th=$250 + a guaranteed spot in a 5 hole safari skins match @ $100/hole.
Is this a good example of how "sand-bagging" sometimes doesn't pay off in the long run? or Should we think that we all have the potential, as am's, to beat a field of pros on any given day?
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"Is this a good example of how "sand-bagging" sometimes doesn't pay off in the long run?"
Given that first place in advanced was won by an Intermediate, second place was a Recreational, and there were only two Advanced players in the 24-player advanced division, no. Absolutely not. This is a classic case of the rec players all playing in the Advanced division in a backwater disc golf community having no idea how "not Advanced" they are.
If you only want to play in Utah, sure, go pro with a 930 rating when you are on the verge of 950 with the next update. Then when life transfers you to somewhere where Recs and Intermediates are not filling the bottom of the Open division, good luck competing in Open.
Looking at his stats, it looks like he is rapidly improving and on the verge of becoming a good amateur. But with ratings ranging from 900 to 1000 this year, he is not sandbagging in Advanced. He is defining Advanced.
The fact that there are only 9 advanced rated amateurs in his state does not make him a pro for becoming the 10th next month. It just makes Utah a lonely place to play disc golf.
Sandbagging is a persistent myth. I've heard it spouted for as long as I can remember, and everytime I look into a case, the evidence isn't there.
Either that, or someone's using a whole different definition of sandbagging. Properly speaking, it's someone manipulating their entry (rating, being an unrated non-PDGA member, etc.) to play in a division below their skill level. It may happen somewhere, but I haven't seen it. If a player's playing in his correct division, that can't be sandbagging---even if he shoots way above his norm for that tournament. Nor do other players choosing to play above their skill level make him a bagger.
All of which is different from "bagger" chiding, an ongoing joke in disc golf. When I got my first win---in my 46th tournament---of course I heard cries of "bagger" in the audience. All in good fun.
"You only get better and excel if you surround yourself with better & excellent players and play them!"
How's anyone who stays in the same division ever get good enough to be called "bagger", if you only improve by moving up?
In a sport where no one plays defense, the value of moving up to improve your game is overrated. I'm sure it works to some degree....but over the years I've seen players stay in a division while improving remarkably. I've also seen players move up to Open, only to plateau at a certain skill level from which they no longer improved. I suspect a lot of other factors matter a lot more than who you compete against in tournaments.