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This time last year I played in the USDGC for the first and only time. I
didn't know it at the time, but I played with a torn rotator cuff. I
did know it hurt like heck, though. After the first practice round, in
which I managed a +1 and figured 'this isn't so bad as long as you play
clean golf and hit all your putts', my arm was as useless as those
little front appendages of a Tyrannosaurus Rex's. But I did my best,
which was equal to most everyone else's worse. Still, it was one thing I
could cross off my Bucket List. Watching this year from the comfort of
my computer via the live webcast, a few observations come to mind:
  • Will Schusterick and Nikko Locastro are way clear of the field, battling for first. This continues and perhaps accelerates the youth trend in professional disc golf started when Nate Doss captured first at
    the Worlds in 2006 at age 19 then proved it wasn't a fluke with another
    Worlds title and a USDGC title a couple years after that. Some may
    conclude that players in their teens or early 20's have the advantage of
    fresher arms and quicker recovery from fatigue, and that's part of it,
    I'm sure. But I know first-hand that Nate also benefited immensely from
    growing up with the sport, surrounded by numerous talented players in
    Santa Cruz. As the number of courses and events grow, players that start
    in childhood are seasoned by the time they are in high school. The
    trend mirrors that in nearly all other sports. The one possible
    exception, ironically, is ball golf, although younger players are
    breaking through there more than in the past as well.
  • If you watched the live webcast on discgolfplanet.tv, you surely noticed the counter that showed how many viewers were watching at any given time. It seemed to range from a low of 800 or so to a high of
    1500. Right now, as I write, Nikko and Will are locked in a close battle
    for first in the final round, and the counter is at 1,187. To me this
    clearly illustrates that disc golf is still far, far away from
    attracting the major sponsors that the sport's top promoters hope will
    result in much bigger prize money and live TV coverage. As I pointed out last year,
    those who think we're close to this kind of breakthrough are ignorant
    to the development of just about all other sports. Think of it this way:
    How many people that watch golf on TV have never swung a club? Not
    many. Golf only became worthy of broadcasting on TV when golf industry
    advertisers knew that the millions of players and devotees to the sport
    (who buy golf stuff) would be watching. 1,187 people are still
    exponentially less than what is required, so the focus should be on
    introducing more people to the sport.
  • Last year, to watch the live webcast, a fan had to pay a fee. This year, it's free (although donations are encouraged). I'm sure the logic was that increasing the viewership is the most important goal, and they
    wanted remove the cost barrier. Did it work? Doesn't look like it. Numbers are the same, or maybe a bit lower.
  • After having played the course a handful of times last year, I'm really enjoying the webcast this year because I recognize every scene captured on the screen. If you ever get the chance to play the course in
    the 'Winthrop Gold' setup, do it. The video coverage will mean so much
    more if you're able to put it in the context of having played it.
If you're interested in reading my posts from the event last year, click here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Thanks!

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Comment by mr ed on October 12, 2010 at 5:01pm
enjoyed all

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