It is Monday, 11 a.m. CET.
My bags are packed again, since I will leave my hometown Bremen in two hours, in order to return to the U.S. for the second half of my 2017 season, still a good time to write a few lines. It was a wonderful time back in Europe, personally as well as professionally, but now I am really excited to go back to the tour and continue the year strongly.
An unbelievable comeback
And what a year this has been so far – just unbelievable! I still recall, how I left Bremen in February returning from my long injury with excitement, high hopes, but also some uncertainty. Would my knee hold? How would I be able to compete against the best players in the world after such a long break? – Well, it is fair to say that this has been the best season of my career so far, especially in terms of consistency: In one streak I had seven Top 3 results in a row. Was it surprising to me? Yes. Was there a special recipe? Maybe… – In my view, once you have developed the technical skills to compete professionally, the difference between winning and losing is in mindset and self-confidence.
All of the professional players on the tour can play the game. It just depends, if they can bring their best performance when it matters most. I started the season with relatively low expectations and was positively surprised with my fitness, putts and results in the first few tournaments. My self-confidence grew, my game got even stronger and a positive spiral developed. I still did not put any pressure on myself, was able to focus on each individual throw – always one at a time, and have been rewarded with very consistent results: finishing Top 3 in several tournaments and even coming in third at the world championships in Georgia, which I already wrote about.
First time ever in Estonia
But for me it is not only about results. I enjoy being on the tour, meeting old friends, making new ones and gaining new experiences. For example, I really enjoyed my first-ever visit to Estonia. While I did not play my best disc golf of the year, finishing only fifth in the tournament, I had a great time and really made the most of the 10 days I had the privilege to spend in the country. Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, is one of the nicest cities that I ever visited in Europe. The fans were great, we had lovely weather. It was just a wonderful experience and a great preparation for one of the most exciting tournaments each year: the European Open in Finland.
In disc golf heaven in Finland
It was the 3rd Major of the year on one of the most difficult courses in the world, called “the beast”. All the top players were participating and I was really happy with my performance. I played much better than the week before in Estonia and even had good chances of winning the whole thing. And this on a course, which contains a lot of OB-zones and is rather something for technical, precision-type of players and not a course, where my strengths play out too well. Still, my putts were strong, I had good self-confidence and was really proud to finish third.
In previous posts I already mentioned several times that Finland is disc golf heaven. More than 600 wonderful courses, enthusiastic and friendly fans, lots of great players – and just a lot of interest in our sport! Therefore, I did not have to think twice when I got the opportunity to tour Finland in early August, visiting 7 cities in 10 days for a doubles challenge. These were open tournaments, where players could sign-in via the internet and come out to play. We had double teams with players of each age group and performance level, from kids to highly-experienced semi-professional players, and we played on “best shot rules”. In each of the seven events, we reached or came very close to the limit of 108 participants and usually had lots of spectators as well – amazing for a pure fun event. I was usually paired with a “local hero” from the host town and it was a lot of fun to be out there and meet all those nice people in Finland – although my hands were often a bit sore from writing all these autographs... :)
Great memories and energy for the months to come
Talking about heroes: Particular fun was the round I played with Jussi, my boss from Discmania, who was a professional player, but then shifted his focus to the business side and developing Disc Golf further. But in some way Disc Golf is like cycling: If you ever had the skills, you keep them, and Jussi and I really “destroyed” the competition that day.
You see that the summer in Europe was great and I feel well prepared to return to the tour for the remainder of the season in the U.S. My first tournament is Pittsburgh, but I will take some time on the plane to write my next post, which will go into more detail on my tour plan.
Right now, the taxi is literally waiting for me in front of the house – therefore, take care and see you soon at one of the tournaments.
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