The tour plan for my comeback year
Zur deutschen Version
A wonderful Christmas season is behind me, all cookies are gone and 2017 has started. For me, this will be a very special year, my comeback year, after the longest absence from Disc Golf in my entire life (besides this spectacular and emotional backhand-drive recently
About 4 weeks ago, I had still planned to start the new season at the Australian Open, which (as one of only four PDGA Major Events) is of course a really important tournament. The Open in Perth was held for the first time in 2016 and it was a great start to the year for me: for the first three rounds I was head-to-head with Paul McBeth and ended up finishing second. To this day, it is my biggest success in a major and definitely a tournament, which I would have loved to return to - especially since the Aussie Open are played on a former golf course with usually fantastic weather, so that there are simply super conditions to play well and have fun.
However, I noticed that my body was not yet at 100%, which is necessary to successfully compete in a Major. As the travel from Europe to Perth is pretty demanding and expensive, I finally decided to delay my return to the tour slightly and work some more on my fitness and strength. Still, next year I will definitely be back in Australia!
Now back to 2017. Some strain is there, if my body is really back at full strength and whether I can get close to the successes from last season. But my nervousness vanishes immediately and is replaced by positive excitement, as soon as I have a look at my tour schedule for 2017. Just have a look at it - wouldn't you be excited as well?
Feb 23-26 Gentlemen's Club Challenge (Las Vegas, NV)
It all starts off now in Vegas - one of my favorite cities in the US. It's so crazy there, always something going on and honestly, I also like to gamble a few dollars at the roulette table. With the course, I had some problems in 2016, so I am now particularly motivated to make it better. I would like to prove to myself that I can play this challenging course much better. Will definitely be a great week and somehow it feels like the right place for my comeback!
Mar 1-4 Memorial (Scottsdale, AZ)
The Memorial in Scottsdale has been one of the most prestigious tournaments on the tour for years, which every big star wants to win - a classic somehow! In the past two years, I have always played very well there, getting third place both times. If I could achieve such a result again, it would be unbelievable for me - in any case, I am already looking forward to the Memorial.
Mar 17-19 Waco Charity Open (Waco, TX) and Mar 31- Apr 2 Nick Hyde Memorial (Dallas, TX)
Afterwards, it's off to Texas, a state with great disc golf enthusiasm and many active players. In Waco, I have not yet competed and I am very curious how it will be. Right afterwards, I go to Dallas to play the Nick Hyde Memorial, which I was able to win last year in a sudden death play-off against Paul McBeth and Nate Sexton. It was my first big win in 2016, an absolute career highlight, and of course I have very special memories, so I am very happy to come back.
Apr 14-16 Jonesboro Open (Jonesboro, AR)
The Jonesboro Open is part of the pro tour, where I would like to play more tournaments in 2017. I am very excited, as it will be my first time to play in Arkansas and the tournament fits very well into my tour schedule as a stop between Texas and Kansas.
Apr 27-29 Glass Blown Open (Emporia, KA)
Emporia is a very special tournament every year, which you should not miss. Located in the middle of the USA in a rural area, Emporia is a fairly small place. But during the tournament it is the capital of Disc Golf. Last year over 1000 players were on site, which is a giant boom for the shops, restaurants and bars there. An incredible enthusiasm and disc golfers wherever you look. The Glass Blown Open will always have a special place in my heart because it was the first big tournament I could win in the States, back in 2014 it was – already long ago, but still great to remember!
May 12-14 Konopiste Open (Czech Republic)
Then it goes back to Europe and also in Konopiste special memories will arise. In 2016, it was my first win on the World Tour, again after a 3-player tie, this time against Karl Johan Nybo and Paul McBeth. I had already described in a separate article on Dreampions, how emotional the victory was for me, as I was with my father who helped as my caddy. In addition, I find the Czech Republic very cool and the course in the castle park is one of the most beautiful ones globally.
Masters Cup (Santa Cruz, CA), (Salt Lake City, UT) and Beaver State Fling (Portland, OR)
When I look at my plan at this moment, I notice that Santa Cruz is quite a distance from Prague and there are only a few days between the tournaments. It would be great, if I get back to my old form so quickly that I can compete easily in California, Utah and Oregon, because these are great tournaments in particularly beautiful places of the USA. But I have to see how my body is doing, and if I need a break, I'll take it.
Jun 20-24 World Championships (Augusta, GA)
Because in Augusta, I definitely want to play. It is the city of the PDGA headquarters and they have built several sensational courses there. If you are thrilled by Disc Golf, you should definitely reserve time for Augusta on your bucket list and play the courses there once. A must in our sport - there is simply fun guaranteed. The lanes are somewhat shorter and you have to navigate through the forest more often, which is not my game, because I benefit when I can throw long distances. But whoever wants to be a world champion must be able to play well everywhere. It will be my third World Cup and I will do my best.
Jul 20-23 European Open (Nokia, Finland)
And then it's time again to earn some more frequent-traveller-miles, because after the World Cup, it's back to Europe. First I will use the comparatively long break and spend time at home in Bremen, before going to Finland. The European Open was the last tournament I could play in 2016 before my injury - I was third on "The Beast", as the course is not wrongly called. In Finland, there is a huge enthusiasm for Disc Golf and the Open regularly see thousands of spectators, which makes it really fun to play.
Aug 3-6 Ledgestone Open (Peoria, IL)
And back to the U.S.: Ledgestone is one of the tournaments with the highest prize money on the tour, in most years even the leading event. The organizers really show what is possible in our sport. In 2015, Ledgestone was my first victory on the National Tour, which is considered among players as an introduction into the small group of elite professionals. I am only the second European with a national tour victory and it came in Peoria, so also a special tournament for me personally.
The Idlewild Open (Burlington, KY) and the Pittsburgh Flying Disc Open (Pittsburgh, PA) I have planned for August. Because of my injury, I was not able to compete there yet, so I cannot say much about these tournaments - I'm curious!
Aug 31-3 Vibram Open (Leicester, MA)
The Vibram Open are a classic on the tour. A lot of players have already told me that on the challenging course with the great atmosphere in Leicester you can have a lot of fun - and I've never been there before. The tournament has long been on my list and this time it will work out.
Sep 14-17 Green Mountain Championships (Jeffersonville, VT)
Green Mountain is a relatively new tournament, but it has a great appeal. The two courses on the ground are completely different, so all skills are required. Always great atmosphere, so it is really another highlight, before the final.
Oct 4-7 USDGC (Rock Hill, SC)
At the end of the season, we go to South Carolina for the World Tour finals. Apart from the World Cup it is the biggest tournament and it was very sad for me that I could not compete in 2016. I hate and love the course at the same time. Mentally, it is by far the most demanding course, since the fairways are very close to play and the OB lines around the baskets are very close. On this course, really everything can happen. It may become the most difficult round of the year - or the best one, when it's going well.
And that's exactly what I wish for 2017: health, fitness and then the opportunity to play tournaments again, be successful and meet many of you at one or the other tournament.
Thank you again for your great support last year, I wish you all a great 2017 and see you soon - personally or here on Dreampions.de