Sunday, August 10, 2008

Disc Golf's Marathon; The Worlds

Every tournament is pretty much the same. You show up play 2 - 4 round of golf and go home. This process goes on and on every weekend. Yet, we decide our world champion in a marathon type of tournament. The crazy part of worlds is it really is a totally different style of golf and really takes a totally different mindset than your typical weekend B Tier, or keeping with the running analogy, a 100 M dash.

Whenever I think about worlds' strategy, I always think back to my first worlds in 04 in Iowa. It would be my only time at the worlds in an amateur division due to the success I had in the advanced division during that tournament and over the next few months after it.

My tournament started at Big Creek, a course where in the advanced division, a score of 54 would be a great round and anything in the 50's would keep you in it. I remember starting on hole 12 and I was playing just great. It seemed every short hole I was parking, I was avoiding trouble on the hard ones and when I threw a bad drive on a birdie hole, I hit a big putt.

Perhaps the hole that proved I was playing well was the 4th, a very tough, tight and demanding par 4. I actually hit the basket on my second shot and at that point the spotter told me I was only the 3rd 3 on the hole for the round. When you are hitting the basket for 2 and there are only two 3s on the hole before that, you kinda know are playing well.

Heading to 9, I was only +3 (off 54, I don't remember what the real par was, but in the 60s I think) and had just three holes left. Hole 9 could have been the easiest hole we played during the entire world championships. Hole 10 was a birdie chance, but more than likely, an easy 3. I would at least surrender one stroke on 11, probably 2, as it would be the toughest hole we would play all week. A chance at a 57 seemed very realistic if I could finish 235. I went 556 to shoot 64. 56 was the best round.

2 rounds later I found myself on the bottom of the 9th the SECOND pool. Never in my life have I ever felt three holes cost me so much.

What is the point of this story? Simple, the worlds are a marathon, not a sprint; I had only played 3 of the 8 rounds. 5 rounds later a poor round would drop me to 26th where I would finish the tournament. Yes I said DROP. In your typical B Tier, I would have been in a lot of trouble after those three rounds. However, in the worlds, I still had a chance to do some damage.

I think too many people get way too caught up in what place they are in during the worlds, especially in the larger divisions. Typically, just 5 strokes is around 20 - 40 places. You can easily make that up over the course of 3 - 5 rounds.

You really have to keep your head up and keep playing your best at worlds. It is so easy to make a huge jump in either direction because the field size is so huge. Most people are in the mindset of a hot round moving them up a card or two because that is the way it is in that 100 M Dash style tournament. However, at the worlds, the marathon, you can move up possibly 10 groups with that hot round.

I wish all good luck that are competing for a world title in Michigan. Just remember all you sprinters out there, those who run at a steady pace, always will beat you in the end.

No comments: