The title says it all, so if you’re not into disc golf, you can probably mosey along or look at older posts with adorable pictures of my kids.
Anyway, I’ve signed up for the Memorial, the first time I’ve ever played in this National Tour event. The actual layout of the tournament is both going to be a benefit and a detriment. 1) It’s open and probably windy. A few years ago, this would have been my bane, but that’s exactly what our Reno course is on a daily basis, so I’ve grown accustomed to it. The wind in particular could give me an advantage if it’s strong (and if I don’t have to make a crosswind up shot) because I’ve learned to play pretty consistently in heavy winds. However: 2) It’s long and at sea level. Half a year ago, length would have been something that didn’t bother me. I’m certainly no big-arm, but not a weenie either. However, in the last few months of playing, my distance inexplicably dropped off by about 50′ on my long drives. I’ve thought of a few possible reasons why, but debunked most of them. Cold? Well, a few of the tourneys were decently warm weather. My change in diet? I started that in June and didn’t start losing distance until September. Not practicing enough? I’ve NEVER practiced enough. Other stuff on my mind? Possibly, but I like to think I can shut that stuff out.
The tournament is doing something new this year (of which I am NOT a fan) – they are having a cut. So I am paying $200 for this tournament in entry fee alone and only guaranteeing myself 3 rounds of golf. That’s pretty lame, but what can you do? I’ll tell you what I can do, get in the top half. What would that take, you ask?
There are currently 84 pros signed up. So I have to come in at 42nd or better. How hard can that be? Turns out quite hard. If I go based on rating alone (I’m currently rated 963), I am sitting in T65 out of those 84. That’s bottom quarter, not top half. Now, my 963 rating is pretty low – it fell off drastically at the end of last year. So what happens if I use my strongest rating from last year (978)? That pulls my projected finish to a top 60%. Good, but still not good enough, and that’s the highest my rating has ever been. So is it a lost cause? Will I be driving home the Saturday of the tourney?
Not quite. After all, I don’t have to have a full YEAR of that rating, just one single tourney. Looking at last year’s statistics for the Memorial, the person at the cutline (my buddy John DeBizzle being the first one to miss this cut) averaged a rating of 987 per round. So fine, how many times have I ever averaged that for a tournament.
Once. In 2006.
Uh oh. However, in the last 14 months alone, I did come very close several times. I averaged 983 at a sea-level course I’d never played before, two rounds, 985 (3 round tourney) and 985.5 (at my home course, the open windy one, two rounds). One more good putt a round and all of those tournaments would be ‘qualifying’ ones. And in that 2006 tourney (which was my first ever pro cash), I averaged 990 in a 3-round tourney. So I certainly have it in me.
I’ve decided to break all this down now because as it gets closer to the tournament, I don’t want to be putting myself in that “I need this score” mindset – I want to just play my shots. But as it’s still 2 months away, I can do all the speculation I want. In short, I need to have the best single tournament of my life. Which means getting some of my distance back, keeping my good putting up (for the most part, putting was a plus for me this year), and getting the hell out of my head during the round. Also, getting good rest and not partying it up will be good tips.
But why stop at making the cut, why not go for the cashline? What would THAT take? Last year, 2 people with ratings lower than mine (3 if you use my 978 rating) cashed. That’s not great, but it’s certainly DOable. The average rating of last-cash? 996. Why, I’ve hit that score or better 15 times in my career (just never twice in the same tournament), and I’ve hit 990-995 an additional 9 times. Alls I’m saying is I have it in me if I can play my game and not let 100 things get in the way.
I’m sure I’ll have more of these analytical disc-golf stat type columns in the next months. After all, I’m a stat nerd.
So where do you all think I’ll end up? Will I make the cut? Think I’ll cash? Think I’ll DFL? Let’s get some hype going.