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2019 Tour Championship Primer: Course, Format, and Media Details

By Baker Helton
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​It’s been both a long and short journey to arrive at this year’s DGPT Championship. After a dynamic year of challenges and change, the Disc Golf Pro Tour is set up to bring the season strong with it’s first-ever Tour Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The event will take place on the legendary Hornet’s Nest course site of the 2012 combined Pro & Am World Championships and the 2018 Am World Championships. However, the layout that this elite group of professionals will be playing is going to be a new one.

THE COURSE
When selecting this site for the Tour Championship, one of the most significant benefits was the strength of the Charlotte Disc Golf Club. Lead by President Jim Banbury, event confirmation and preparation started very strong. It was clear from the get-go that the course needed some alteration from its 2018 layout for AM Worlds, and work began immediately to get the final design in shape to challenge the top pros in the world.

​The DGPT brought together a broad range of experts to finalize the layout. The base for all the alterations came from John Houck, HouckDesign. John flew in for a four-day visit, where he recommended a list of changes that the team could complete. Charlotte Disc Golf Club Operations Director Mark Huether took it from there, implementing many of John’s recommendations immediately.

The DGPT then brought in some touring pros for consultation. Charlotte native Jeremy Koling gave his time and insight to help ensure a set up that would provide appropriate challenge for the MPO field, with Steve Brinster, of Brinster Design, spending a day on the course giving insight as well. Madison Walker then came on board to consult on the FPO layout, which features four different tees and eight different baskets for the women.

Mark Huether also activated the volunteer power of the Charlotte Disc Golf Club, leading over five different workdays to clear new greens and fairways, install four brand new tees, and set thirteen new basket placements. Volunteer Coordinator, Dave George, was instrumental in this effort as well. All in all, the course remains the Hornets Nest that locals know and love but juiced up to challenge the best disc golfers in the sport.

While many of Houck’s changes were able to be implemented, there was limited time to install all recommendations. That said, there will be a chance to continue the development of the Gold Level Hornets Nest Layout with the Tour Championship returning to Charlotte for 2020. For now, it will be a thrill to watch the Tour Championship unfold on this well-loved track, with a new school layout!

EVENT FORMAT & FIELD
The Tour Championship is built to highlight the best in our sport, bringing together players who had top performances across a series of events during the regular season. The Championship features the top 32 men and top 16 women from 10 regular-season tour stops. Players drop their three worst performances to help create an equitable field for players who cannot make every event. The Championship is then flighted based on tour ranking with players moving through a qualifying, quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals round.

This year features three changes to the format. First, cards are determined simply by Tour Standing. Players 1-4 play together, 5-8 play together, and on down the line. The card selection change matches an advancing change, which is that in the semifinals round, players with the four best scores will advance. This change removes the need to win your card to advance. The final change comes in the removal of the wildcard player in the finals round. With the top four scores advancing, there is no longer a need to highlight a player who may have carded a hot round but not be able to move to the finals due to someone finishing even better on the round. Ties in the qualifying, quarters, and semifinals round are broken based on Tour Standing. A tie for first in the finals round will lead to a play-off.

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HOW TO WATCH
Each round of the Tour Championship is broadcast live on the Disc Golf Pro Tour YouTube channel, starting with the qualifying round for MPO. The 9 AM card featuring Philo Brathwaite, Nikko Locastro, Chris Dickerson, and Eric Oakley is the live card. The 8:40 AM round is post-produced by CCDG and features Brian Earhart, Andrew Marwede, Colten Montgomery, and Grady Shue. On the FPO side, the 10 AM card is broadcast live, meaning there will be MPO and FPO coverage coming at you in the same stream on day one. The 10 AM card features Jessica Weese, Lisa Fajkus, Paige Bjerkaas, and Hailey King.

The afternoon will feature the quarterfinals round for MPO and will include a new stream for the 3 PM live card of Joel Freeman, Austin Hannum, Reid Frescura, and Drew Gibson. Jomez Pro will be providing post-produced coverage of the 2:40 PM card, which features Andrew Presnell, Nate Perkins, Jeremy Koling, and Nathan Queen.

On Saturday, the MPO and FPO divisions will have the semifinals rounds. The 10 AM round will be broadcast live and post-produced. It will include Paige Pierce, Catrina Allen, Sarah Hokom, and Rebecca Cox. Central Coast will be covering the 2:40 PM card, which will consist of Calvin Heimburg, Adam Hammes, Alex Russell, and Chris Clemons. Jomez Pro will cover the 3 PM card and include Simon Lizotte, Kevin Jones, Garrett Gurthie, and James Conrad. The live coverage is designated to start with the 3 PM card, but there are plans to send cameras to the cards where players are playing well.

Sunday will bring the final round of each division with the FPO round starting at 10 AM being broadcast live and post-produced by Central Coast. The MPO round will be broadcast live at 3 PM and post-produced by Jomez Pro.

It is going to be an exciting weekend in Charlotte, NC. Make plans now, so you do not miss out on the action! We have spectator packages available for purchase in the DGPT Store if you are planning on watching the event in person. If you are planning on watching online make sure you are subscribed to the DGPT YouTube Channel , Jomez Pro , Central Coast Disc Golf , and Gatekeeper Media to be notified when videos are posted.

​**All times are Eastern