When Peoria, Illinois, rolls out the red carpet for the PDGA Professional Disc Golf World Championship in August, tournament staff might want to consider another shade for its welcome mat.
Maybe something more like green.
The tournament, which begins on August 13, will feature a projected $60,000 in added cash with a full field, Tournament Director Nate Heinold confirmed this week. The first wave of registration for the event begins Friday, April 19 at 12:01 a.m. ET.
“One of the things I wanted to do when I took on the task of running Pro Worlds was to make sure that our players could compete for a purse commensurate with the title of PDGA World Champion,” Heinold said. “The PDGA has supported my efforts to increase the purse, and we are excited at the prospect of offering our players the chance at one of the richest payouts of all time.”
The top 45% of both the Open and Open Women’s field will cash, an increase from the 40% seen in prior years.
Big money for the players isn’t the only big news for one of the PDGA’s flagship events. Heinold — who also runs the Ledgestone Insurance Open — has set a goal of having Peoria’s tournaments raise $40,000 in donations for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, and they’re already 75 percent of the way there. Heinold has also opened the door for other tournament directors to contact him if they want to align their events with the fundraising efforts.
“Over the last five years we have been fortunate to raise over $100,000 for St. Jude through the Ledgestone event,” Heinold said. “St. Jude is leading the way the world fights childhood cancer. Patients and their families never owe any money for services provided by St. Jude. We are fortunate to have a large St. Jude hospital right here in Peoria, and that makes our investment in it even more meaningful.”
Each division at the tournament will tackle two courses: The Open field will take on the harrowing Lake Eureka for three rounds, while the Open Women’s groups will play three days at Sunset Hills. Both fields will spend their remaining rounds at Northwood Park, which has received a significant facelift in preparation for the event: Tournament staff has added more than 2,000 feet of distance to the course for the Open Women’s track, which will play on a mix of blue and gold tees. Distance control will be the name of the game, lending the event the complementary feel of tight lines and open shots that were a hallmark of 2018’s Pro Worlds in Vermont.
“The changes to Northwood came about as a direct result of winning the bid to host this event,” Heinold said. “This layout will solidify Northwood as one of the most challenging courses on tour. It will offer a fair test and will offer a much different challenge than Lake Eureka and Sunset.”
Indeed, the course has already received the seal of approval from Illinois pro Dana Vicich:
Online retailer Infinite Discs has signed on as the tournament’s presenting sponsor, while Discraft, Prodigy, and DGA have committed to course sponsorship. For more information, including a draft schedule and preferred sites for lodging, visit the Pro Worlds website.