The PDGA EuroTour’s first three events have been canceled or postponed.
April 12, 2021 by Charlie Eisenhood in News with comments
Continued COVID-19 lockdowns across Europe have disrupted the early events of the PDGA EuroTour and left European players with few competitive opportunities to start the year.
Denmark’s Kokkedal Open, scheduled for April 30 to May 2, and Austria’s Petzen Open, scheduled for May 28-30, have both been canceled as events on the EuroTour1. Estonia’s Alutaguse Open has been postponed to July.
Restrictions vary from country to country across the continent, but some allow almost no international travel and others require a 10-14 day quarantine. The lockdowns, which have followed another wave of COVID-19 infections and slow vaccination progress, are making traveling to play disc golf difficult to impossible. Most professional players in Europe have yet to compete at a sanctioned event in 2021.
Currently, Croatia’s Pro Forester tournament on June 4-6 is set to be the first event on the EuroTour. The PDGA Europe is also working to add a second Croatian event at the end of May to fill in the Petzen Open dates. Croatia currently does not have nearly as strict a lockdown as many other European countries. And that could create an exciting opportunity for European players.
“We are exploring the possibility for top European players to be able to travel to USA directly from these events as Croatia is NOT a part of [the] Schengen area, and after spending 14 days there for two Euro Tour events, players would be good to fly to [the] USA even if current regulations are not lifted by June,” wrote EuroTour Manager Matěj Verl on the Tour website.
“They all miss competitive play,” Verl, speaking about European players, told Ultiworld Disc Golf. “I spoke to many players, and a lot of them want to travel to the USA to go to Pro Worlds, of course.”
The EuroTour is seeking to develop a professional tour for the other side of the Atlantic. As popular as disc golf has become in parts of Europe, particularly Finland, its tournaments are still often much smaller and feature thinner payouts than their American counterparts. The EuroTour recently embarked on a major rebranding project and is working to establish more media coverage to make the events more attractive to potential sponsors. Increasing payouts is next on the list.
“These European players will finally have the chance to show off their skills,” said Verl.
Around 15% of PDGA members2 hail from Europe. Verl sees that as a clear reason to work harder to promote the sport there. “It’s time to invest more, give back to Europe membership and sanctioning fees,” he said.
The Disc Golf Pro Tour is currently scheduled to co-host the PCS Sula Open with the EuroTour in early July in the lead up to the European Open, and Finland’s Prodigy Disc Pro Tour is set to begin in May but the first event — scheduled for Helsinki in May — may be postponed. The European Open — the continent’s Major — is also in doubt.