A fourth major would align disc golf with other top individual sports.
June 10, 2020 by Charlie Eisenhood in News with comments
Momentum for an annual fourth professional Major has been growing inside the PDGA and we could see it on the calendar as soon as 2022.
In January, the PDGA’s Majors and National Tour Committee held a summit that included significant work on a plan for a fourth pro Major to join the World Championships, USDGC & USWDGC, and European Open.
The summit followed a unanimous Board of Directors vote in the 2018 PDGA Fall Summit to “establish a 4th PDGA MPO/FPO Major, potentially titled the PDGA Championship.” The board asked the Majors Committee to develop an action plan for the event for consideration. Discussions were sidelined in favor of other priorities throughout 2019, but the Committee tackled the issue following the 2019 Fall Summit.
“The Majors Committee met in Peoria in January and had a great plan for this event, and I had committee approval,” said Nate Heinold, the head of the Majors Committee and a PDGA board member. “And then COVID happened.”
The coronavirus pandemic delayed the presentation of the plan at the PDGA’s Spring Summit and likely derailed any chance of a fourth Major getting onto the calendar for next year.
Heinold, who is up for reelection for the PDGA Board next month, has advocated for a fourth professional Major since joining the Board in 2017. Other individual professional sports, including golf and tennis, feature an established four major system. There has been increasing support from players and media to align with those sports by adding a fourth major to the calendar.
“It would give another opportunity for the pros to have that big Major spotlight, which has a higher level of prestige,” said PDGA Media Manager Steve Hill, who also sits on the Majors Committee. “But you can’t just manufacture prestige. So if we’re going to move forward, we have to do it right and do it in a way that’s going to be meaningful.”
Historically, disc golf has had varying numbers of professional majors in a given year, though since 2016 it has featured three events: a World Championship, US Championship, and European major (European Open, Konopiste Open, European Masters). One challenge of the current schedule is that it often places all three events in the second half of the season, with no Majors up for grabs between February and June.
Although the new fourth Major was tentatively called the PDGA Championship, that name is unlikely to stick, though neither Heinold nor Hill would share the current names floated for consideration.
“We do want to differentiate it [from the other Majors],” said Hill. “So that’s what some of the discussion we still need to have will be.”
Details about the location and timing of the event are still under consideration.