The highest-rated player in Europe will be on tour in the US this year.
February 22, 2022 by Bogi Bjarnason, Jesse Weisz and Steve Andrews in Interview with comments
This is the the third of our Q&A interviews in our European Re-Open series that highlights European disc golfers as international travel reopens in 2022.
Outside the sizzling hotbed of disc golf talent that is Finland, where every single citizen is within three degrees of separation from a four-digit frisbee flinger, you have European countries where the sport is definitely big, yet a single MPO player absolutely dominates.
KJ Nybo and Simon Lizotte were early pioneers of this concept in Denmark and Germany, respectively. In Estonia, Albert Tamm outpaces the competition by a decent margin, and in Iceland, Blær Örn Ásgeirsson took the concept all the way to the moon on the July ratings update last year when he opened up a 67 point gap on his closest rival.
In Sweden, however, that guy is Linus Carlsson, and not only does he treat the kingdom of Sweden like a mere doormat at the gates of the international tournament scene, at 1035, he’s also the highest rated player in Europe. He’s set to play the majority of the US tour, with Las Vegas Challenge, The Memorial, WACO, Texas States, Open at Belton, Music City Open, Jonesboro Open, Dynamic Discs Open, Masters Cup, OTB Open, Portland Open, and the Beaver State Fling already on his calendar.
Read on to find out how the Peter Forsberg of disc golf is about to turn the DGPT into a no-holds-barred version of the NHL.
The interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Ultiworld Disc Golf: If you have toured the US before, are there any lessons that you learned that will help prepare you for this year?
Linus Carlsson: I was on tour for about a month in 2019. I would say: don’t put too much pressure on myself and have fun.
How is it different than playing in Europe?
Almost everything is different. The biggest difference is the level of the players. In Europe, there are a few players at every tournament that are 1000+ rated, but in the US on the tour, almost everyone is. The courses are different too — it’s usually warmer and for me the feeling is also different.
Which event are you most excited about?
I would say DeLaveaga [Masters Cup] because of the nostalgia, and I feel like that’s my type of course.
Who are you touring with?
I’ll be touring with Discmania sponsored player Max Regitnig. He’s a chill guy who I think I’ll get along with well, and he can be my translator if needed. My friend Alexander Eketrapp is also tagging along until DDO.
How will you get around and what will your accommodation be like?
Our plan is to buy a RV and tour with that.
How are you funding this tour?
My sponsor Latitude 64° will support me a lot.
What would you need to accomplish on this tour for you to consider it a success?
I would say play consistent and stay in the top. But my main goal is to win at least one big tournament and qualify to USDGC and the DGPT Championship.
What has been the most difficult aspect of preparing for this tour?
Starting my own company and all the planning that goes into touring. I’ve got my Mom to thank for all the help because I suck at it.
Of the three tours this year (DGPT, European Pro Tour, PDGA Euro Tour), which are you most focused on?
Outside of disc golf, are there places or sights in the US you plan on visiting?
Might be some cool places but nothing I’ve got in mind. What I will do, though, is get a gym membership to be able to stay in shape and be healthy.
Congratulations on your new manufacturer sponsorship deal. It does seem fitting that Sweden’s premier player be sponsored by Sweden’s leading brand, especially when the contract seems to support a full touring schedule. Can you tellus about the timeline leading up to this switch and how your new sponsorship agreement allows you to tour full time in the coming season and beyond?
Thank you. One of Latitude’s employees, and also a great disc golfer, Johannes Högberg came up to me at the Swedish Championships and asked if I might be interested in joining. I said that’s not impossible — send me a deal and I’ll look at it. That’s how it started, and I’m very happy he asked because it feels so right and I’ve been welcomed very well by them. The fans seem to love it as well.
The last couple years, especially 2020, have been pretty quiet for you on the tournament front, yet your rating has gone up an impressive 21 points since autumn 2019 and your performance at Nationals and the European Championships were truly inspiring. What are some of the challenges you faced as a professional disc golfer during COVID in Sweden? Did they help or hurt your development as a young player at a critical juncture in your career?
Yeah, so I think I was actually planning on playing the first couple of tournaments in the US but COVID came and said no. I was a bit sad, but at the same time, I had fun spending a lot of time at home, and when the restrictions allowed me, I was hanging out with some friends and playing disc golf. It was just a long off-season for me, but I did play the Swedish Championships both individually and doubles. I finished first place in both tournaments, so I guess the long off-season paid off.