From the desk of Owl P. Jackson, Esq.
July 27, 2022 by Owl P. Jackson, Esq. in Opinion with comments
From the desk of Owl P. Jackson, esq.:
Gather ‘round, my friends. Don’t worry about those who might ask you to “step away from me.” Line the fairways to witness [a recap of] one of the most entertaining majors in the history of disc golf. That’s right…these are the top 10 storylines of the 2022 European Open.
1. McBeth vs. McMahon
“Charming, isn’t it?”
Paul and Eagle were on another level this past weekend. It was a two-horse race. They separated themselves from the pack. Pick your favorite sports cliché—the “McBattle” will go down as legend in disc golf. Paul and Eagle played some of the highest-level disc golf we have ever seen. It was fascinating to watch. By the halfway point of the second round, no one else really mattered. You knew it would come down to these two players—the G.O.A.T. and the most talented player on earth—and that last stretch of four holes on day 4. Paul and Eagle were tied after 70 holes, until an errant tee shot on 17 ended McBeth’s hope of winning the tournament for the 6th straight time. Eagle ended up winning by one stroke. More impressive…Eagle ended up beating 3rd place by 17 strokes.
2. The return of Eagle
“Those bells haven’t rung in years.”
Eagle McMahon arguably has the greatest power sidearm of any player ever. So, when he injures his elbow—and subsequently throws out his shoulder the first time he attempted to return—you wondered if he would ever be able to play elite-level disc golf again. Shame on us! We seemed to have forgotten that Eagle has one of the best backhands in the game and is consistently one of the best putters on tour. Eagle threw ZERO sidearms through four rounds. He threw four left-handed shots. But it didn’t seem to matter. Eagle threw a course record 12-under in the first round and shot the hot round three of the four days. He won’t be returning until Worlds. I can’t wait.
3. Paige becomes the all-time leader in FPO Majors
“This junk’s been around for a very long time.”
Paige Pierce did it again. Her third European Open title was her 17th major title. That gives her the most all time, moving past Valarie Jenkins. The best part? She is not even close to stopping. Sure, the FPO field has gotten much more competitive over the past two years, but you know that Paige is still good for a major or two every single year. It is almost certain that we will never see anyone as dominant as Paige ever again in disc golf.
4. Nikko Locastro gets disqualified
“I realize that, honey. I’m also on the wrong side of the car.”
In one of the most bizarre scenes in live disc golf history, Nikko goes full Nikko. Now you know why no one ever calls out Nikko for a time violation, even though Nikko’s slow play has become the stuff of meme legend. It is absolutely amazing that this was captured on camera…and with great sound quality. Nikko stepped towards the rules official, told the rules official to “step away from [him],” and found himself trending on Twitter. I can only remember one other time that disc golf trended on Twitter, and that was for Conrad’s holy shot. Unfortunately, not all press is good press in this case. Nikko was disqualified from the European Open. The PDGA and Pro Tour will undoubtedly have more punitive measures down the line. One of his main sponsors, Gateway Disc Sports, suspended him until further investigation. His other main sponsor, Clash Discs, cut ties with him completely.
5. The Finnish Fans
“There it is, kids, my motherland.”
“Dad, Grandma’s from Chicago.”
The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of the European Open are the fans. Disc golf is massive in Finland…like massive massive. Three scenes will stick in my mind from this time around. One, the huge galleries that lined each fairway. Two, Eagle popping champagne and throwing putters to the crowd from the 18th green stage. And, three, a “Beatles moment” for Simon and Eagle, with children swarming their vehicle, trying to get their discs signed and yelling “Eagle! Eagle! Eagle!” Let’s hope we can have tournaments around the Baltic Sea in the future.
6. The arrival of Chandler Kramer
“It’s as if I’ve been here for at least a week.”
You may have found yourself wondering, “who is this blonde-haired guy in neon gym shorts flinging sidearms on every single shot?” If you watched the PCS Sula coverage a week ago, you knew the answer. “It’s the blond-haired guy in gray sweatpants who flings sidearms on every single shot!” This European vacation made us all fall in love with Chandler Kramer, who is just beginning to tour. He made lead card and—more importantly–he stayed there, eventually earning himself a 5th place finish at a major.
7. FPO/MPO Layout
“Do you want that in the can?”
“No, I’ll have it right here.”
An interesting thing about the Beast and the European Open: the men and the women play from the same tees and have the same pars. Paige Pierce mentioned that she liked it because it allowed her to see how she stacked up against her MPO friends. That is fun in theory. In practice, not so much. It is simply not entertaining to watch the FPO players struggle for pars on a course that was not designed with them in mind. We want fun. Birdies are fun. FPO course design has been a hot topic all year long. In my opinion—and that is what matters here—this is another piece of evidence showing more care needs to be taken to implement equally competitive and compelling layouts.
8. Amazing Eveliina
What Eveliina Salonen did in round two was truly special. She shot 4-under on a course that had a hot round of 4-over the day earlier. In fact, she put together the only round under par all weekend for the FPO division. If Eveliina gets hot with her putter, she is the best player out there…period.
9. Kevin Jones sticks around
“That’s centuries to you and me.”
It has been an up-and-down year for Kevin Jones. He is in 8th place in the DGPT standings, but he hasn’t really been threatening too many wins. To be fair, he wasn’t even close to winning this weekend, but he was closer than most. This was his best tournament of the season. In a normal year, he would have been right in the mix. Jones will look to ride this momentum into the second half of the season.
10. Presidents Cup
“And there’s Parliament…again.”
Congratulations to Big Jerm and the rest of Team U.S.A. as they continued their undefeated streak against the European contingency. Does it really matter? Not really. But is it fun? Yes. Did I get to watch even more disc golf this past week? Yes. Yes, I did. And that is a good thing.
Thanks for reading, everyone! Let me know the storylines you think I missed. See you at DGLO!