From the desk of Owl P. Jackson, Esq.
July 13, 2022 by Owl P. Jackson, Esq. in Opinion with comments
From the desk of Owl P. Jackson, esq.:
Rolling fairways, long winding creeks, and mini-golf-carpeted greens…that’s right! It’s time for the Idlewild O—*checks notes*—the LWS Open at Idlewild presented by Dynamic Discs & the Nati. What a mouthful! This weekend had it all, from first time winners to podium mainstays. So, let’s get to it! In my excellent opinion, these are the top 10 storylines of the 2022 LWS Open.
1. The dominance of Isaac Robinson
“I had gained the summit of a commanding ridge, and, looking round with astonishing delight, beheld the ample plains, the beauteous tracts below.”
In case you forgot, Isaac Robinson graduated from college a few weeks ago. We have seen him at tour events in the past, but he has really only begun to tour in earnest. His four Pro Tour Elite Series finishes this year? 5th, 3rd, 16th, and 1st. Robinson dominated this weekend from start to finish, with incredible C1X (100%) and C2 (50%) numbers. Hot rounds on days 1 and 2 gave him a healthy lead and he never let up.
Chris Dickerson made it a little bit interesting in the final round, but Isaac continued to pile on birdies…even when he didn’t need them (I’m looking at you, hole 17). His walk down the fairway of hole 18 was truly special. With every throw, the look on his face transitioned from tension and nerves to the realization that he was about to become an Elite Series winner. His brother, Ezra, was the first to congratulate the new champion. Then I think someone started cutting an onion in my living room…or something.
2. Rain and mud
“In this situation I was constantly exposed to danger and death.”
Weather has been a big storyline this season, and Idlewild was no exception. The first two days of the tournament were a sloppy mess. During the FPO rounds, players crouched under umbrellas and sheltered their discs in their shirts as the rain poured down. This left slippery mud slicks throughout the entire course for the MPO rounds. Players struggled to stand on slopes, much less throw. To me, this is just part of the game. If anything, it makes it more entertaining. Not everyone feels this way, however. For some good entertainment, check out twitter posts from Andrew Presnell and Drew Gibson:
PLAYERS WHO ARE CLOSE IN RATING NEED TEE TIMES THAT ARE CLOSE TOGETHER FOR ROUND 1! Watching half the field play in horrible conditions then the other half playing in great conditions is just wrong. Only matters for round 1.
— Andrew Presnell (@prez017) July 8, 2022
There’s a time when the conditions are too bad to play and it doesn’t have to be because of LIGHTNING. 40mph winds isn’t disc golf and neither is a sloppy/muddy course causing touring players injury.
The TD nor DGPT can control the weather but we don’t have to suffer#RIPBarela
— Drew Gibson (@DrewGibsonn) July 9, 2022
In Drew’s defense, he has slipped in much less treacherous conditions.
3. Catrina Allen back on top
“Heaven must be a Kentucky kind of place.”
It seems like Catrina’s tournaments have followed a pattern this year. She has the hot round on day 3, but after a lackluster start, it’s too little, too late. This weekend, she was able to finish out a complete tournament. Idlewild is a tough track for the FPO field. Shooting even par over three days is good enough to win. Cat’s +2 performance was enough to shut the door on a charging Missy Gannon and a wonderfully consistent Ohn Scoggins. Considering the brutal conditions that the FPO competitors faced, it was Cat’s mental toughness that really shined and made all the difference.
4. The return of Chris Dickerson and Matt Orum
“Curiosity is natural to the soul of man and interesting objects have a powerful influence on our affections.
This season has felt a little off. It’s really important that the “big” names are competing, but that just hasn’t been the case consistently. More and more, players are taking time off. Some players skip certain legs of the tour. Health concerns sideline players for weeks. All that being said, it was great to have Dickerson and Matty O. back this week. They both looked to be in top form, with 2nd and 6th place finishes.
5. Team Prodigy
“Fear’s the spice that makes it interesting to go ahead.”
Now that we are around the halfway point of the season, it is interesting to look back at the offseason sponsorship moves that took place. Almost everyone agreed that Prodigy had a rough offseason, losing massive names like Matty O, Dickerson, and Catrina Allen. They are all playing great (see points 3 and 4), but Prodigy has shown that it has one of the deepest touring rosters in all of disc golf. The following players all currently qualify for at least the play in for the Pro Tour Championship: Gannon Buhr (who has been a top 5 player all season), Kevin Jones, Isaac Robinson, Alden Harris, Thomas Gilbert, Luke Humphries, Austin Hannum, and Gavin Babcock. Veteran Cale Leiviska is a few decent finishes from joining them. Give that talent scout a raise!
6. Paul McBeth’s course record
“In such diversity it was impossible I should be disposed to melancholy.”
Was anyone else having flashbacks to Champions Cup? I can’t even remember seeing Paul on day 2 live coverage. “Paul’s washed up,” the keyboard warriors proclaim. But then McBeth did McBeast things, throwing a course record -13 to climb into a 6th place finish. Be careful calling it a course record, though. The DGN post-round interviewer will awkwardly remind you that it is only kinda sorta the course record.
7. The continued reemergence of Kyle Klein
“I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks.”
Kyle Klein got his first Elite Series top 10 finish at the Preserve a few weeks ago. He followed it up with a solid 3rd place performance at Idlewild. It probably feels a little meh after winning the event last year, but Klein seems to heat up as we get further and further into the season. It’s good to see him back near the top, competing for wins on a consistent basis.
8. Thoughts on Idlewild
“Nature was here a series of wonders, and a fund of delight.”
This course is such a joy to watch. It has a little bit of everything: long open fairways, tight wooded gaps, tons of elevation changes, and interesting greens. I also think that 16-17-18 is one of the best closing stretches we have. Each of those holes is memorable, and they provide a large potential for scoring separation. Give the people what they want: challenging, memorable, and fun!
9. Kona Watch
“A resigned soul finds pleasure in a path strewed with briers and thorns.”
Kona Panis shot a +40 this weekend! That’s good for 42nd out of the 48 women who actually finished the event. Now, I’m not looking to pile on and usually don’t go out of my way to comment on a poor performance. But, in this case, I believe it is fair for scrutiny to come with the territory. Kona signed one of the highest profile, highest dollar amount FPO contracts this past season. I hope that the added pressure is not what is getting to her and that she is able to turn this season around. Right now, she doesn’t even qualify for the Pro Tour Championship play-in.
10. Interesting odds n’ ends
“All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife.”
There were a bunch of interesting tidbits this week that deserve a quick mention. Hailey King, fresh off a Major win, DNFs midway through round 1. Natalie Ryan dropped out…because she didn’t bring any towels? This looked like Ella Hansen’s tournament at times. Uli returned to action. Players are really good at putting. According to Drew, something happened to Barela. Oh, and Isaac Robinson fell!
Thanks for reading, everyone! Let me know the storylines you think I missed. See you at the European Open!