2022 DGPT Match Play Championship: A Flop in the Making?
Here we are a few days before the DGPT Match Play Championship is set to start in Bailey, Colorado. In both the Men’s and Women’s field, there will be 16 participants. The Pro Tour did announce that there are some tweaks from the format last year.
First, the players are broken in to four person pools. They compete against the three other participants with the winner moving on to the semifinals.
Second, the rounds are only twelve holes long. This means the two players in the championship match will play a total of 36 holes. Far less than they are used to during a normal elite series event.
The biggest problem the DGPT is running in to, is a lack of top name pros.
We can see that on the FPO side of the event we are missing #1 Kristin Tattar, #2 Paige Pierce, #3 Catrina Allen, #17 Jessica Weese, and #19 Kona Panis. I think we can give Kristin Tattar a pass for not wanting to travel from and to Estonia just for a match play event. While there are some great FPO players still playing, its not exactly the same kind of event with out the top of the FPO field in attendance.
Some players indicated that they are not participating because they want to give their bodies time to recover. For an event that has not bearing on Pro Tour standings, this is completely understandable.
While the FPO is light on top talent, the MPO is downright dreadful. They are missing #1 Ricky Wysocki, #3 Chris Dickerson, #5 Paul McBeth, #9 Drew Gibson, #11 Matt Orum, #14 Emerson Keith, #16 Chris Clemons, #18 Corey Ellis, #21 Thomas Gilbert, and #25 Casey White. Again, there is some great talent but, it feels strange missing that many of the top MPO field. Like with some of the FPO players, some of the men won’t attend to give their bodies time to recover.
Why are so many of the pro skipping this event? At the time of writing, there has yet to be an announcement of the final payout. Last years winners, Calvin Heimburg and Paige Pierce took home $10K. I believe it’s reasonable to assume the payout will be the same.
If we look at the top of the top in both fields, the shot at $10K isn’t worth their time and energy. Driving from Portland, OR to Clearwater, MN is about 25 hours according to Google Maps. Adding in a brief stop in Bailey, CO adds another 8 hours.
That’s only looking at it from drive time standpoint. That’s not including the time needed to prepare for both the Match Play Championship and the Preserve.
If the DGPT wants to make this event a success, they need a way to lure more pros into playing. The best way to go that, besides throwing absurd amounts of cash at it, is to move it closer to the next event. Put the Match Play Championship with in two hours of the Preserve Champions and I guarantee more pros will play.
Some pros who want to rest and recover for the second half of the season will still do that. But, by reducing the obstacle of travel, you increase the likelihood of the top talent showing up to an exhibition event.
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