Disc Golf Pro Tour Gets a New Sponsor!
If you didn’t hear the big news announced today I have to wonder if you’ve been living under a rock. The DGPT announced earlier today their new exclusive sponsorship with Bud Light! It came as a shocking announcement to fans, media and players alike and has sent a wave of strong reactions throughout the Disc Golf community. While this is a huge step forward for the sport there are some people that view this move negatively for one specific reason.
In the press release today in addition to renaming the DGPT the Bud Light Disc Golf Tour; it was announced that each player is now required to drink at least two Bud Lights per round. This controversial decision was addressed by tour director Jeff Spring. “While in the past we have had to follow the strict PDGA standards about no alcoholic beverages during sanctioned rounds we thought this was too important of an opportunity to pass up for the growth of the sport. After a lot of difficult conversations with Anheuser-Bush, The PDGA and our entire board we were able to get clearance for this revolutionary deal. It’s a huge step forward for the sport and I can’t wait to see our players fully embrace this amazing partnership.” It should be noted that during his statement Spring paused to take a rather lengthy drink from a tall boy Bud Light. It is unclear if this was in celebration of his record breaking accomplishment or out of contractual obligation.
While the Pro Tour Staff seems to be fully excited and on board with this decision the players seemed to have mixed reactions. Paul McBeth had this to say: “I personally prefer Bud heavies so I’ll have to get some clarification of if we’re allowed to drink any Bud product or just Bud Light.”
Meanwhile James Conrad seemed to be fully embracing the new sponsorship. “I’m really excited for this new sponsorship and to hopefully claim more wins on the Bud Light Disc Golf Tour this year. I’m also excited to defend my title at World’s too. Speaking of, you probably didn’t see my shot last year but I had this decent turnover back hand that I put on the perfect Anheuser-Busch angle and it went straight into the basket. It was kind of exciting.”
Still other players are less excited about the new requirement of drinking on the course. Nikko Locastro was one of a handful of players to express concerns over the integrity of the game. “I can’t believe they’re introducing a rule like this! This is absolutely ridiculous to force players to drink during a professional round. What are they going to do next; make everyone putt in 30 seconds or less?” Other players seemed to oppose the new rule because of personal reasons. Catrina Allen was one of the most vocal of those. “I don’t even like beer so I really can’t believe they’re going to make us drink it. I much prefer wine or a good rum and coke.” When pointed out that there are Bud Light Seltzers this is what Paige Pierce, who was standing next to Allen said “That’s a good point Cat. Those seltzers are pretty good and they are under the Bud Light brand. We’ll definitely have to have a few of those at the Champion’s Cup in a few weeks.” Catrina did not look as enthusiastic about the idea as Paige.
One of the most controversial figures in this saga is 16 year old Gannon Burr. When asked for his comments about the new sponsorship and rule he had this to say. “I’m extremely excited about this new opportunity. Normally I have to sneak my beers away from my mom and hide that I’m drinking. Now I’ve already talked to Hailey (King) and Calvin (Heimberg) and we’re definitely planning on getting lit at the rest of the tournaments this year.” Gannon’s mother was less happy about the rule change. “I don’t really understand why they would have minors drink just to promote their product but if it’s going to help Gannon chase his dream I guess I’ll work with him on his shotgunning technique.”
Is this a giant mistake by the Pro Tour? Maybe. But it certainly has created a lot of buzzz and interest in the sport and bringing more sponsors and money into the tour isn’t a bad thing. Besides, what is more true to the heart of the sport than going out on the course with some Buds. While the new sponsorship provides a landmark in a number of ways this author thinks its a pretty good step for a growing sport and I’d like to raise a big ol’ pint to the future of the Bud Light Disc Golf Tour and remind everyone to enjoy their round!