As the disc golf season officially begins soon, I want to highlight a few of the changes to the Professional Disc Golf Association rules for 2018 that some might not have heard or read about. Overall the changes to the 2018 rules were very well thought out and addressed a number of problems. This post is focused on Competition Rule 106. I will try to post one of these explanations a week for the next few weeks if people find this helpful.
This rule imposes standards on how to group player groups in a PDGA event. The TD has three options on grouping in the first round:
- By Rating – This does not mean the top rated players are all on the first card. It means the opposite. Under this option, you sort each division by rating then assigned the highest rated to the first hole, second highest rated to the second hole and so on. The PDGA gives the following example:
For example, a division of 12 players across 3 holes set by the ranking of their ratings would be:
Hole 1: Players 1, 4, 7, and 10
Hole 2: Players 2, 5, 8, and 11
Hole 3: Players 3, 6, 9, and 12
2. Random – this would require you to randomly group the players. You can choose how you want to randomize (e.g. alphabetical based on the third letter in your first name) but you have to consistently apply the criteria across the field.
3. Supergroups – The ONLY WAY you can create a supergroup is if you have live coverage for the entire card, each player within the group approves being in a supergroup, and the tour manager approves the supergroup. I hope TDs pay attention to this new rule because the supergroup is a common occurrence among tournaments I have played.
What do you think of the new change? I support it and here’s why:
I’ve been to tournaments where they sorted players by rating in a different way, where all the highest rated players play together. This disincentives players from moving up to play professional because they only play with similarly rated players. We have been randomizing the cards at the Frisbee Trail (by reverse rating as described above in number 1) with very positive results. Some of the most rewarding feedback I received was a player saying they couldn’t believe they got to play with @Kevin McCoy and that experience made the entire tournament worth it. If you don’t attempt to cater towards some of the lower rated players in a division, then you risk those players moving back down to their previous division and stagnating the growth of tournaments. Ratings are accurate within 10-15 points but they should not determine whether a player can get a true experience of moving up in a division.
In addition, many tournament directors arrange an event so either their friends or themselves are in a group that is preferable to them. This gives an unfair advantage over the field because these groups are more likely to give that player or their friends a better experience. This can also happen in the opposite direction by putting an out of town player on a card with a player with a bad reputation.
I realize that TDs want to stack the good players on “video cards” to get as many views as possible, however that decision is at the expense of paying players in the field who paid to have a fair chance. It gives an advantage to the high rated players who get one extra round on the lead card, get to feed off of the competition and have the benefit of watching the top contenders score/shots the entire first round. I realize this too can cut both ways (a player may not like playing on the high rated players card), however options 1 and 2 ensure fairness by randomizing the process.