It’s Time for the US Women’s Championship to Move to Winthrop
, 2022-09-29 09:45:57,
Two major champions should be crowned in Rock Hill.
September 29, 2022 by Matt Thompson in Opinion with comments
At the beginning of September, tennis great Serena Williams said her farewell at the US Open in Flushing, New York. It was a final opportunity for fans to see a few more booming serves, hear some grunts of tremendous effort, and see her do her signature post-match twirl. Much like Andre Agassi’s swan song on the same court some 15 years earlier, it was a fitting tribute for Serena to go out in New York at the biggest spectacle US tennis has to offer.
But imagine this: what if instead of final twirls and night match interviews and celebrities in the stands, we got a five minute retrospective describing Serena’s last match from six weeks earlier in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, because that’s where the women’s US Open was rotated to this year. How would that have felt? Weird?
Welcome to the state of women’s disc golf in the United States.
Even though Serena was in front of them playing a match on the same court where a men’s US Open champion would be crowned, tennis fans would not accept that she was in fact only playing a non-major tournament called the Hit Pink because the United States Tennis Association respects HER game.
Like disc golf, tennis is an individual sport with two tours, the WTA or Women’s Tennis Association, and the ATP, the Association of Tennis Professionals (the men’s tour). The tours generally coincide, much like the MPO and FPO divisions in disc golf typically play the same events concurrently. It’s not a particularly complicated model, and it makes sense (particularly in disc golf, where many FPO and MPO players travel together). There is also the added benefit that season-long storylines develop alongside each other for each division. Fans can debate player of the year candidates, talk about who’s on a hot streak, and who’s in the dumps. Fans will do this regardless, but encouraging discussion around your sport should be a basic tenet of season planning for a tour that fundamentally needs to be a profit generating vehicle.
While profit is a powerful motivating force, it is not always an organizing force. It is in moments like this that the relationship between the DGPT and the PDGA gets wonky for the casual viewer. The Majors are run by the PDGA, but “the tour” that the professionals rely on for their week-to-week…
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