As an international sport organisation, FIFG is committed to protect the footgolfers all around the world. Anything is more important than life. In a situation we have never been before, the FIFG is monitoring the situation and started discussions with it's members about this season.
“We are facing an unprecedented health challenge globally. We believe, collective response is needed. We have to understand this situation and have to follow the guidelines and rules, what the different governments order all around the world.” said Gábor Gelencsér, president of the Federation for International FootGolf.
He added: “The FIFG is discussing the situation with the member countries, the Japanese World Cup organizers, the IOC and the GAISF.” Also, the Board is monitoring the WHO statements every day.
“We know, the governments’ action plans are different in the world as the spread of the coronavirus is at a different level. There are countries, where the FootGolf tournaments can be held and others, where there are strict restrictions: staying home is saving lives. We will discuss the way ahead for the 2020 World Tour with all country members and will keep the world of FootGolf updated. In the meantime, please stay safe and well.”
The first Major of the season scheduled for the end of March has been cancelled, because of the worldwide virus. The most important is the health of the participants, it would be irresponsible to continue with the organization of any sporting event when there are significant risks and uncertainty.
The Coronavirus COVID 19 pandemic is affecting normal routines and all kinds of scheduled activities around the world, including sports. Flights between the United States and the European Union were suspended. This measure is severely affecting global air transportation, including Mexico.
The Mexican government announced today that the 45th edition of the Tianguis Turístico - the most relevant event in the Tourism Industry - scheduled to take place in the state of Yucatan, on the same dates as the Cancun FootGolf Open, has been suspended.
After analyzing the world panorama, the Federation for International FootGolf, consulted the situation with the Mexican FootGolf Federation and after several communications with national, regional, local, health and sports authorities, all agreed that it is impossible to guarantee the safety of anyone, athletes, visitors and the general public. Nor can it be guaranteed that air transport services will be available in the coming weeks to get to and from Cancun, or any other city the country.
We remain alert to the global emergency. We are hopeful this crisis will be overcome in the coming months and the organizers can set a new date for the tournament.
The safety of our players and their families is our top priority; it would be irresponsible to continue with the organization of any sporting event when there are significant risks and uncertainty.
With any questions, please contact the Mexican federation, as the organizer of the Major.
Gábor Gelencsér, the president of the FIFG informs the FootGolf society, because of the spread of the coronavirus, the final decision about the World Cup must be made until the end of April. In the interview he underlined the importance of using a new scoring system from 2020 to step forward and make progress for the bright future of the sport with BlueGolf.
What are the fresh news about the coronavirus and the World Cup?
It is not a secret. The WHO says: in the past two weeks, the number of cases outside China has increased 13-fold, and the number of affected countries has tripled. There are now more than 129,641 cases in 114 countries, and 4,749 people have lost their lives. We are monitoring the situation daily and keep in touch with the Japanese organizers, embassies, the International Olympic Committee and the GAISF. We will inform every president and player, if we can make a safe decision about the World Cup and the World Tour. After a lot of meetings with experts, the final decision must be made before the end of April. We also got good news from Mexico, the first Major of the year is going to be in Cancun as it was in the original schedule.
After closing the 2019 season and already started the new one, what should the players know about their World Cup qualification?
We follow what it was in the World Tour rules. Every single player, who won qualification through the 2019 world ranking, has to be registered for the 2020 World Cup by his or her FIFG member country and also needed a valid (2020) World Tour licence to participate in Japan.
The World Tour ranking system moved to BlueGolf. Why?
It was one of my first steps after my appointment last year. We all know, the GolfTab did not run smoothly and I wanted the perfect solution. We checked a few possibilities and chose BlueGolf, a company running golf series like the PGA more than two decades. FIFG is planning the future and we believe we need a system like this. It was tested by the US and the UK in the last few years and contains more than we ever imagined. We have to learn it and that’s why we offer the organizers online lessons to make the process easier. As they are professional in golf and have experience in FootGolf, BlueGolf exactly knows what we need. Of course as it is in the other part of life, it is not free. The FIFG, the members and the players pay it together. We will see until the end of the season how it is working and will evaluate the system.
Is it just the beginning?
I hope so. Do not forget, we are still a very young sport and make progress from day to day. It is a long way, and we do our best to build this unique sport step by step. For instance, a new website will be launched this year.
Jordan Godrey won the Nevada Five Hundred in the US last weekend. It shows he remained in good form after a strong year ending in 2019. He wants to feel again lifting the World Cup title in 2020 and not just in the team competition.
How do you rate your first big tournament of the year?
I was really excited to get back playing again. I love the venues they chose. We had the opportunity to play at a new facility in Pahrump called Mountain Falls Golf Club which is always a treat. Our final round was played at Chimera Golf Club in Henderson where we have had events in the past. I went into it with a certain level of comfortability due to past successes at Chimera. Both courses ended up being shorter than what we are used to playing so I knew the field would be condensed and my length would not necessarily guarantee success. I was really pleased I was able to make the come back on the final day because I proved to myself I can win on shorter courses where other aspects of your game, besides length, are tested.
Is it a morale boost for the whole season?
I am very pleased with the successful start and can’t wait to consistently get back out there. I had a very strong finish to the 2019 season with some positive results so it was a shame it came to an end. I hope to continue into 2020 with the same focus I had at the end of last season and hope to improve locally and internationally.
Is the World Cup in your mind as it is the year of the biggest event?
Yes and I have qualified last year through the World Rankings. It is nice to have this accomplished early for planning purposes and so I can compete with a little bit more freedom. My objectives for the World Cup have always been to win it again as a country and at some point individually. We have some serious talent on this side of the world and it is just a matter of taking the right team. We proved that in 2016 winning the gold and made a nice run in 2018. I know individually it will always be difficult because it is like golf and certain things have to just fall your way. I hope to peak at the right time and we will see what happens. 8th is my highest individual finish at a World Cup so improving on that would be a bare minimum objective.
NEVADA FIVE HUNDRED
The Mexican Anjuli Landron won the first FIFG 500 tournament of the year, the Nevada Five Hundred in the United States. Her goal is to be there in Japan and on all of the Majors in 2020.
How hard was it to compete in the US among the ladies?
The level of the ladies category has grown tremendously. I remember when I first played two years ago in the United States on my first US Open. Now, for example with the experience of the World Cup in Morocco, I can confirm that the level of the ladies is becoming more competitive every time. There are more players, new ones have arrived with a lot of potential, and those who already in the FootGolf business, became much better. We have all evolved and gained experience. So it was a tough competition from hole 1 to hole 36. To summarise, of course I am happy with the result. It is my first win in a tournament outside of Mexico.
What’s your plan for 2020?
I hope that this season is the one where I can enjoy more tournaments. I am working hard to plan this year, and I hope to have money and time to include the World Cup in Japan. I play at local level, the League of Morelos once a month, which serves as training for international tournaments, so since the end of January the FootGolf started in Mexico. I am very motivated, and I hope that in December I can make a positive count of all the objectives that I am considering.
Will you be there in Japan?
I have not qualified for the World Cup yet. I had a break in the second half of 2019 and I let many points that have moved me away from the qualification, but I still have these months to look for it. Without a doubt, my first goal is to be in the World Cup. When I reach it, I can think of some more "landed" goals than I would like to achieve in Japan, but right now I am focused on qualifying.
In which part of your game are you working now?
I noticed that in the tournaments I had a great day and another that must fall in oblivion, so I am working on being constant. Playing well constantly, I think that's the key.
The next Major is in Mexico, what is your plan for the other FIFG 1000’s tournaments?
I have a crazy idea to attend all the Majors of this year. But well, one thing is to dream it, and another to make it happen, but nothing prevents me from trying.
NEVADA FIVE HUNDRED
Darrin Karuzas is the first over 45 player, who has collected 500 World Tour points after winning the Nevada Five Hundred in the United States. After finishing in the top 10 in Morocco in 2018, he wants to improve his position in Japan.
How do you rate the first serious event of the year?
The first FIFG 500 had a very competitive field. It was nice to see players from around the world and catch up on life and FootGolf with them. Both courses were very diverse and quite challenging. The hosts of each course were very professional and welcoming. Anyway, It is always a bonus to play in Las Vegas, Nevada. The senior category competition came down to the last few holes. I’m proud I was able to pull out a victory over the field, especially being in the final group against de la Garza, Adair and Mills.
What are your plans for the season?
This should be a thrilling 2020 season which has events all over the world. As FootGolf continues to grow, the competitions and challenges are becoming tougher. My goal for this year is to prepare and improve all aspects of my game.
As a qualified player to the World Cup, what is your goal for Japan?
I was able to qualify for the World Cup with a Top 20 finish in the World Ranking last year. I had a Top 10 finish in Morocco (World Cup 18), but would like to improve on that. I love this sport and the many personalities in it and get excited for every tournament and competition.
NEVADA FIVE HUNDRED
The FIFG and the World Cup 2020 organizing committee are monitoring the situation around the global spread of the coronavirus.
The FIFG Board and the Japanese World Cup organizing committee have regular meetings to analyze the situation around the biggest event of the year. The FIFG have already contacted the GAISF (SportAccord), the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Japanese Olympic Committee to collect all the necessary information to be able to make the right decision.
The first FIFG 500 World Tour of the year for Region One was a very windy one in Nevada, USA. Winds were 30 mph to 50 mph throughout most of the tournament. The men and senior category were won by Jordan Godfrey and Darrin Karuzas, while the gold in the women's category went to Mexico, thanks to Anjuli Ladron.
Jordan Godfrey (US) won 500 World Tour points after winning the AFGL Nevada Five Hundred, the first FIFG 500 tournament of the year. He won it by three kicks ahead of Gyorgy Podusil (HUN) and Gonzalo Novosad (ARG). Because of the weather conditions, they have only completed 13 holes on the final day.
The senior category was won by another US player, Darrin Karuzas who won it by only one kick. The seniors have completed 15 holes on Sunday.
The ladies were the luckiest, they were able to finish all 18 holes on Sunday letting them complete all 36 holes of the tournament. The Mexican Anjuli Ladron came in first with a total of -20 result.
The season has already started, and until the first of March, we will know who are collecting 500 ranking points for the first time in 2020.
The United States hosts the first FIFG 500 of the year on two different courses in the Las Vegas area this weekend. It is also a tournament during the Region One Tour and the AFGL Tour 2020. The minimum cash purse is $3,000.
FIFG introduced the 2020 World Tour guidelines including for example new ranking calculations, regional tournaments, the Masters and categories without the absolute one. Javier de Ancizar, FIFG Vice President explains the goals of the WT and the changes for this year.
What are the main differences from last year?
We have introduced regional tours and rankings. We have split the world into four regions:
Region 1: North & Central America
Region 2: South America
Region 3: Europe
Region 4: Asia & Oceania
This new concept also introduces the Masters, a tournament in which the best world, regional and national players compete. With this new format, all tournaments (FIFG 50, FIFG 100, FIFG 250, FIFG 500 and FIFG Majors) count for the regional rankings, and only FIFG 250, FIFG 500 and FIFG Majors count for the world ranking.
How do the different rankings help the players?
The World Tour 2020 allows all players to compete on an international level according to their possibilities in terms of time, resources, etc. With the introduction of the Masters, those national and regional players who cannot travel that much still have the chance to stay competitive and measure forces with the best players of the World Ranking. On the other hand, those players who want to be at the top of the World Ranking do not need to travel as much as last year, and will compete in better tournaments (as only FIFG 250, FIFG 500 and FIFG Majors count for the World Ranking).
Why is there no absolute category this year?
An absolute category in parallel with a senior category did not make sense and was unfair for the majority of the players. It was beneficial to a smaller group of players. Those players who were competitive in both categories had a clear advantage compared to those who could only compete in one of them as they always had a double chance in each tournament. In other words, the problem with that system was the double chance some players had over the rest. On the other hand, the men category is the one that all male players can play, even senior ones. But in order to avoid the double chance described before, all players can only play in one category. So, senior players have the option to either play in the men or in the senior category. It is up to their choice. The senior category is created in all sports considering those players who feel they cannot longer compete with the rest of the players due to their age. In the women category there is no senior category, simply because there is not enough volume of players. As for the juniors, at this stage they will compete with a special permit from the FIFG and will rank either in the men or women rankings.
How will the country points be calculated?
The country ranking is based on the best four results from their individual ranking points. Each country needs at least three players to be present in the country ranking.
What changes are coming with the full-professional system of BlueGolf?
BlueGolf has been running in the golf industry for many years. This new system requires time to adapt and learn, but we feel it is the right tool for us at this moment. We found an excellent partner in BlueGolf, capable of keeping up with what the sport and the World Tour is demanding.
What are the long-term plans for the WT?
The World Tour was thought as the main competitive platform of our sport. It was created as an aspirational concept for all players all over the world, in order to set the basis for growing the base of the amateur pyramid. Ultimately, this will attract sponsors and media attention and provide us the necessary resources for sustainable growth.