When did it become a rule that people had to wear shirts during PDGA events? Was this measure met with similar resistance by those players who only like to play shirtless?
Completely different circumstance. ALL organized activities require proper clothing.
If you want the sport to go to the next level, you have to remove the atmosphere of "casual" from it. As long as the sport comes across as just a leisure activity it will never attract real sponsors, or real support from people outside the sport. That's the reality of it. It's a give and take. If Feldberg, Klimo and Smith want to see their sport be taken more seriously, then they have to leave the smokes in the car. Simple as that. It doesn't matter if there is a fire danger or not. Smoking while playing makes our sport look silly. It may be enjoyable for the smoker, but there is the Catch 22 of it all. To smoke and watch the sport wallow in obscurity for a longer period of time. Or not smoke and perhaps attract the support, which will make the sport grow.
This portion of your post is filled with "maybe", "if", and "perhaps". Nothing is to say that in the event smoking IS banned in tourneys, disc golf will ever attract the revenue and sponsorship necessary to compete with sports such as golf or tennis (bowling is a possibility). It actually could do the exact opposite, as I will note below. Since I will never have to worry about playing in a Major event, that ban doesn't affect me. All sports have participants that use tobacco and it is (somewhat) regulated at the professional level....unfortunately they dont/cant regulate smokeless tobacco because it isnt as obvious. If they deem it is that important of an issue, I suggest having "Professional Only" tournaments and have that as a requirement.
However....as a smoker, it does affect me in the event they decide to pass the ruling on to lower tier events. If the venue does not prohibit smoking, then as an amatuer player, why should I have additional censureship levied against me? I can play in a softball tournament under ASA rules (for example) and still smoke between innings as long as smoking is allowed in the venue. Should the PDGA decide to rule along those lines, I really hope they get enough sponsorship to make up for the loss of revenues from smokers (I'd guess 1/3 to 1/2 of the entries in most tourneys?). If you figure there are even an average of 10 tourneys a week with an average of 100 entries at $40 each (I havent done the exact math...just an approximation/hypothetical) and even 25% of those are smokers, that would be a loss of approx $520,000 per year. Granted... some/most of that could
be recouped by other non smokers entering, but you have just alienated 25% of your core players who will not be paying PDGA fees every year.
And how does " Smoking while playing makes our sport look silly."? It is no more silly than having a jaw full of seeds/chew or drinking beer while playing, yet there doesnt seem to be any outcry about that.