On the heals of his big win at the Waco Annual Charity Open where he threw a perfect -18 on his 2nd round, Paul McBeth has released his “In The Bag” video for 2019. Now you can see what Paul’s first year throwing Discraft looks like!
Thanks to JOMEZ PRODUCTIONS for producing the video and for capturing that great performance in Waco as well! Here is the video for you, followed by links to the discs that Paul McBeth is bagging this year:
Now, for your enjoyment, watch Paul throw these discs in his -18 round at the Waco Annual Charity Open. Obviously, he did not take long to adapt to his new bag of discs and makes great use of the different flight characteristics of his discs.
The 2019 disc golf season has arrived! We have already had a few exciting events and we are looking forward to watching the rest of the Waco Annual Charity Open this weekend. That means it is time to start analyzing the data we got back from our annual State of Disc Golf survey. Around this time last year I wrote an article breaking down who our favorite professional disc golfers are and why. There were a few surprises last year, and with all of the sponsorship changes that happened this offseason it will be interesting to see how we responded to the survey this year.
First of all, let’s take a look at how many of us actually follow professional disc golf. According to the state of disc golf survey, 79.4% of us said that we follow professional disc golf. That is a slight increase from the 77.6% from last year. Professional disc golf is growing, but so is disc golf in general, and I always find it encouraging for our sport that there is still a significant amount of disc golfers who care enough about the sport to fill out an online survey but still don’t take the time to follow professional disc golf.
But for those of us who do follow professional disc golf, who are our favorite disc golfers? In the survey we allowed multiple answers. We had thousands of survey takers, and not everyone has perfect spelling or like to use full names of their favorite disc golfers. But I did my best to try and make sure all of them were counted for this post. Again, we had well over 50 different disc golfers named as favorites, but here is the top 10 breakdown:
Our Favorite Disc Golfers
So I think there is one clear surprise here, and that is Ricky Wysocki being named as a favorite by less than 10% of disc golfers who took our survey that follow disc golf. I was shocked when my data analysis came back with this result. I double and triple checked and tried all sorts of crazy spellings for his name, but this is what it came back with every time. Last year he was the third most favorite disc golfer of survey takers with over 20% of survey takers naming him as a favorite. What could have caused such a drop? We will get to more of that in a bit.
Paul McBeth was once again the most favorite with about a 2.5% increase from last year. Gregg Barsby also saw a similar increase after winning his first world championship last year. Paige Bjerkaas is the only newcomer to the top 10 after she also won her first world championship. Paige Pierce also saw a significant decrease in her percentage from this year to last year (about 5%).
Now, why did we choose these disc golfers as our favorites? Like last year, in the survey we were given five options: Attitude, Abilities as a Disc Golfer, Personality, Personal Interaction, and The Brand They Represent. We could choose all of these that applied. Here is what we said:
Why we Chose our Favorite Disc Golfers
Abilities as a Disc Golfer—86.04%
The Brand They Represent—16.70%
When we compare the top four cited reasons to last year, they are all within a couple percentage points of each other.
In fact, the Personal Interaction ended up with the exact same percentage. But that final reason is where things change. That reason is The Brand They Represent, which might be confusing in other sports, but those who follow disc golf know this means who their disc manufacturer sponsor is. Last year just shy of a quarter of survey takers (24.49%) said that this influenced who they chose as their favorite disc golfers. But this year that dropped by just shy of 8%. What caused this decrease?
I have some opinions, but first let’s look at a couple of crucial facts. Paul McBeth is now sponsored by Discraft after years with Innova as a sponsor. Ricky Wysocki is now sponsored by Innova after years with Latitude 64. So what happens when we take those facts and mix them with the two biggest changes/facts from our survey today: A lower percentage of disc golfers named Ricky Wysocki as one of their favorite disc golfers, and a lower percentage of disc golfers said that they brand their favorite disc golfers represent influenced their choice in favorite disc golfers?
Well, first there is Paul McBeth. His popularity increased by about 2% after a pretty good season overall and then announcing a change in sponsorship to Discraft. A few years ago this kind of move may have upset the Innova fanboys because Discraft was the only other big sponsorship team, but the Trilogy brands (Dynamic Discs, Latitude 64, and Westside Discs) have taken that spot as Innova’s rival. For more context, I wrote a recent article about the recent influx in disc golf sponsorship teams and how it has influenced our disc golf culture.
Now obviously we are getting into the opinion side of interpreting these facts, but when we look at just Paul McBeth, there is a simple conclusion you could draw. It would be easy enough to say that with McBeth changing sponsorships, those who had previously cited his Innova sponsorship as a reason that he was one of their favorite pros just didn’t cite that as a reason that he was a favorite this time. Because obviously, a favorite professional athlete in any sport changing the equipment they use would never influence their fan base right??? Well, this isn’t just any sport, this is disc golf, and apparently we care about that kind of stuff (again, I refer to my previous article.)
This takes us back to Ricky Wysocki and his decreased popularity. Now, to be fair, this was also the first year that Ricky didn’t win a world championship in a couple years, and he wasn’t as dominant in other events as he had previously been. So some of that decrease may have been because he didn’t play as well as the previous year. I would argue that McBeth’s increasing popularity negates that argument, but it is worth considering. But, again, what are the two biggest changes in data from last year to this year? The percentage of disc golfers who named Ricky as a favorite decreased by over 10%, and survey takers who cited the brand their favorite disc golfers represent decreased by about 8%.
I really wish we had a way to know how many of the people who said Ricky was one of their favorites didn’t name him as one of their favorites this year. But like I cited earlier, Innova and the Trilogy brands have become a bit of a rivalry while Paul McBeth and Ricky Wysocki have become rivals out on the disc golf course. So when Ricky announced Innova as his new disc manufacture sponsor, the Trilogy fanboys may have seen this as him joining the enemy. But wouldn’t such a decrease in those who cited brand representation as a reason for choosing their favorite disc golfers mean that it would be the last reason Ricky’s popularity decreased? In my opinion, it is the opposite. The question asks why you chose the disc golfers you named as your favorite, not why you didn’t choose the other disc golfers.
And I think this bit of data supports my theory. This year, of the survey takers who named Ricky as one of their favorite disc golfers, 14.67% of them cited the brand they represent as one of the reasons they chose their favorite pros. Running the numbers from last year shows that same percentage at 27.80%. So Ricky as a favorite disc golfer decreased by just over 10%, and the percentage of disc golfers who named him as a favorite and cited the brand their favorite disc golfers represent decreased by over 13%. My simple interpretation–he lost the Trilogy brand loyalists.
Our disc golf culture is fascinating isn’t it? Imagine Tiger Woods losing half of his fans because he changed the brand of clubs he played with. It just wouldn’t happen.
But let’s not forget, there was an overall significant decrease in how many people said that the brand their favorite disc golfers represent influence who their favorites are. I think that Paul and Ricky changing sponsors influenced that, and as the game grows and sponsorships change, I think we will continue to see that percentage decrease over the coming years as well.
So what do you think? Were there any other surprises that I failed to talk about? Am I taking this team culture thing too far? Let us know what you think in the comments!
The Las Vegas Challenge is a wrap! And tomorrow the first Disc Golf Pro Tour event of 2019 kicks off in Arizona with the Memorial Championship Presented by Discraft. So the season has officially kicked off, and we wanted to take a look back at 4 takeaways from the LVC.
1. Calvin Heimberg—Remember My Name!
He isn’t Heisenberg, but he is going to still make sure you remember his name! Calvin Heimberg went into the final round with a 6 stroke lead on the field. After struggling on the front 9, he birdied 8 out of the 9 final holes of the tournament to comeback and win his first NT event by two strokes. Some of you may recognize his name from a handful of tour events last year including a top 3 finish at Maple Hill, but he has mostly stayed local in Florida. But now that he is done with school, it looks like he will be on tour full time this year, and if LVC was any indication, we may be seeing this 1041 rated 23 year old on the top of the podium a few times this year.
2. Paige Bjerkaas Shows She’s the World Champ for a Reason
Paige Bjerkaas may have surprised folks when she claimed the world championship in 2018, but her impressive performance at LVC shows that it isn’t a fluke. She has put in the work and shown that she is worthy to be in the conversation as one of the best women to play the game right now. She finished her final round tied with Catrina Allen for first place after missing a putt from inside the circle. Instead of shutting down mentally, she laced a beautiful drive on the first hole of the playoff that set her up with a 40 ft jump putt that she banged home for the birdie and the win. We are excited to see what she has in store for us for the rest of the year.
3.Paul McBeth and Ricky Wysocki Still Need to Adjust to New Discs…Maybe…
The McBeast and Raptor Ricky played their first tournament with brand new equipment from new product sponsors. Their first round on the Infinite Discs course was filmed by JoMez, and when you review the film, they both looked a bit shaky at times, especially on the putting greens. So naturally, the easy conclusion is they must be needing to get used to their new discs, right? Well, that might be true, but at the same time they both managed to finish in the top 10. If there was a struggle due to new discs, it wasn’t too significant, and both competitors should be 100% very soon.
4. An Improved and Competitive MPO Field=Soooo Much Fun to Watch
After a crazy final round that featured crazy comebacks from the likes of Eagle McMahon and Eric Oakley, folks who don’t have a horse in the race left LVC feeling very excited. These competitors have put in the work all offseason, and the competition up top is going to be stiff this year. Most will agree that Ricky and Paul are still in their own tier at the top, but after that, it gets messy and crowded. We are going to see some competitive disc golf this year with lots of disc golfers finishing tournaments just one or two strokes behind the weekend’s champion. We are excited to watch it all play out.
What did you all think of this year’s event? Are there any takeaways that we missed out on? Please let us know in the comments!
The 2019 Las Vegas Challenge kicks off the 2019 tour, and The MPO and FPO divisions played their first round on the beautiful Infinite Discs Course at the Wildhorse Golf Club on Thursday. One of the feature cards of the MPO division was the “Champions Card” which featured four previous champions of this event–Philo Brathwaite, Paul McBeth, Ricky Wysocki, and Eagle McMahon. This card was filmed by JoMez Productions, and can be watched on their excellent YouTube channel that just reached over 100K subscribers.
This round was highly anticipated in the disc golf world, because it gave us our first chance to see the two best disc golfers in the world play disc golf for the first time on tour with discs from their new sponsors. Just in case you have lived under a rock over the last few months, Paul McBeth and Ricky Wysocki announced that they will be changing up their bags due to new sponsorship agreements. Paul McBeth is now sponsored by Discraft, and Ricky Wysocki is now sponsored by Innova.
So I have decided to collect some of the information that everyone is concerned about–what discs are they throwing now? Below is a breakdown of every disc that both Paul and Ricky threw during their first round on the Infinite Discs course. I personally am not at the event, so as you will see there were a handful of discs that I am not positive about. But if you know which discs they are, please let us know in the comments.
So here is the data!
Paul McBeth’s First Round at LVC on the Infinite Discs Course
Paul had a decent round overall. The disc I felt he was the most accurate with was his Forces. He didn’t have to break it our a ton, but he seems to have really figured that disc out already. The disc he struggled with the most was his putter, the Luna. It is common to see these pros need some time to adjust when they change up their bag, and that’s all I’m going to credit this to. There were several long runs that we’re used to seeing Paul hit or at least draw metal on, and it just wasn’t there this round.
Ricky Wysocki’s First Round at LVC on the Infinite Discs Course
Ricky played a solid round overall. He seemed to be really comfortable with his green Champion Firebird that he was throwing off the tee all day. Similar to Paul, he seemed the most uncomfortable with his putter. He hit a few long putts, but he kept switching back and forth from a white putter to an orange putter. I am almost positive that they are both KC Aviars, but if I get news contrary I will update this post. He also fell victim to a vicious strong side spit out on hole 17 that may have impacted his confidence on an inside the circle putt on hole 18 that he left short.
All in all, it was just fun to watch disc golf again, and it is always fun watching these two professionals go at it on the course. I am excited to see how this event finishes out, and I am very excited to see these two get more accustomed to their new equipment throughout the season. I’m sure we are going to see some memorable moments from these two on this year’s tour.
What did you all take away from watching their first rounds? Did I make a mistake on my disc identifications? Please let me know in the comments!
We all heard the big announcement yesterday. Paul McBeth and Innova have parted ways for the 2019 season. Where will he go? It has not been confirmed yet, but the biggest speculation out there is that he will join the ranks of Team Discraft.
But, how does this effect sales? Let’s take a look! We snagged the sales data over the past week for Star Destroyers and the entire brand of Discraft to take a look. Let’s start off with Star Destroyers. (Like always, we cannot disclose exact sales numbers, but can show trends.)
Star Destroyer sales rocketed through the roof on Halloween after Innova’s announcement. People are stocking up on the McBeth stamped discs. We also saw higher trends in Roc3s, Thunderbirds, Novas, and even Kraits. While it is unknown how many of these discs remain at Innova’s warehouse, people aren’t taking any risks. Some people see these discs as an investment, and others as a piece of history.
Now let’s take a look at the Discraft sales for the week, just for fun.
Discraft did have a bump in sales after Halloween’s announcement, but not nearly as massive as the Star Destroyers. This is likely because it is not confirmed where McBeth will make his new home. However the rumors and speculation most often place him with Discraft.
Will these trends change going forward? We will see!