From the desk of Owl P. Jackson, Esq.
September 7, 2022 by Owl P. Jackson, Esq. in Opinion with comments
Ah, Worlds week. What a week you were! It’s time to crown our winners with the most prestigious title in the sport…and the plaque distinguished enough to match. We have the goose vs. the GOAT, one of the most dominant major performances ever, absentee Kenny, and so much more! In my opinion, these are the top 10 storylines of the 2022 PDGA Professional Disc Golf World Championships.
1. Paul McBeth wins his sixth title
“Such a feelin’s comin’ over me; There is wonder in most every thing I see.”
The day before Worlds began, Discraft released a video showcasing the newest disc in the Paul McBeth line, the Athena. Now, why is this notable and what does it have to do with the tournament? Well, in the video, Paul publicly confirmed the naming method for his discs (a theory previously confined to fanboy lore and legend): 4 world titles mean 4-letter disc names like Luna, Zeus, and Anax. 5 world titles mean 5-letter names like Hades and Malta. 6 letters? The video ends with him explaining, “it’s not saying ‘will I win a sixth?’ It’s ‘when will I win a sixth?’” Turns out he didn’t have to wait long. Paul called his shot.
It wasn’t a dominant weekend for Paul. In fact, he struggled putting throughout the tournament, limped around on a bad leg, and found himself three strokes back going into the final day. But, in the biggest moments, the great ones rise to the occasion. The putt on 17 has already become part of the McBeth legend. The biggest thing, however, is the redemption Paul found in the way things played out. 1 stroke lead going into 18…lead lost…headed to an island hole for a playoff…sound familiar? It’s becoming harder to win each year. You can see why number 6 got McBeast a little emotional.
2. Kristin Tattar—World Champion
“Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eyes and I won’t be surprised if it’s a dream.”
Kristin Tattar is just so consistent. She keeps it in bounds, doesn’t make mistakes, puts her upshots close, putts well, has decent distance, and she always has a look at birdie. How can you compete with that? She led this 5-day tournament wire-to-wire. There were a few moments when she seemed to slow and other made a charge, but her lead was never really in question. It was one of the most dominant performances in major history. She shot a 1001-rated -38 over 5 rounds. She remarked, “I still can’t wrap my head around it, that I’m here and I won the world championships. There are previous world champions congratulating me. It’s crazy. I don’t know how it happened.”
I have a feeling she will get used to it—goes with the territory of being the world’s best disc golfer.
3. Aaron Gossage takes it to a playoff
“Everything I want the world to be Is now comin’ true especially for me.”
The goose is loose! Big hyzer off the tee, forehand hyzer approach, make the putt, stroke the ‘stache, rinse and repeat. Gossage had the perfect style and plan for the Emporia courses. He was near the top since the early part of the weekend, but most figured he had to fall off the pace at some point. Instead, it was Gossage who was setting the pace. He didn’t seem to slip up at all until the last round, where he left a few putts short and low. Still, he went back and forth with Paul on the final day, even pushing Paul to a playoff. It was heartbreaking to see him fall short with an O.B. island shot. I would love to say he’ll get another chance at a world title, but there are so many good players now that it’s not likely. Either way, he will never forget the week he took Paul McBeth to a playoff at Worlds.
4. The European Women
“And the reason is clear, it’s because you are here; You’re the nearest thing to heaven that I’ve seen.”
At the beginning of the 2022 season, the biggest FPO storyline was the arrival and return of the European trio: Kristin Tattar, Eveliina Salonen, and Henna Blomroos. Other than Kristin, it didn’t live up to the hype initially. The two Finns didn’t perform the way most were expecting. This week, they were both on full display and playing well, with especially brilliant play from Henna. Off the tee, they are the two best throwers in FPO. But, man…the putting. It was painful to see Henna miss 8-footers, like Eveliina has done so many times before. MPO isn’t quite there yet, but FPO truly puts the “world” in Worlds. If they can become even average putters, watch out.
5. The B Pool Hero
“Something in the wind has learned my name and it’s tellin’ me that things are not the same.”
What an unexpected storyline! This made the first two days of viewing a rather strange experience. Tristan Tanner was absolutely destroying the courses…from the B Pool! In fact, we didn’t get to see any of his 13-under scorcher at the Country Club. The cameras finally started to follow him late during round 2 at Jones Supreme, when it became clear that he wasn’t going anywhere. He kept pace all the way to a 3rd place finish. Look for him to pop back up on the leaderboard the next time we head to an open course.
6. Podium People
“In the leaves on the trees, and the touch of the breeze, there’s a pleasing sense of happiness for me.”
They weren’t really threatening to win, but earning a Worlds podium spot is still an amazing career accomplishment. In FPO, it was Holyn Handley who took third behind Kristin and Henna, edging out Missy Gannon and Paige Pierce. Over in MPO, two players tied Tristan Tanner for third: Chris Clemons and Matt Orum. Chris has been having a sneaky good season this year and just needs to put together a full tournament. It is amazing that Matty O is still looking for his first Elite Series win. He has been near the top for decades! A couple of other random thoughts from the MPO top 10…Calvin needs to stop wasting the best tee shots. Nate Sexton shows up. And Anthony Barela can straight up rip.
7. What happened to…?
“There is only one wish on my mind; when this day is through, I hope that I will find…”
You had Kristin on your Worlds podium prediction. You probably had Paul too (top 2 for a decade straight!). Maybe you even had the European women. But did you really have Holyn Handley? Did you put your money on Gossage and Tristan Tanner? If so, head to Vegas and put something on the ponies. A lot of the biggest names and most popular Worlds picks failed to show up this week. Paige Pierce finished in 5th place but was 16 strokes behind Kristin. Catrina Allen failed to make the top 10 at all. DDO Champion Ricky Wysocki couldn’t repeat and finished in 11th. 2022 MPO Major champions Chris Dickerson and Eagle McMahon finished in T-12th and T-38th, respectively. Fan favorite Simon Lizotte ended up in 25th. Seeing the finishes of these top players magnifies Paul’s incredible Worlds performance record.
8. Courses and crowds
“…that tomorrow will be, just the same for you and me; all I need will be mine if you are here.”
I was very critical of these courses at the Dynamic Discs Open, especially the new Jones Supreme layout. I’m still not crazy about them, especially when the viewer has no idea where the players are headed. I also appreciate a Worlds that showcases two different types of disc golf. That said, these courses played completely different without the gale-force winds. What was formerly impossibly hard turned into birdie-or-die. I wasn’t expecting that! The course also looked great when spectators were lining the fairways. Speaking of crowds…you have to sell single day tickets on days other than the final round! Tickets were $100 and only got you into one of the courses? Even for a weekday in a small town, those early crowds were embarrassing.
9. Titles, trophies, and payouts
“I’m on the top of the world lookin’ down on creation and the only explanation I can find…”
Obviously, the best part of winning Worlds is the title of “World Champion.” It is what makes this win bigger than the other majors. Kristin Tattar will now forever be known as World Champion Kristin Tattar. You can’t put a value on that…then again, I’m sure Discraft is purchasing new machines to fire out 6x Buzzzs and knows exactly how lucrative a world title is. The fact that the purse reached $200,000 is also a great step driving these events onward and upward. But…that trophy. I mean, the trophy isn’t even important, as long as it’s not actively bad. I hope this was a donation from some employee’s kid or something. Every time someone Googles “Kristin Tattar World Champion,” it’s going to show that pathetic plaque.
10. Pro Tour Standings
“…is the love that I’ve found, ever since you’ve been around—your love’s put me at the top of the world.”
Points for Worlds placements were worth 1.5X on the Pro Tour Standings, so let’s make note of some of the movers and shakers! In the MPO: Paul’s win moves him past Calvin and Ricky into the top spot. Nate Sexton is currently qualified for the play-in after taking 9th. Eagle has now dropped out of championship qualification and will have to use his automatic play-in bid from his European Open victory if he wants to participate.
Over in FPO: Kristin Tattar is now currently earning a bye to the semifinals. The following players are currently looking at play-in status or worse—Eveliina, Kona, Henna, and a lot of other names you know. It will be interesting to see who makes a final push at the Silver Series event this weekend. Then, it’s playoff time!
Thanks for reading, everyone! Let me know the storylines you think I missed. See you at Green Mountain Championship!