The 2022 Disc Golf Pro Tour has ended and so we now have months to wait until we get regular big tournaments to watch on the Disc Golf Network and post produced coverage. These months are usually filled with silly video content, like Simon Lizotte’s Vlogmas. Sometimes it’s rumors of players whose contracts are up moving to a different company. It’s time to relax and reflect for a bit for everyone though.
I’d like to revisit the 2022 Pro Tour Season and give my 2 cents recapping everything. If you’re a fan of just playing disc golf, this blog isn’t as much for you as it is for folks who enjoy watching the Pro Tour.
I apologize and regret labeling anyone as a “loser” when I wrote my 2021 World’s blog. Loser is a cheap word that pairs well with “winners” in a title. I’m better than that, and it’s just plain name calling.
This year I’m labeling them as New Opportunities, because we have similar chances next season. One missed putt, one bad round, one bad OB, those things don’t define you as a player or make you a “loser”. For every player who has a great season, one has to kind of have a not so great one. Bitter losses make victories even more sweet. As a child I remember crying in 2003 when the Yankees Aaron Boone hit a HR in the 11th inning off Wakefield to go to the World Series. A year later, the Sox were world champions. Those bitter moments, missed putts, and drives that hit a tree. Those moments hurt. But they make the victories much sweeter.
Here are my 2022 Winners and New Opportunities!
Winner: Kristin Tattar
I don’t think there’s anyone who would tell you she’s not the best FPO player on the planet right now. She overcame an early season injury and covid to win her first world championships, the disc golf pro tour championship, and she finished a close second in the Master’s Cup, and the Throw Pink Disc Golf Championships. Tattar never finished worse than 3rd in any event she finished.
She won $103,141 in prize money this year. A new FPO record that I hope gets broken sometime soon with prize money in disc golf.
Winner: Prodigy Discs
After losing the reigning world champion Catrina Allen to DGA, and perennial favorite Chris Dickerson to Discraft. Prodigy had a huge season from their young stars. Gannon Buhr won the USDGC, Isaac Robinson won Idlewild, Alden Harris won the Mid America Open, and Gavin Babcock’s 10k ace was highly anticipated. After a hot start from Luke Humphries, Prodigy had a huge season from their MPO stars.
Winner: Paul McBeth
He’s got a million dollar a year contract until he’s 40. He has a foundation that creates disc golf courses around the world. His foundation brought the first disc golf courses to Uganda, and Montenegro this year.
Paul won his 6th world title and is now halfway to Ken Climo. While Paul had his longest stretch without a win, he got the most important title in the sport yet again. He was in the hunt at the USDGC, put on an all time performance at the European Open, and was only a few strokes back at the Master's Cup. Washed up? Gimme a break. I loved 2022 Paul, and I’m ready to witness some greatness in 2023 again.
Winner: Ricky Wysocki
Going back to Trilogy seems to have reinvigorated Ricky, and I’m all for it. He’s had huge moments this year and big wins. The DGPT Points Championship, DGPT Tour Champion, Ledgestone, Green Mountain, Dynamic Discs Open, and Texas States. Ricky arrived in a helicopter and he’s spending the offseason with the single season record for earnings $105,776. I think he earned best player in the world (in my book) for the first time since 2017 when he won worlds. This is a return to form from Ricky that had been missing. He’s consistent, doing well putting out “Iron Man Scratch” videos, and I can’t wait to see what heights he gets to in 2023.
I remember doing plenty of sponsorship tie-in practice in my sport finance classes. A successful sponsorship is beneficial to both parties. The DGPT received money to add to their biggest tournament payout ever, and Barbasol got product placement on DGN and the baskets. Whoever came up with the “close shave” replay, thank you. It was the first thing I thought of when I saw them as a presenting sponsor. And I want to see discs that almost hit trees in slow motion. That happened plenty of times at Nevin’s. Hopefully disc golfers go out and try Barbasol, and then everyone makes money off of it.
With Tattar as their first world champion since Birgitta Lagerholm (2004), Niklas Anittila finishing 2nd in the USDGC, and putting on what I consider to be the tournament of the year (The European Open). Europe had a huge year in the disc golf world. This is absolutely an American sport, but the most dominant player in FPO is from Europe, and there’s plenty of MPO talent there as well. As the season winds down over here and you’re looking for content to watch, check out MDG Media on YouTube. They commentate in English and there’s lots of great European players you can see here. With courses that are new to you, and content that you’ve never seen!
Winner: Taking a Break from disc golf
Lots of big names took some time off this year. Hailey King signed with Innova and in her interview said they told her to play as many, or few tournaments as she wanted. She won the USWDGC this year in her home state. Eagle McMahon took a break for his shoulder and to learn the left hand backhand. He won the 2022 European Open. Sometimes you have to walk away from disc golf for a bit to come back better physically and mentally. I look forward to when Heather Young makes her comeback on October 28th of this year. She lost the desire to play and I hope that she finds it again. Injuries and mental health are important to take care of. I empathize with Heather, as I’ve had times in the last couple of years when I got “disc golfed out.” Making your competitive outlet and your fun activity into a career is not for everyone. Whatever her choice, good luck!
New Opportunity: Nikko Locastro
He’s had his suspension reduced by the PDGA from 9 months to 6 months. I’m a fan of both the original suspension and the reduction. It gave Nikko some time to cool off, and hopefully work on presenting himself in a calmer manner going forward. And it gave the disciplinary committee a chance to look at a complex situation for more time. Giving Nikko a chance to get his livelihood back and come back to the course a more positive competitor was a good call. I’m looking forward to seeing Nikko play again in 2023.
New Opportunity: Innova’s Paywall for USDGC
I loved the 2022 USDGC, in fact I’ll be posting a blog about my experience there soon. I don’t love that you had to have a disc golf network subscription to watch. I pay the DGN annual subscription because I love watching live disc golf and can do it at work. If Jomez is offering coverage for free it’s still great for those folks to watch it later. This was the first year that Innova allowed the USDGC to be on DGN. In previous years I had to pay a separate cost to watch.
The USDGC is a major. It had a $25,000 prize. Depriving folks of watching a tournament is a bummer.
And I understand that as someone who works at a pay to play course, and at a business, you do need to make money. I hope that with commercials, sponsorships, and broadcasting rights, we’ll see the USDGC in post production coverage or live for free soon.
New Opportunity: Kona Panis
We all saw the press conference when Kona joined Team Dynamic Discs. She talked openly about her salary increase to $125,000 per year. It was met with a struggle of a year in which she only finished top 10 in 4 Elite Series Events.
Kona had 2 wins and 14 top 10’s in 2021. Maybe it was just an aberration of a season as she moved to Dynamic plastic from Innova, a company she’s thrown her whole life. I hope that with an extra season on the DD plastic Kona is able to play up to her standards in 2023.
New Opportunity: Discraft
The Athena is the only new Discraft disc that was released in 2022. I applaud Discraft in only releasing great discs the last few years. While some manufacturers push out 5-10 discs a year they only bring out 2 most years and they’re hits.
Captains Raptor, Passion, Scorch, Hades, Fierce, Malta, Anax, Zeus, Luna, Sol. These are the last 10 discs released before the Athena and you see them everywhere in players bags. I haven’t heard the enthusiasm for the Athena from players that I heard for all of those previous discs. They’re still one of the biggest companies in disc golf, producing more plastic than I can imagine. I just hope that they keep that track record of excellence they’ve shown over the last 5 years.
Overall I think it was an exceptional year for the Disc Golf Pro Tour. There were playoffs, amazing shots, and it featured plenty of drama to keep me coming back. I’m happy for a break for the players. They’ve been grinding every day since February, and a 4 month break from elite competition is in order for them. Don’t forget about the amazing camera crew, producers, editors, and everyone else who works to bring us live disc golf. It’s a huge operation and I hope that they consider 2022 the success that I think it was for them.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397