Winners & Losers From The 2021 World Championships

Winners & Losers From The 2021 World Championships

The World Championships have come and gone in dramatic fashion. A huge congratulations to James Conrad and Catrina Allen who both played incredible golf all weekend. They are worthy and deserving champions. James notched his first world title to go alongside his USDGC title. Catrina became a 2x as she got only her 3rd win of the season. It’s been a week of excitement from start to finish.

Now that it’s over I’d like to look at the winners and losers from this weekend.

Winners: James and Catrina.
I figured I’d start with the obvious here. If you haven’t seen James’s ace from round 2, or his throw in to force a playoff with Paul. Here’s the ace, and here’s the throw in that may be the greatest shot in disc golf history.
Catrina battled throughout the week and was the most consistent player off the tee. First in both Fairway hits and circle 1 in regulation. Catrina set herself up on every drive to be in contention. Her upshot on 18 is overshadowed by James' throw, but it was incredible from her. The FPO tension throughout the final round was crazy from the first hole to the last. Catrina played a huge part in us remembering Worlds 2021 for years to come.

Loser : PDGA
I think that this tournament going down to the wire in both MPO and FPO really helps people forget some very ugly storylines from this Worlds.
Brodie Smith stepped up and paid $1000 for the driving range on day 1 at Mulligans for MPO players to warm up. He posted on social media so that players would know they weren’t sharing their warm up area with ball golfers who would be hitting balls right next to them.
He was then labeled a “jerk” by PDGA President Justin Menickelli. Oh and the PDGA secured the driving range the next 3 days for MPO/FPO warmups. If it was so easy to get the driving range for 4 days total, well they had an entire year to do it. Brodie did it in minutes.
There needed to be lines at the Mulligans course on day 1. A lot of time was wasted on cards trying to decide in or out. Then adding them but not telling players until they showed up for their tee off… Blaming it on the local event planners is the biggest cop out ever. When your biggest tournament of the year is out there, send out some people to help and get everything taken care of.
Justin Menickelli also suggested that Paige Pierce was being roasted behind the scenes about her (totally valid complaints) about the USWDGC last month. Even though there was overwhelming support on social media for her from other players as well as fans.
Here is the video of his interview. It’s just a bad look for disc golf.

Winner: Disc Golf Network
From the sloppy choppy commercial machine it was a couple years ago, DGN has really progressed well. Following multiple cards at once for FPO and MPO has been game changing on that dead air time. The breaks feel natural, and less frequent. I’ve always been a fan of Doss, but adding Philo and Ian Andersen has stepped up the commentary for the MPO side.
Also if you were one of the 30,000 people watching live, you are one of the lucky ones who watched that moment unfold. Having the last day free on YouTube will undoubtedly bring people who were post production viewers to live viewership. I have a feeling that we’ll look back at this championship in 10 years and this will be the definitive turning point where people made the transition to live disc golf.

Loser: Discraft
I’m not labeling Paul/Paige as losers, they played so well and ultimately giant shots helped beat both of them on the last hole. If you could have told a Discraft rep that both of their star players had a 1 stroke lead going into the last hole they would have been ecstatic. There would have been 6x stamps, swag, and everything else that comes with a championship. Paul and Paige have had their faces on the PDGA page now for 2 years (since last worlds) and it would have been huge for them to both be wearing Discraft gear in those pics. Instead Catrina of Prodigy and James of MVP will have that coveted billboard space. Discraft is already making bank on the play of Paul and Paige, but you know they would have loved to market them more.

Winner: The Fort
This course designed by Jade Sewell has been amazing to watch with the best names in the world playing it. The best score on this course was 10 down, shot by Emerson Keith in round 2 and McBeth in round 4. After all the ball golf courses we’ve seen transformed into disc golf courses this year, it was a really needed change. Even after the cut on the last day 33 of the 84 remaining (best players in the world) shot over par. As soon as I heard Utah for the World Championships I knew it was going to be on Mulligans and I wasn’t pleased with it. This course definitely was championship caliber and was enjoyable to watch. I hope that The Fort finds its way into the tour every year or two.

Loser: Young Guns
This was going to be the year of the young guns! Eagle was a contender. Adam Hammes was supposed to be amazing. And dang it I wanted to see if Anthony Barela could make it to lead card again and not melt down.
While being in the Top 10 for Eagle, Kevin Jones, and Kyle Klein is all well and good this was a tournament where the veteran players seemed to dominate. Names we’ve seen at the top before like Conrad, McBeth, Barsby, Wysocki, Sexton, Dickerson, and Leiviska. The youngins had their chances at Mulligans to do some damage on those longer holes. I guess we’ll have to wait until the USDGC to see if these young guns will step up and take on the old guard.
From the FPO side it was Paige, Catrina, and Fajkus coming in up top before Hailey King. It’s still the old guard for FPO as well, at least for now. Hailey broke through in last year’s DGPT championship, so we’ll see if she or other young guns will make their charge later in the season.

A couple random thoughts I have about World’s.

  1. I liked having it early, it gives a break in between the World’s and USDGC which I consider the 2 titles of the disc golf calendar.
  2. 5 rounds was perfect, 2 courses was perfect. Watching the same course 4 times can get boring and that never happened here. It should be a requirement that there’s 2 championship level courses for each World’s from here on out.
  3. International players basically couldn’t compete in this World Championship. We had Simon, Thomas Gilbert, Albert Tamm, Silver Lätt and Kristin Tattar as the 5 to come and compete. I look forward to 2022 and beyond when we can have more countries represented. There’s still only been 1 winner not from the USA.
  4. 70 women competed in the 2021 FPO division. This is a record turnout for worlds and we only had 1 international player because of Covid-19 restricted travel. I’m so pumped to see the womens game continue to grow. With the top 4 separated by only 5 strokes it’s very competitive as well.

The 2022 World Championships will take place in Emporia Kansas. They hosted the 2016 Worlds where Ricky became a 1x and they were where Valarie Jenkins became a 4x and equaled both her brother Avery, and Husband Nate Doss in titles combined.

May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397