NT Series Finale Leads to Excitement

The 2015 National Tour wrapped up this weekend at the Disc Golf Hall of Fame Classic. Paul McBeth once again found himself in contention for the win, however was unable to outlast Michael Johansen in a sudden death playoff. A host of players were in contention all week long but it was “MJ versus McBeast” for all the marbles and it took them extra holes to determine the winner. However, Paul was victorious in the pursuit of his 4th consecutive NT Series Championship title, winning by over 80 points.

As we march towards the season’s final Open Major, the United States Disc Golf Championship, let’s recap some of the season’s top competitive storylines to help set the tone. Perhaps the biggest storyline of them all is Paul McBeth’s run at disc golf’s first, in-season grand slam. McBeth won the Australian Open back in January to claim the season’s first Major. He went on to capture wins at the Scandinavian Open, European Open, and the PDGA World Championships. Paul has only one event left to make history and it will be on a course and at an event, where he has never won.

The US Championship crown has proven to be difficult to capture over the years. This is especially true for those attempting to pull of the “Kenny Slam”, a phrase that affectionately describes the feat of winning both the World and US titles in the same season. Ken Climo was the first to accomplish the slam in 2000. He did so again in 2002, which gave birth to the Kenny Slam phrase. Barry Schultz is the only other player to win both events in the same year, which he did in 2003. It has not happened since.

Year

World Champion

Finish at USDGC

US Champion

1999

Ron Russell

12

Ken Climo

2000

Ken Climo

1

Ken Climo

2001

Cam Todd

15

Barry Schultz

2002

Ken Climo

1

Ken Climo

2003

Barry Schultz

1

Barry Schultz

2004

Barry Schultz

6

Ken Climo

2005

Nate Doss

6

Dave Feldberg

2006

Ken Climo

8

Barry Schultz

2007

Nate Doss

3

Ken Climo

2008

Dave Feldberg

3

Nate Doss

2009

Avery Jenkins

10

Nikko Locastro

2010

Eric McCabe

17

Will Schusterick

2011

Nate Doss

*2

*Ricky Wysocki

2012

Paul McBeth

7

Will Schusterick

2013

Paul McBeth

8

Steve Brinster

2014

Paul McBeth

2

Will Schusterick

2015

Paul McBeth

TBD

TBD

Note: The PDGA Championship in Augusta, GA served as the national championship for 2011.


For those who are now weighing Paul McBeth’s odds on the elusive grand slam, consider that the average USDGC finish for the player who won the World title that same year is 6th place. Paul McBeth’s average USDGC finish is 5th place (5.6) for his three years as World Champion. His lifetime average finish at the USDGC is 12th (12.6) place.

Another interesting storyline is how many playoff scenarios we have seen at recent National Tour and Major events. Last year at Pro Worlds we witnessed arguably the greatest final and playoff in World Championship history. Paul McBeth was able to outlast Ricky Wysocki in Portland to defend his World title. Then just two months later it was Will Schusterick, JohnE McCray, and Paul McBeth in overtime at the 2014 USDGC. Will Schusterick was victorious there, capturing his third US title. Shusterick now heads to Winthrop seeking not only to surpass Schultz in US titles, but also to keep McBeth from the grand slam.

Another fact that might have escaped the casual fan relates to Ken Climo and Barry Schultz. Along with Will Schusterick, Ken and Barry are the most decorated US Champions. Climo has five US titles. Barry and Will each have three. However heading into the Hall of Fame Classic, neither Climo or Schultz had even qualified for the 2015 USDGC. Both Ken and Barry delivered a strong message however, playing extremely well in the Open division and punching their tickets to Rock Hill. You can bet that players who are eyeing USDGC Monday Qualifying rounds for a tin cup effort to make the Open, breathed a collective sigh of relief.

There is no doubt Paul McBeth deserves the world’s #1 ranking. He is clearly the player to beat. However recent history might suggest that there are more players than ever heading to Winthrop with a legitimate opportunity to win. If that is not an exciting way to close out a phenomenal tournament season, we don’t know what is.

The upcoming United States Disc Golf Championship is one of the most fan-friendly events on tour. Please visit the tournament website for information, or follow the events live online. It is sure to be an exciting show and we look forward to seeing you there.

We would also like to congratulate Team Innova’s other top performers this past weekend:

Barry Schultz, Disc Golf Hall of Fame Classic – 6th Place Open
Ken Climo, Disc Golf Hall of Fame Classic – 8th Place Open
Valarie Jenkins, Disc Golf Hall of Fame Classic – 2nd Place Open Women
KJ Nybo, Danish Disc Golf Championships – 1st Place Open
Chris Becker, Eugene Disc Golf Celebration – 1st Place Open
Kyle Crabtree, Mountain High Disc Golf Tournament – 1st Place Open
Stephen Miller, Red Oak Rumble – 1st Place Open

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