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McBeth, Pierce Remain Atop PDGA World Rankings


Paul McBeth is the top-ranked disc golfer in the world once again. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen

The 2019 season was historic for Paul McBeth and Paige Pierce, as the dynamic duo collected their fifth PDGA World Championship titles and PDGA Player of the Year accolades.

It’s no surprise, then, that as the 2020 season begins they will enter competition as the top-ranked players in the world.

The End of 2019 PDGA World Rankings were released today, with both McBeth and Pierce retaining their hold on the top slot from the end of 2018. In addition to their world championship crowns, each were rewarded handsomely for their average round rating over the previous 12 months (WRPR), victories at the European Open (EURO), and dominance on both the PDGA National Tour (NET) and Disc Golf Pro Tour (DGPT) stages.

How PDGA World Rankings are calculated »

McBeth and Pierce, though, are not the only story in this rankings update. Perhaps more significantly, the PDGA Board of Directors and PDGA Tour Manager approved a change to the rankings formula with an eye toward the results more accurately reflecting the level of talent in the sport’s upper echelon. Previously, all six of a player’s points categories were evenly weighted, causing a low finish at a single tournament to weigh down a player’s ranking.

Now, if a player has received points in four or more categories, their worst category is dropped if that number is worse than their WRPR. Here are two examples from the table in practice:

  • McBeth: Received points in four of five categories. His WRPR is 1, and he finished 64th at the United States Disc Golf Championship. The 64 is dropped.
  • Rebecca Cox: Received points in four of five categories. Her WRPR is 11 and she finished ninth at Pro Worlds, so the 9 is retained.

As a result, a player with a single low finish is less likely to be penalized in the rankings if they have a track record of otherwise outstanding play.

Finally, the new World Rankings have yielded one more change: Instead of a single annual installment, the standings will also be updated throughout the season. Expect fresh updates to the list on the same day as the May, August, and November player ratings updates.

World Rankings Observations

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Top-flight international talents like Henna Blomroos crashed the list in a big way. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen

McMahon's in his rightful place. It registered as a surprise and garnered some social media rancor when Eagle McMahon dropped to 10th place in the 2018 year-end rankings. It was a bogey in the rankings formula, for sure, and now that it’s been addressed McMahon is slotted in at third. He still hasn’t quite broken through the World Rankings Major barrier (yes, he has one to his name, from the 2018 Konopiště Open), but his consistency on the PDGA National Tour and Disc Golf Pro Tour is paying dividends.

Second place doesn’t exist for Pierce. A sign of how truly dominant Pierce was in 2019: Her runner-up finish at the United States Women’s Disc Golf Championship was able to be dropped from her rankings calculation because it was her lowest entry. Wow.

The world is where you make it. Despite not competing west of Kansas in 2019, Chris Dickerson still managed to snag a top 5 spot in the rankings. That’ll happen when you snag top 5 spots at Pro Worlds and the USDGC.

International women are on the rise. Three of the top six women’s players in the world call Europe their home, with Finland’s Henna Blomroos and Eveliina Salonen and Estonia’s Kristin Tattar making their mark. Ironically enough, Blomroos, the highest-ranked of the trio, was the only one who didn’t rack up a stateside win in 2019.  

Welcome back, Simon. While the internet was abuzz about McMahon’s 2018 ranking, few mentioned Simon Lizotte’s drop to 17th after dismal showings at Smugglers’ Notch (25th) and the USDGC (52nd). The German star rebounded with an eighth-place showing at Peoria’s Pro Worlds and netted three high finishes on the National Tour to soar back up the table and into sixth.

Clemons is cruising. The 10-14 slots were full of significant jumps, but none more than that of Chris Clemons. Disc golf’s top-rated left-hander is now the top-ranked left-hander, as Clemons used a late-season surge to move up 38 spots in the World Rankings. "It really reflects how the top players in the game are playing at the big tournaments, so it's really cool to see," Clemons said on the February 5, 2020, episode of PDGA Radio. "That gives me even more excitement to get that top 10 and keep working for more." 

The next generation of women is waiting. The average age of 14th-ranked Valerie Mandujano, 17th-ranked Hailey King, 19th-ranked Heather Young and 20th-ranked Callie McMorran is 19.25. The future is bright in the FPO field.

MPO World Rankings: Top 10

Full MPO rankings »

Rank Prev Name PDGA Country WRPR RR Worlds USDGC Euro NET DGPT Points
1 1 Paul McBeth 27523 US 1055 1 1 64 1 · 1 1
2 2 Richard Wysocki 38008 US 1049 2 2 · 3 2 2.3 2.1
3 10 Eagle Wynne McMahon 37817 US 1045 3 8 7 2 2.5 2.5 3.3
4 5 James Conrad 17295 US 1035 9 3 1 8 4.8 4.8 5.1
5 7 Chris Dickerson 62467 US 1040 4 5 5 · · 13.3 5.9
6 17 Simon Lizotte 8332 DE 1038 6 8 53 9 4.5 3.3 6.1
7 6 Kevin Jones 41760 US 1037 7 7 33 9 6.8 3 6.6
8 15 Calvin Heimburg 45971 US 1039 5 20 28 · 2.5 4.5 7
9 9 Nathan Sexton 18824 US 1037 7 6 10 15 12.8 · 8.3
10 21 Garrett Gurthie 13864 US 1029 14 12 19 · 7.3 2.8 10.7

 

FPO World Rankings: Top 10

Full FPO rankings »

Rank Prev Name PDGA Country WRPR RR Worlds USWDGC Euro NET DGPT Points
1 1 Paige Pierce 29190 US 979 1 1 2 1 1.4 1 1.1
2 4 Catrina Allen 44184 US 976 2 3 6 3 0.8 1.5 2.1
3 7 Henna Blomroos 59227 FI 963 3 4 · 2 · · 3
4 10 Kristin Tattar 73986 EE 962 4 6 1 5 1.3 · 3.2
5 2 Sarah Hokom 34563 US 962 4 5 4 · 1.8 2.8 3.4
6 3 Eveliina Salonen 64927 FI 962 4 2 · 4 · · 3.7
7 6 Paige Shue 33833 US 948 7 20 4 · 2.1 5 5.4
8 11 Rebecca Cox 32917 US 943 11 9 3 · 8.1 3.5 7.6
9 5 Jessica Weese 50656 US 943 11 13 8 · 4.1 4.8 8.3
10 9 Madison Walker 59431 US 944 10 17 · · 6.8 3.8 9.6

 

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