All Disc Golf World Champions & Most Top 10s: Open

Alex Williamson avatar
Alex WilliamsonWriter, Editor
Sep 3 • 4 min read
Collage of male and female disc golfers
Collage of the only players with multiple world disc golf championships in Open. Top row left to right: Ken Climo, Paul McBeth, Nate Doss. Bottom row left to right: Harold Duvall, Barry Schultz, Ricky Wysocki. Duvall photo: Part of a still from the documentary First in Flight: The History of NC Disc Golf. All others: PDGA.

In 1982, the Professional Disc Golf Association held the inaugural Disc Golf World Championship in California. It was the first world championship ever solely dedicated to disc golf. From 1975-1981, the winner of the disc golf portion of the World Frisbee Championship, which featured a variety of disc sports, was considered the world champion.

Notably, the 1982 event featured only an Open division. An Open Women's division was added in 1983 and has been offered ever since. This post specifically focuses on winners of the Open division, but we highly encourage you to take a look at our post listing every Open Women's disc golf world champion, too.

Though disc golf's Worlds (as it's commonly called) is a roving event that has only taken place in the same city in successive years one time in its history and the totals of rounds and courses players have been asked to play have fluctuated widely, the prestige its winners have earned has been constant. Those with a win at Worlds are forever etched into disc golf history.

Below you can find a table noting every pro Worlds winner in the Open division along with how much money they earned, who they beat and by how many strokes, what city they won in, and more. We've included some of the most interesting things we noticed in the stats, too.

You can also take a look at which players have made the top 10 most often, again with a few of our favorite takeaways included.

All Disc Golf World Champions: MPO/Open1

Year Winner Win Margin Host City Rounds Played Top Prize
Prize Inflation Adjusted Second Place
2022 flag-us.svgPaul McBeth Playoff Emporia, Kansas 5 $20,000 - Aaron Gossage
2021 flag-us.svgJames Conrad Playoff Ogden, Utah 5 $16,500 $17,993 Paul McBeth
2020 N/A. Cancelled due to pandemic. - - - - - -
2019 flag-us.svgPaul McBeth 1 Peoria, Illinois 5 $10,000 $11,567 Ricky Wysocki
2018 flag-us.svgGregg Barsby 2 Jeffersonville, Vermont 5 $10,000 $11,750 Paul McBeth, Josh Anthon
2017 flag-us.svgRicky Wysocki 8 Augusta, Georgia 4 $12,000 $14,405 Paul McBeth
2016 flag-us.svgRicky Wysocki 6 Emporia, Kansas 5.5 $10,000 $12,293 Paul McBeth
2015 flag-us.svgPaul McBeth 9 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 6.5 $6,000 $7,459 Ricky Wysocki
2014 flag-us.svgPaul McBeth Playoff Portland, Oregon 7.5 $5,000 $6,228 Ricky Wysocki
2013 flag-us.svgPaul McBeth 5 Crown Point, Indiana 7.5 $5,000 $6,334 David Feldberg
2012 flag-us.svgPaul McBeth 5 Charlotte, North Carolina 7.5 $5,500 $7,113 Ricky Wysocki
2011 flag-us.svgNate Doss 7 Santa Cruz, California 5.5 $7,000 $9,180 Will Schusterick, Josh Anthon
2010 flag-us.svgEric McCabe 5 Crown Point, Indiana 7.5 $5,500 $7,464 David Feldberg, Paul Ulibarri, Josh Anthon
2009 flag-us.svgAvery Jenkins Playoff Kansas City, Missouri 7.5 $5,500 $7,567 Josh Anthon
2008 flag-us.svgDavid Feldberg 14
Kalamazoo / Battle Creek, Michigan
8.5 $6,000 $8,082 Nate Doss
2007 flag-us.svgNate Doss 1 Highbridge, Wisconsin 7.5 $5,500 $7,837 Markus Källström
2006 flag-us.svgKen Climo 5 Augusta, Georgia 7.5 $5,500 $7,992 Nate Doss
2005 flag-us.svgNate Doss 3 Allentown, Pennsylvania 8.5 $5,000 $7,543 Matt Orum, Barry Schultz
2004 flag-us.svgBarry Schultz 9 Des Moines, Iowa 9.5 $5,300 $8,291 Ken Climo
2003 flag-us.svgBarry Schultz 6 Flagstaff, Arizona 7.5 $5,000 $8,025 Markus Källström
2002 flag-us.svgKen Climo 14 Houston, Texas 9.5 $4,500 $6,660 Barry Schultz
2001 flag-us.svgCam Todd 6 St. Paul, Minnesota 8.5 $3,065 $5,116 Steve Rico
2000 flag-us.svgKen Climo 8 Ann Arbor, Michigan 7.5 $7,303 $12,521 Barry Schultz
1999 flag-us.svgRon Russell 4 Rochester, New York 9.5 $4,000 $7,092 Ken Climo
1998 flag-us.svgKen Climo 4 Cincinatti, Ohio 8.5 $3,581 $6,493 Scott Stokely
1997 flag-us.svgKen Climo 7 Charlotte, North Carolina 9.5 $3,000 $5,528 Scott Stokely
1996 flag-us.svgKen Climo 3 South Bend, Indiana 9.5 $3,600 $6,781 Geoff Lissaman
1995 flag-us.svgKen Climo 4 Port Arthur, Texas 9.5 $2,350 $4,554 Mike Randolph
1994 flag-us.svgKen Climo 18 Port Arthur, Texas 9.5 $2,500 $4,971 Joe Mela
1993 flag-us.svgKen Climo 4 Huntsville, Alabama 9.5 $2,539 $5,195 Dean Tannock
1992 flag-us.svgKen Climo 9 Detroit, Michigan 9.5 $3,500 $7,396 John Brooks
1991 flag-us.svgKen Climo 10 Dayton, Ohio 7 $2,700 $5,856 Eric Marx
1990 flag-us.svgKen Climo 1
Scottsdale / Mesa / Fountain Hills, Arizona
10 $2,042 $4,597 Sam Grizzaffi
1989 flag-us.svgSteve Wisecup 3
Waterloo / Cedar Falls, Iowa
8 $2,000 $4,718 John Ahart
1988 flag-us.svgJohn Ahart 2 Cincinatti, Ohio 6 $3,900 $9,710 Sam Ferrans
1987 flag-us.svgGregg Hosfeld Playoff Toronto, Ontario, Canada 7 $2,500 $6,441 Michael Sullivan
1986 flag-us.svgJohnny Sias 7 Charlotte, North Carolina 6 $1,090 $2,944 Clint McClellan
1985 flag-us.svgHarold Duvall 2 Tulsa, Oklahoma 6 $2,000 $5,497 Eric Marx
1984 flag-us.svgSam Ferrans 5 Rochester, New York 5 $1,000 $2,846 Johnny Sias
1983 flag-us.svgJeff Watson 5 Huntsville, Alabama 6 Tom Monroe
1982 flag-us.svgHarold Duvall 4 Los Angeles, California 4 $675 $2,047 Dave Dunipace, Joe Ursino

If you're wondering about all those half rounds, they're there because a "Final Nine" was once extremely common at disc golf world championships. They've fallen out of favor more recently, though.

In case you don't have the time to comb through the table for some of the biggest and/or most interesting takeaways, we've put together some of them for you below.

WINNERS & RUNNERS UP

  • Who is the current disc golf world champion?
    Paul McBeth

  • Who has won the most disc golf world championships?
    Ken Climo has more disc golf world championships than any other player: 12. He had a nine-year streak from 1990 to 1998 and added three more thereafter. These results earned him the nickname "The Champ."

  • How many different disc golf world champions have there been?
    19 different players have won the Open division at a pro disc golf Worlds. Only six players have won the event more than once, and only three players (Ken Climo, Paul McBeth, and Nate Doss) have won it more than twice.

  • What is the largest margin of victory ever at a disc golf world championship?
    18 strokes: Ken Climo over Joe Mela in 1994.

  • Did you notice Paul McBeth's streak?
    If you didn't, it's worth noting that McBeth has been first or second at every World Championship since 2012. That's 10 consecutive times taking the number one or two spot at the sport's biggest tournament on a wide variety of courses.

  • What is the average margin of victory at disc golf world championships?
    Counting playoffs as 0, the average margin of victory at disc golf world championships is 5.2 strokes.

  • Who has the most second-place finishes at disc golf world championships?
    Paul McBeth, Ricky Wysocki, and Josh Anthon have come in second place four times at disc golf world championships, the most runner-up showings in the Open division. Paul McBeth has won the event six times (2012-2015, 2019, and 2022) and Wysocki won the world title in 2016 and 2017, but Anthon has never won a title.

  • How many playoffs have there been at disc golf world championships?
    Five. In 2022, Paul McBeth beat Aaron Gossage in a one-hole playoff. In 2021 James Conrad beat Paul McBeth after "the holy shot" from Conrad on the 18th helped propel the two to a playoff. In 2014 Paul McBeth beat Ricky Wysocki after a spectacular five-hole playoff. In 2009 Avery Jenkins beat Josh Anthon, and in 1987 Gregg Hosfeld beat Michael Sullivan.

MONEY MATTERS

  • What is the most money anyone has ever won at a disc golf world championship?
    $20,000, which Paul McBeth won in 2022.

  • What is the all-time average for the top prize at disc golf world championships?
    Not adjusted for inflation, the top prizes over 40 iterations of the disc golf world championships average out to winners earning $5,204. Inflation considered, it comes to $7,620.

  • Have those averages changed in recent years?
    Quite a bit. Since 2016, the average payout is $13,083 unadjusted for inflation and $14,668 adjusted.

LOCATION

  • Has the disc golf world championship ever been played outside the U.S.A.?
    Just once. In 1987, the disc golf world championship was played in Ontario, Canada.

  • Which city has hosted the most disc golf world championships?
    Charlotte, North Carolina, has hosted more disc golf world championships than any other city: three.

  • Has anyone not from North America ever won a disc golf world championship?
    No. The closest any person not from disc golf's continent of origin has come to winning a disc golf world championship is Swede Markus Källström when he lost by just one stroke to Nate Doss in 2007. He'd come in second once before in 2003, six strokes behind Barry Schultz.

    Notably, non-North Americans have won in the Open Women division.

    We also need to do a mea culpa here. The original version of this article said Källström had come closest to the world championship of anyone from outside the United States, not just North America. We overlooked that Canadian Michael Sullivan came in second after a playoff in 1987.

Players with the Most Top 10 Finishes at Pro Disc Golf World Championships

Though there's little sweeter than a world title, simply finishing near the top at a disc golf world championship means your skills are some of the best in the game. And if you've managed that feat multiple times, it's an even greater testament to your abilities.

Knowing this made us interested to go beyond just the champions and runners-up and learn which players had the most top 10 finishes at world championships.

Here are the top 20 in Open: 

Rank Name Top 10s Total Championships Played Top 10 %
1 Ken Climo 19 21 90%
T2 David Feldberg 14 17 82%
T2 Steve Rico 14 25 56%
4 Barry Schultz 12 21 57%
T5 Nate Doss 10 18 56%
T5 Geoff Lissaman 10 16 63%
T5 Paul McBeth 10 14 71%
T5 Matthew Orum 10 17 59%
9 Ricky Wysocki 9 11 82%
T10 Nikko Locastro 8 15 53%
T10 Mike Randolph 8 12 67%
T12 Cale Leiviska 7 13 54%
T12 Mike Moser 7 10 70%
T12 Scott Stokely 7 9 78%
T15 John Ahart 6 12 50%
T15 Randy Amann 6 9 67%
T15 Josh Anthon 6 10 60%
T15 Nate Sexton 6 12 50%
T15 Steve Slasor 6 10 60%
T20 Steve Brinster 5 21 24%
T20 John Brooks 5 7 71%
T20 Sam Ferrans 5 17 29%
T20 David Greenwell 5 18 28%
T20 Brad Hammock 5 8 63%
T20 Will Schusterick 5 11 46%
T20 Cam Todd 5 12 42%

These are some of the most interesting takeaways from the table:

  • The Champ wins.
    Unsurprisingly, Ken Climo, the player with the most disc golf world championships in history, holds the records for both most top 10 showings and the highest percentage of top 10 finishes in this table. What you can't see here is that he also has the highest percentage of top 10s among anyone who competed in the event more than twice. Impressively, he managed that percentage while also competing in over 20 World Championships in Open, a number that has only been reached by a total of seven players.

  • Poor Rico.
    Steve Rico has competed in the Open division at more pro Worlds than any other disc golfer in history (25). Another record he holds – likely a little begrudgingly – is the most top 10 showings with no world title among them (14). As you can see in the table of champions and runners-up from earlier, he's also had just one second-place showing (2001).

  • Matt Orum tied with McBeth and ahead of Wysocki in top 10 finishes.
    Orum is around age 30 like contemporary elite players McBeth and Wysocki, but until recent years, he wasn't touring as intensively as either of them. It may surprise many that Orum has just as many top 10 showings (10) as McBeth and is actually ahead of Wysocki by one.

We'll Keep You Posted

We plan to update this post as soon as the disc golf world championships take place each year, so keep it in a safe place if you'd like to find it again.

If you enjoy breakdowns of disc golf stats like this or are looking for great disc golf travel tips and stories, this blog has what you're looking for. For one, we imagine people who loved this post will also dig our piece "Money Talks: Disc Golf's All-Time Top Earners & More." It could also be worth subscribing to our newsletter to make sure you always know what we've posted lately.


1. The information in our table of winners was taken whenever possible directly from PDGA event pages. On rare occasions, the information on those pages differs slightly from the information the PDGA has in its own overview of Worlds winners.

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