The world of sports has seen its fair share of famous rivalries. Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.
Disc Golf is no exception. Paul McBeth and Ricky Wysocki are two of the best in the sport. These two athletes have had a growing rivalry for years.
There have been many back-and-forth moments of trash talk and hubris over the years between Paul and Ricky. Things have even been controversial at times. However, their rivalry is a delight to watch during competition and has the disc golf community watching and waiting to see what is next.
Individually, these two players are fierce competitors. They both have had significant wins and successes over the last decade.
These two legends have shown us their dedication and love for disc golf, even while facing personal challenges and a global pandemic. But with the challenges also comes the tension.
The rivalry between McBeth and Wysocki has, at times, been a bit rigid though their mutual respect for the game and each other makes this rivalry the most exciting one in disc golf.
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Paul McBeth: A Great Competitor
Paul McBeth has been a longtime crowd favorite. With a career that is nothing short of legendary, McBeth can boast 135 career wins, including five World Championship wins, four of which were consecutive.
On top of that, McBeth has ranked 1st or 2nd in the World Championship every year since 2012. He came second in the 2021 Worlds Championship to James Conrad in an overtime round after Conrad’s famous 247-foot birdie throw in shot.
His presence in tournaments is “electric,” as Wysocki once stated. He is a confident and robust competitor.
McBeth made headlines and reached a whole new level of fame when he became the recipient of an unprecedented sponsorship. He received a $10 million endorsement from Discraft in 2020.
An endorsement that puts him in league with professional football and basketball players. This deal guarantees him $1 million a year for ten years, while his total career earnings are just shy of $600,000.
Not to mention all of his tour series disc earnings, which probably makes his contract earnings look insignificant.
Ricky "Sockibomb" Wysocki
In the last few years, Ricky Wysocki, or Sockibomb as many know him, has dominated disc golf and proven himself a force to be reckoned with.
He won two World Championships in a row in 2016 and 2017 and has been runner-up to McBeth four times. Some even consider him to have surpassed McBeth and is currently one of, if not the best, pro player today.
He is a headstrong and passionate opponent.
Wysocki has experienced personal hardship and tragedy. He contracted Lyme disease, which he has stated had a strong negative effect on him and his game. He praised his family and those close to him for helping him recover from the disease and get back into his rhythm.
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Unfortunately, his sister Lauren, one of those loved ones who helped him through this challenging time, passed away during the 2021 Dynamic Disc Open. An event that visibly affected him and every other player in the tournament.
Having heard the news, McBeth took it upon himself to assist Wysocki with tips and advice throughout the tournament. During an interview after the tournament, Wysocki stated how much he appreciated McBeth’s act of kindness and sportsmanship.
Wysocki has openly talked about these difficulties and the stress they have put on his game. Yet despite all of this, Wysocki has managed to climb to the top and shown time and time again that he is a motivated and talented competitor.
McBeth Vs Wysocki: How Do They Differ?
When it comes to tournament day, Paul McBeth’s game is more focused and calculated. He seems to always be calm and collected on the course, while Wysocki brings his own unique energy.
Wysocki can be charismatic and charming, while McBeth has a more enigmatic and stoic presence. The two competitive energies can be a thrill to watch.
Paul Vs Ricky: Similarities
Recently, McBeth’s PDGA rating dropped to 1050, allowing Wysocki to surpass him to the number one spot with a rating of 1054. A feat that has not been done in nearly eight years.
Wysocki’s rating fell to 1042 during his battle with Lyme disease, so to watch him climb back up take the number one spot is nothing short of inspiring.
Though PDGA ratings aren’t everything in disc golf, it is fun to see these two battle it out both on and off the course.
Watch Paul and Ricky battle it out in a sudden death playoff at the 2014 Worlds:
Additionally - both players can boast countless career awards. Both received the PDGA Rookie of the Year award; Wysocki in 2011, and McBeth in 2008.
McBeth has won the PDGA player of the year award three years in a row from 2013 to 2015, an award Wysocki had only achieved once in 2012.
On an international level, both players have shown that they are world contenders and have taken 1st place in the European Masters and the Aussie Open. McBeth has won the European Masters a whopping four times.
The Future Of Their Rivalry
Above all else, we can expect intense competition from these two passionate players. This rivalry has driven both of them to push themselves and constantly challenge each other.
Both have come a long way since the beginning of their careers, but the real treat is getting to watch them grow and develop around chains.