2023 Disc Golf World Championships Preview

With the 2023 PDGA World Championships right around the corner, the spotlight turns to Smugglers’ Notch in Jeffersonville, VT. Players from around the globe prepare to test their abilities and forge their legacies on disc golf’s most challenging and prestigious stage. Here are the top 25 contenders poised to leave their mark on disc golf history and walk away with the title that will forever immortalize their names among the sport’s most elite.

2023 PDGA pro worlds cover

The Favorites

1. Paul Mcbeth – Everyone knows that Paul’s not having a great season by his normal standards. He may have done well on the European Tour, but he hasn’t had a single victory Stateside on the DGPT this season. He’s played less events, had a much worse average finish than previous seasons, and most recently has been dealing with an injury. But he’s still a six-time World Champion, and he’s finished in 1st or 2nd place at every single World Championship across the last 10 years. This is his Super Bowl, and until he has a non-podium finish in this event, there’s just simply not a reason to consider him anything but the favorite coming into it.

Paul McBeth 10 consecutive years in a row top 2 in PDGA Pro Worlds
McBeth’s incredible statline at the PDGA Worlds 2012 – Present.

What Discs Does Paul McBeth Use?

Paul McBeth is considered as one of the best MPO disc golf players of all-time. Check out the full list of discs Paul McBeth uses by clicking here!

Paul McBeth IN THE BAG 2024 – Team Discraft

2. Calvin Heimburg – No one is playing better than Calvin this season. He’s the best disc golfer in the world currently, and he’s consistently been a top 5 golfer over the past 4-5 years. Calvin will almost certainly be in the mix on Sunday at Fox Run, and if this was simply based on pure talent and all around game, I would have him as the odds on favorite. He has finished top 5 in 16 out of 19 tour events this season, and has won 2 Elite Series events and 1 Silver Series event.

Calvin Heimburg DGLO. Photo by DGPT / Kevin Huver
Calvin Heimburg putting. Photo by DGPT / Kevin Huver

3. Gannon Buhr – Gannon is the only person who has won more on tour than Calvin this season. What a year for the 18 year old phenom. He has a legitimate claim to the title of “best disc golfer in the world”, and has been the best putter on tour over the last 2-3 seasons (Step aside Marwede, Wysocki, McMahon, Ellis, and McBeth). Calvin is more consistent at the moment, but when Gannon is on, he’s on. He has more wins on tour this season than anyone with 3 elite series victories and 2 silver series wins. His ability to close out tournaments should put him in a great position to win his first World Championship.

Gannon Buhr @ DGLO. Photo by DGPT / Kevin Huver.
Gannon Buhr. Photo by DGPT / Kevin Huver.

4. Ricky Wysocki – As a 2 time World Champion, 4 time player of the year, and the Joker to Paul’s Batman across their careers… you could easily argue that Ricky is too low at 4. While it’s true that Ricky is not having his regular Ricky-level season we are used to because of an injury and some missed time, he has still been quietly dominant. In his limited time on tour this season he has 2 wins, a Silver Series victory at Cascade, and an Elite Series win at The Preserve. Not only has he won twice, but he’s also finished top 10 in all but 3 events on tour this season. And maybe most importantly, Ricky almost always wins at Smugglers’ Notch as he did once again last season at the Green Mountain Championship. He has the 3rd highest rating on tour, and he’s proving that Ricky is still Ricky… He’s just doing it a little more quietly. Is it the quiet before the storm? Look out for Ricky to come after World Championship #3.

What Discs Does Ricky Wysocki Use?

Click here to check out Ricky Wysocki’s in the bag!


Bona Fide Challengers

5. Eagle McMahon – Eagle is still Eagle. He no longer has the power forehand and missed some time early in the season (after missing much of last season), but he still has a top 5 rating on tour. He is also 3rd in Udisc’s Dominance Index and 4th in tour points (despite less of a schedule than many others.) With his epic win at the European Open last season, his Silver Series victory on tour this season, and Top 5 finishes this season at DGLO, European Open, Preserve, Cascade, Play It Again, and The Championships Cup, he really appears to be clicking on all cylinders again. He’s a threat to win any tournament he enters.

Eagle McMahon preparing to throw a backhand. Photo by DGPT / Kevin Huver.

6. Simon Lizotte – What’s not to love about Simon? We’ve always known how special he is, but last season he put everything together and won 4 elite series events. There’s only a handful of people who have had similar seasons. He can disappear from time to time but when he’s on, he is hard to beat. He doesn’t crack under the pressure. Coming off of his huge win at DGLO, I expect Simon to make a run at his first World Championship.

Simon Lizotte DGLO MPO Champion 2023
Simon Lizotte DGLO MPO Champion 2023. Photo: DGPT / Kevin Huver

What Discs Does Simon Lizotte Use?

In the beginning of the 2023 season, Simon Lizotte signed a 10-Year, $10 million sponsorship contract with MVP Disc Sports. Check out the full list of discs Simon uses by clicking here!

Simon Lizotte in the bag – Team MVP

7. Isaac Robinson – With his wins at Idlewild last season and his first major victory at the Champions Cup this season, Isaac has shown he has what it takes to win big events. With 10 top 10 finishes in his last 15 events on tour, he’s also shown that he is one of the most consistently great disc golfers on tour. He may not be able to throw as far as some of the other top tier golfers, but that doesn’t seem to slow Isaac down at all, and historically The World Championship has been kind to “all around” golfers (Think James conrad, Nate Sexton, and Gregg Barsby.) Keep an eye on Isaac to make some noise at Worlds.

8. Chris Dickerson – Chris certainly isn’t having his best season, but he’s coming off of a podium finish at DGLO and will be looking to ride that momentum into Worlds. What Chris also has going for him is the courses at Smugglers’ Notch set up perfectly for his game and he historically plays very well at the World Championships. In his last 5 World Championship appearances he has placed 12th, 4th, 5th, 12th, and 5th respectively. Look for him to be in the mix again this year.

If They Get Hot, They Can Win it All

These are all great golfers who have flaws, but whose A+ game can compete with anyone in the world on any given day. If any of these guys get hot, they could walk away with their first World Championship.

9. Cole Redalen

10. Corey Ellis

11. Anthony Barella

12. Kyle Klein

13. Kevin Jones

Cole Redalen throwing a sidearm. Photo by DGPT / Kevin Huver.

Consistent Golfers, Great Shot at Top 10

I don’t see these players being much of a threat to win, but they always seem to slang the disc well in whatever tournament they play in and seem to collect a lot of top 10s. All 3 of these golfers may be arguably better than some of the golfers in the above tier, but they haven’t yet (or recently) shown that God Tier level of disc golf where they can keep up with the biggest talents in the game down the stretch.

14. James Proctor

15. Niklas Anttila

16. Matt Orum

Niklas Anttila disc golf 2023
Niklas Anttila, the highest rated European disc golfer.

2023 Champions and Highest Rated Rounds

Who has played the highest rated round in MPO and in FPO during the 2023 season? Click here to see all the highest rated rounds!

2023 DGPT, ET, EPT & Major Tournament Champions and Highest Rated Rounds

They Get a Bump for this Tournament

These guys all get a bump for past performance at this tournament. James won the whole thing in an epic performance 2 years ago with the Holy Shot and slaying the dragon (Paul) in a playoff, Gossage took Paul to a playoff and finished 2nd, Nate, even though he has a limited tour schedule these days, id still a great golfer and his last 3 performances at World’s have all been top 10 (9th in 2022, 3rd in 2021, and 6th in 2019), Barsby doesn’t play much on the DGPT anymore, but he saves some magic for certain events. He is a former World Champion in 2018 and it just so happens that it was at Smugglers’ Notch. He also placed 7th at the GMC last season which was also, you guessed it, at Smugglers Notch. No one should be surprised if any of these guys make some noise.

17. James Conrad

18. Aaron Gossage

19. Nate Sexton

20. Gregg Barsby

1X World Champion James Conrad. Photo by DGPT / Kevin Huver.

The Long Shots

The best of the rest, could one of these guys surprise everyone?

21. Ezra Aderhold

22. Bradley Williams

23. Ezra Robinson

24. Joel Freeman

25. Adam Hammes

Joel Freeman @ DGLO. Photo by DGPT / Kevin Huver.

Honorable Mentions:

Lauri Lehtinen, Alden Harris, Andrew Presnell, Nikko Locastro.

Nikko Locastro @ DGLO. Photo by DGPT / Kevin Huver.

TOP Tournament Prize Money Earners in 2023 – July Update!

Ever wondered how much money do professional disc golfers earn in tournament winnings? Check out the top earners list by clicking here!

TOP 20 Tournament Prize Money Earners in Disc Golf in 2023 – July Update!

Jesse Austin

Jesse is an avid disc golfer from New Jersey, USA.

Recent Posts