Next up in our Q & A Series is Paul McBeth. Paul is one of the most decorated players in the history of our sport and is a 5X PDGA World Champion, in addition to being a 2X Ledgestone Champion.
1 - COVID-19 has thrown the world upside down. What have you been up to the last 6 weeks as the world has essentially been on shutdown?
It’s been a pretty wild 6 weeks with a lot of unknowns. It’s been emotional and that’s covering all emotions. Sad for those affected by the illness, happy for those who have needed this family time. Anxiety for those who had plans to travel the world and uncertainty for those who are wondering what’s next. To answer your question it’s been a refreshing time, it’s probably been 14 years since I’ve had a spring without disc golf being the centerpiece.
2 - Last year was your first full year with Discraft. How would you assess that the transition has gone?
If we’re going off stats, beyond anyone’s expectations. If we’re going off how I felt my game was, still lots of room to grow and improve. I’m still building a bond with some of the molds but I’m slowly figuring it out.
3 - The season was only a few weeks old when things got shut down. How have you been able to stay active and sharp with your game?
Unfortunately I was dealing with an injury most of last year and the healing process took most of my offseason away so I’m actually training like it’s the offseason right now. I’m also very fortunate to be designing a course that’s not open to the public so I’ve been able to sneak out and throw some.
4 - Last year you won Ledgestone and then several weeks later won your 5th World title. Did winning Ledgestone give you an edge going into Pro Worlds?
Being the World Championships I feel gives me an edge. I live for the competition and I know the World Championship brings out the best in all the players. Winning Ledgestone is a big deal but I don’t think it gave me an edge over anyone else.
5 - The final round of 2019 Pro Worlds is the most watched disc golf video in our sport's history. Ricky was charging the entire round. Was there ever a moment in that final round that you had a doubt that you were going to win?
I’ve seen that, it’s incredible! I never doubted myself at any point during that tournament but I did know there were key moments where I had to execute or I wouldn’t be in the driver’s seat anymore. Even if Ricky had passed me, I still wouldn’t have doubted the fact that I was going to win the event.
6 - You announced earlier this year that you would shut down your season early based on advice from your doctor. Has the COVID-19 situation changed your plan?
That’s a difficult question, I think it’s changed a lot because we still don’t know if the season will start again. I will still get a re-evaluation on my ankle but if the doctor says hey this isn’t playable then I can’t argue with her.
7 - You have gotten to design several discs with Discraft. What is the process like on your end when you get to be involved in the design of a disc?
Great question and I should clear some rumors I’ve heard/read. The Zeus is an original mold that Discraft and I designed. I still have the original drawings that I sent them. I think some people mixed up the Kong mold Discraft made in the early 2000’s which if made would be like a 15/16 speed. That’s why it’s isn’t legal, it doesn’t meet PDGA specs. Back to the process part, it’s been different each time actually. The Zeus I drew up a design I felt would be great for a distance driver and would fit well with the molds Discraft already had and we absolutely nailed it. Something like the Malta was designed off a flight pattern we were looking for so we could go more off previous designs Discraft had tried but didn’t seem to fit what they were looking for at the time and we could add or subtract all sorts of characteristics.
8 - The professional tour looks to be shut down for at least two more months with the cancellation or postponement of many top tier events. Would you support professional events coming back later this summer without fans?
Fans are a huge part of the game and when we had to compete at WACO without fans it was extremely weird and almost eerie feeling because nobody truly knew what was about to happen. I feel it will still be a bit weird at first but it’ll become normal for the moment and as long as fans can watch from the safety of their homes or hopefully watch parties by then we should be professional enough to handle the silence.
9 – Northwood will be featured in the Ledgestone Insurance Open for MPO this year for the first time in several years. How do you feel this course played last year at Pro Worlds?
Northwood Golds is a beast and I’m excited to get back out there and attack it once again. It’s a great challenge and compliment to Eureka Lake.
10 - You dealt with an injury that shut down your season late last year. How is your ankle feeling?
Could be better, could be worse. We’ll see how this season pans out. Thank you for the questions.
Thanks to Paul for answering our questions and thank you to everyone for tuning in to our series. We have one more interview to go and it’s a long one! Dan “Stork” Roddick is coming up next, PDGA #003.