How did the top disc golfers on tour stack up in 2020?
February 22, 2021 by Jesse Weisz in Analysis with 0 comments
As we get ready for the 2021 professional disc golf season, I thought it would be interesting to use data visualizations to look at what happened in 2020. Without National Tour events, the focus this past season was squarely on the Disc Golf Pro Tour. You can find the full set of tournament results here.
In this article, I will focus on the player ratings for each tournament from the top eight MPO and FPO players at the end of the year Pro Tour standings.
I started by putting all of the round ratings in a spreadsheet and then calculated the average round rating for the selected players at each of the ten pro tour stops.1 For example, we can look at Calvin Heimburg’s four rounds from the Memorial Championship. He shot a 1st round 1096, 2nd round 1076, 3rd round 1044, and a 4th round 1077. The average of those four rounds was 1077, which so happens to be the highest-rated DGPT average tournament rating in 2020.
Here is the full season MPO in one graph (you can select individual players to compare in the text box):
The graph below will provide even more context for this past season. You can mouse over any of the points on the graph for more information. Here are the different metrics covered:
- Worst Tournament Rating: This was the player’s worst DGPT tournament average. Represented by a blue dot, this will typically be the furthest left point on the graph.
- Best Tournament Rating: This was the player’s best DGPT tournament average. Represented by a yellow plus, this will almost always be the further right point on the graph.
- Average Tournament Rating: Represented by the orange diamond, this is the average of all of a player’s DGPT tournament rounds in 2020. As a result, it always be somewhere toward the middle of the graph.
- PDGA Player Rating 1/1/20: Represented by the purple Y shape, this is the player rating the player had entering into 2020.
- PDGA Player Rating 12/8/20: Represented by the green triangle, this is the final player rating for each player in 2020.
Click each metric to toggle it on and off.
- Nikko Locastro really over-performed expectations in 2020. As you can see, even his worst tournament average in 2020 — 1025 — was better than his player rating of 1023 coming into the year. You can see that his average tournament rating in 2020 (orange diamond) is above his player rating at the end of the year (green triangle) as well. Not surprisingly, Locastro also had the highest player rating jump of these eight players, boosting it 14 points during the year.
- Paul McBeth and Kevin Jones were the only players whose PDGA ratings declined throughout the year.
- I found it odd that McBeth’s actual player rating at the end of the year was lower than his average tournament rating. This must have something to do with carryover ratings from 2019 or other rated tournaments in 2020 outside of the Pro Tour.
- McBeth’s average DGPT round rating of 1055 in 2020 was better than everyone else’s average round or player rating at the end of the year. Even though he may have felt less subjectively dominant in 2020 compared to 2019, there are many metrics pointing towards him as the player of the year.
- Ricky Wysocki had the largest range of results due to his slow start at the beginning of the season as he was still recovering from Lyme disease.
- Chris Dickerson was the most consistent player on tour with only a 31 point difference between his worst (1030) and best tournament (1061). While not included in the graphs in this article, he averaged 1051 in his USDGC win.
- Heimburg having the same exact average tournament rating as end-year rating feels perfectly on-brand to me.
I used the same system for FPO’s top eight finishers from 2020. Here are the tournament averages:
And here is the FPO connected dot plot graph, which uses the same metrics and symbols as MPO:
- Paige Pierce dominated the field in 2020. Part of that was certainly due to her European competitors not being able to make it over to the US for most of the season, but her average tournament rating was a 992! This is higher than the best single tournament rating from any of her competitors besides Hailey King’s 1000 rated average at the Green Mountain Championships. The same goes for Pierce’s end of the year player rating of 991.
- Pierce’s top tournament average was 1024 at Jonesboro. Her best individual round was a 1057 (!) in the third round of the Memorial.
- Not included in this graph, but Pierce had 14 DGPT rounds over 1000-rated. The other seven top DGPT tour finishers had a total of 11 1000-rated rounds between them.
- King, like Locastro, really over-performed expectations in 2020. Her worst tournament average in 2020 — 951 — was better than her player rating of 941 coming into the year. Her average tournament rating in 2020 is above her player rating at the end of the year too.
- Not surprisingly, King also had the highest PDGA rating jump of these eight players, raising it 21 points during the year.
- Catrina Allen was the only player among these eight to have her player rating go down from the start of the year to the end.
- Allen was at least consistent in terms of her tournament ratings: she had the smallest difference in rating between her lowest (950) and highest rated tournaments (988).
- Kona Panis had the widest range of ratings, ranging from 862 to 960.
- Heather Young only competed in 6 of the 10 DGPT tour stops, yet she still managed to finish in 8th place in tour points. An auspicious sign for the up-and-comer.
I did not include any Silver Series results ↩