2009 Disc Golf World Championships – Kansas City, KS/MO


First I will start off by saying that I have been waiting a decade for a World Championships to be hosted in Kansas City. They showcase some of the best courses in the country and it is centrally located which gives more players the opportunity to attend. I was very prepared and focused to play well; it had been my best season to date and I wanted to make it all worth it. I came into this World Championships the most mentally prepared than any Worlds before. This was my year; it was my turn to win.

The 2009 Disc Golf World Championships started off at the Blue Valley Disc Golf Course, which is deemed to be the Longest Disc Golf Course in the world, measuring 11,049 feet with a par 66. It is a challenging course with multiple Par 4’s and 5’s throughout its rolling hills and well-manicured fairways. I really like the design of the Blue Valley course and really appreciate that the course designers incorporated many par 4’s and 5’s as well throughout the course. That is something that I have always believe makes a total course, when there are several holes that require 2 to 3 excellent placed shots in order to score well on certain holes. It offers the same concept and intentions as golf and I believe that it will soon be the standard in course design in our sport. It is by far my favorite course that we were playing at this year’s Worlds because it was difficult to play for most and it fit into my strength of really airing it on almost every hole, allowing me to play very aggressively throughout the entire course.

It was a rainy, overcast day with the feeling of excitement in the air. I had the opportunity to watch players start out with the earlier tee times, as I got a late morning tee time giving me plenty of time to play some warm-up catch with Nate Doss in the parking lot. We also got the chance to throw some holes on a smaller 9 hole course that was installed on the property perpendicular to the massive Blue Valley Course, with some great up and down hill shots to get the feel of the elevation before heading for our rounds.

I was really excited to start this year’s Worlds, it had been my best season thus far and I really wanted to make a statement with a strong finish, looking to best my 3rd place finish in 2006. I was looking forward to the round but wishing that the rain would eventually let up; it’s not like I needed any other factors to contribute to an already taxing round on one of the most challenging courses in the world. I was just looking for a break in the weather.


The Putting was “On” at the World Championships – Photo by PDGA Tour

In the 1st round I had a slow start with par on the first 2 holes and was looking for something exciting to happen to get me fired up, waiting for such a moment is sometimes self initiated to really get things going. I blasted a pair of huge uphill shots on hole 3, getting a 50 foot uphill look for an eagle 3 on the difficult par 5 that I was more than prepared to hit. I smashed the huge eagle putt to get rolling and the feeling of taking over this round hit me. I continued to birdie the following long downhill par 4 and then experienced a birdie putt spit-out on Hole 5 due to the wet chains – it was a putt that would have stuck on a dry day. I shook it off and realized that I had well over 100+ holes to go in this week-long competition.

I then continued to birdie a majority of the holes throughout the first 14 holes to get to 10 under, making lots of big drives and long putts as the rain started to dissipate. It was all clear sailing from there on out. I smashed chains for Ace on the 400′ downhill Hole 15 which lead to a drop-in birdie. I was really feeling it this round, and it was time to finish in style. I scored an easy par on Hole 16 and a routine birdie on the par 4 Hole 17 with a solid upshot to the pin. On the tee of 18, I tried to forget how I was shooting and what score I was actually at, which was not the easiest thing to do at this point. I threw a massive drive over the trees that set up another giant shot up the hill on this long par 5. It was now time to make a critical decision, but it was not a time to get greedy after playing such an aggressive round, so I made the smart play of laying the next shot up for the stress-free birdie to finish the round with a New Course Record of 53 (-13). I believe that that Course Record will stand for a long time.

It was exactly the statement that I wanted to make in the first round of Worlds, putting me exactly where I wanted to be – on top of the Leader Board to start. I relished the fact that I just shattered the old Course Record by 3 strokes and still felt that I could have shot better, even though the conditions were less than ideal, but it didn’t seem to affect my strategy for play on that course or my shot execution throughout that round. A few strokes at minimum, but that round still bested the rest of the field by 3 stokes overall, making it known that I was there to play, with Coda Hatfield sitting in 2nd shooting a 56.

The 2nd Round was an early 8 am start held at Rosedale Park, and it would be the only time that we would get to play this course as well. The Rosedale Course consists of wide open fairway shots for the most part with some woods, but what made the course challenging was that it was designed on a prominent elevated bluff that features steep drop-offs that punished errant shots. It was not the most difficult course in the World Championships, but it is a course that you have to score well on in order remain in a top position in the tournament. Plus we only got to see this course once and had no chance to get redemption on any of the holes if we missed them.

It was a slow start as it was very early in the day, and the long grass was completely soaked from all of the rain from the day before. The wet conditions also lead to many of the putting greens that were in the woods being surrounded by a slippery mud that seemed to cover the entire area around the baskets. I was driving great but only capitalized on a few birdies on the wooded front of the course. I picked up the pace a little on the wide-open back 9, where there was more opportunity to score. I finished by scoring birdie on 3 of the last 4 holes to shoot a 49 (-5), which was the 3rd hottest score, with a 47 by both Doss and Ulibarri being the best of that round. I was satisfied with my mediocre round knowing that it didn’t hurt my starting position as I increased my lead to 5 strokes after 2 rounds heading into Thornfield.


Rosedale – Birdie Putt on Hole #18 – Photo by PDGA Tour

The 3rd round was held at the Thornfield Course way South of Kansas City – a newly designed private course that was installed just for Worlds. It was a challenging course with a great mix of wooded and open holes; it had lots of tight, long drives off the tee followed by very technical putting greens. It had a variety of some par 4’s and 5’s that made the play a little more difficult, but it also had a few holes where it was almost better to opt to throw over the top of the trees instead of trying to take on the unreasonable fairway. It was again one of the courses that we would be only playing once, meaning that you had to play it great the first time because it was going to be the only time.

We had a late afternoon tee time starting at 2 pm, giving the players a lot of time in between our morning rounds at Rosedale – maybe almost too much time for most. It is sometimes difficult to get going again where you left off the morning round even hours later that same day, but it was Worlds and I needed to bring it at this course. I got the pleasure of playing with my good friends and past World Champions – David Feldberg and Nate Doss – and my good friend Paul Ulibarri. We were all looking to put on a show. I was on fire out of gates, picking up birdies on several of the early holes on the front. I really thought that I was starting to separate myself from the pack when I chased down a huge 70′ footer for Eagle on Hole 5 soon after watching Doss knock down the same putt from about a foot to my left. The entire group scored an Eagle on the hole and we were all looking to play exceptionally well this round. I made another huge 50′ footer for birdie on the extreme hyzer around the corner on Hole 13 and scored birdie on 2 of the final 5 holes to finish with a 50 (-10) for the round. I increased my lead to 7 strokes after the first 3 rounds and felt great about my first 2 days of the World Championships.

It was an amazing feeling to be in the lead by 7 strokes, but I tried not to really think about the magnitude of the event. I just wanted keep extremely relaxed when not playing and keep to my game plan that got me to the position that I was at. Its difficult not to think about the end result, but in reality, the tournament was not even at the halfway point. I knew that if I played the aggressive game that I know how, I would be tough to beat throughout the week.

The 4th round commenced at 8 am the next morning at one of my favorite courses in the country, Waterworks, not because of the length or difficulty of the course but because it has such a unique layout. This course is described as having many trees with lots of elevation changes, some of it quite extreme. It has a good combination of long, open holes and short, accurate ones. Waterworks is a beautiful park with stunning skyline views of downtown Kansas City and the Missouri River. I really enjoy playing this course because it offers lots of opportunity to score and rewards some uphill power drives; thankfully we would have another chance to play this course during the Semi-Finals round as well. It is definitely one of the marquee courses that we played during the World Championships and has always been a staple to many of the KC Wide Open tournaments of the past.

I also love the start of this course off Hole 1, and in my opinion it is the best starting hole in Disc Golf. It is a giant sloping hole over a valley with the basket sitting down to the left on an extreme downhill grade at about 550′ with the beautiful cityscape of downtown Kansas City in the backdrop. I started the round by throwing a tremendous shot and skipping down to the pin settling about 35′ feet away. I nailed the downhill death putt to start off the morning the right way. I was ready to really get things going as I shredded the front 9, shooting a dominant 5 under par to extend the lead. I showed no signs of letting up on the elevated back of the course, and I really took control of the round. I shot a 4 under with a bogey on 14; it was only my second bogey of the tournament. This was one of my best rounds that I have ever shot at Waterworks to finish with a 45 (-9) for the hot score along with Josh Anthon off the 2nd Card. I played great throughout the round and again extended my lead to 9 strokes after 4 rounds, and there was no looking back at this point….or so I thought.


Cliff Drive – Approach Shot on Hole #6 – Photo by PDGA Tour

The 5th round was our first round at the Cliff Drive course. I had actually practiced that course more than any other course that we would play throughout the week at Worlds. The course plays around the old municipal reservoir and is one of the highest points in Kansas City. It features a great mix of long open shots and some technical wooded holes, and this course also has lots of Out-of-Bounds areas on the Back 9. It’s a challenging course but it all comes down to throwing the shots when it counts most. The round was supposed to start at 2 pm that afternoon, so we made sure that we got there at least an hour before to get in some warm-up holes. But due to a back-up on the course that afternoon, our round was postponed until 4 pm which actually meant that we arrived 3 hours before our round even started.

The waiting around that afternoon didn’t help with my focus and meant that it had been over 5 hours between the end of our first round in the morning and the start of the second round that day. I was definitely prepared for that course, but on the first 9 holes of the round my shots didn’t seem to pan out for me. I felt that I was trying so hard not to lose strokes when I had been playing to gain strokes on the field in previous rounds. I tried to keep it together on the longer second half of the course where I got the chance to open up on some distance shots, but I didn’t capitalize on some of the shorter holes coming down the stretch. It was definitely a lack of concentration, and I realized that I was not as focused as I had been in previous rounds due to the length of the day and the heat.

I approached the tee of Hole 17 thinking of ways to salvage that round, trying to forget about the total lack of focus and to stop trying to play off other players’ shots. Hole 17 is one of the most difficult holes on the entire course; it requires a perfectly placed drive and a very skillful upshot coming into an extremely slanted green with a drop off hill to the left leading straight to OB. I watched all 3 players before me throw some long roller shots down the hill ending up in great looks at the approach to the pin. I decided after watching their shots that I would divert from my original game plan and opt for the roller shot as well, but my shot took a few errant bounces and took an immediate right, rolling straight out of bounds. I was then left with about 180’ to the pin, and I went with a forehand shot and had the misfortune of having my approach shot hit next to the basket and taking a long roll down the hill OB. I then missed the putt and carded a 6 on the hole, my largest score of the entire tournament, giving a few of the players on my card 3 strokes on that one hole.

Out of frustration I missed the following upshot on Hole 18 to bogey out the round and scoring by far my worst round of the World Championships, a 56. I soon realized that some other players, besides the ones on my card, had made incredible moves to the top cards as Josh Anthon made up 7 strokes during that round and Matt Orum made up 11 strokes on my lead by shooting a Course Record 45 (-9). I still remained in the lead by 2 strokes, making it even more of a highly-contested event from there on out.

That round proved to be the most crucial round of the tournament, a round that made me realize how truly bad I wanted to win despite giving up a sizeable lead to the rest of the field. My good friend and current World Champion, Dave Feldberg, had told me a story following that round how he had also lost the lead during the 2008 World Championships during the 5th round as well and still went on to win despite having to overcome such disappointment. I took that story to heart, and was not going to let that one round affect my play the rest of the tournament.

I tried to shake that round, but I only became angry when I thought about giving up such a lead to the rest of the field, because 2 strokes is not as comfortable as the 9 strokes that I began the round with, knowing that I had to play that very same course the next morning. I had another long talk with Nate Doss after the round, and he tried to calm me down telling me that I now had two choices at this point: I could let that round affect the rest of my tournament and let it quite possibly cost me the World Title, as it was exactly what the other players chasing me wanted to happen, or I could come out the following day and play like the Champion that I knew that I was, proving my power and strength to the entire field. I chose the second option as I knew that this battle was far from over, and I was sure that I wanted to win more than anyone.


Getting Ready to Battle for the World Title – Photo by PDGA Tour

As I came out for the 6th round the following morning, I was ready to fight for what was rightfully mine. It was another early 8 am start out at the Cliff Drive course, where I still had thoughts of what had transpired the previous round and was not about to let that happen again. I needed to score on many of the holes that I had let pass me by the previous afternoon. These were not difficult holes, but it was challenging to get putts on some of the holes sometimes. Although I had a better start to the round, Josh Anthon was making every putt that he faced. It soon became a very close battle between Josh and me, with Matt Orum right on my heels. After holding the lead for the entire tournament, Josh soon tied it all up on Hole 8. Josh then took the lead on the very next hole with a Birdie on Hole 9. I then tied him up with a Birdie on Hole 10 and regained the lead on Hole 12. We continued to trade off the lead through a series of holes on the back, and Josh regained the lead yet again on Hole 15. He was playing great and gained another stroke on Hole 16 before finishing with an amazing 46 (-8). I finished the round with a 50 (-4), which was 6 strokes better than the previous round, but Josh ended up edging me out by 4 strokes on the round to take a 2 stroke lead in the tournament.

Again, I felt disappointed that I had given up the lead because I wanted to win from start to finish, but no one ever said that it was going to be easy. It was going to be a battle until the end, and I was more than ready to take it on. It was our only round of the day before having to play the Semi-Finals at Waterworks the following day, so we went back to house to relax for the afternoon. As I sat back in the hot tub trying to contemplate how I was going to retake the lead, I realized that I needed to get back out there and practice. Nate and I waited until the late afternoon heat slightly dissipated, presenting an ideal afternoon for a practice round out at Waterworks. We went out there and threw multiple shots on every hole for the entire round, which gave me the opportunity to really dial in many of the shots on the holes that I would be playing the following morning.

The 7th round, which happen to be the Semi-Final Round, began early Saturday morning at Waterworks – the same course that I had played well at the first time through in the 4th round shooting a 45 (-9) and had diligently practiced the afternoon before. This was going to be the round for me to regain the lead and take back control of this tournament. I played very conservatively to start, just keeping pace with Josh as he was still carrying over his great play from the previous 2 rounds, and his putts were still on point. I was definitely very aware of where I was in the match between us, but didn’t let it really affect my play. I got 1 stroke back on him in the first 5 holes leading into Hole 6, where Josh made an errant drive that kicked immediately right down a steep embankment. This was probably the most challenging hole on the entire course, not because of the length of the hole, but because it was sometimes difficult to make it down the fairway without getting in trouble. Josh was experiencing just that as his disc landed way down the hill on the right side of the fairway with nothing left for a shot as he attempted to pitch back to the fairway for an open 3rd shot. But not this time. It took him 2 shots to make it back to the fairway and another to get to the green, giving him a 25′ to save a 5. He missed the putt wide left and his putter fortunately came to rest on the side hill and avoided rolling back down the hill. He dropped his putt in for 6, while I played the hole perfectly, carding a 3 to go from back by 1 stroke to in the lead by 2 strokes. The tides had turned at just the right moment, and now it was time to take control.

We continued on as I capitalized on many of the holes that I had practiced the day before, scoring a few birdies on the remaining holes on the front, but Josh kept pace throughout that stretch. The battle continued onto the back as I really started forcing some huge shots in order to score. We traded off birdies until he made an amazing throw on the epic Hole 14, absolutely parking the hole for birdie. He then birdied 3 straight coming down the stretch to finish the round, while I continued to miss putts on that same stretch of holes, to give him again a 1 stroke lead going into the last 2 holes. I didn’t panic in any way and knew that I would have another opportunity to get back in this match.

I sat back and watched as Josh took the tee on Hole 17, only to witness the door swing open as he pulled his tee shot wide right into the street OB on the drive. I quickly took advantage of the situation by driving a shot to land uphill from the hole and hitting a downhill 25’ footer for birdie. As he surrendered 2 strokes and bogeyed the hole, I regained the lead. I am very much a believer in the power of momentum, especially during a battle such as this, and I felt everything change dramatically. Going into the Final Hole 18 of the Semi-Finals, which is an extreme uphill shot, I knew that I needed to take full advantage of my power and reach this hole to finish the round. I smashed the drive off the tee, leaving me a difficult uphill 18’ footer. He threw his tee shot short on the hill and missed his putt for birdie to finish. I took my time, knowing that this putt could make all the difference, took a deep breath and sank the putt to take a 2 stroke lead shooting a 46 (-8), taking all the momentum going into the Final 9.

So I had over 3 hours to prepare for the Finals as every division had to play their Final 9 on the very same course that they had set up at Blue Valley that I would be playing later that day. I wanted to get to there early just to calm my nerves a bit and give me ample time to stretch and warm up before the Finals. Nate, Val and I definitely walked the entire course hours before the Finals started just to be prepared for many of the holes that we never played during any of the previous rounds. We were unfortunately not allowed to throw any of the holes because there were other divisions playing their Final 9’s at that time. But the Final 9 layout seemed really basic and not too difficult, so I really didn’t need to throw the holes in order to know what to throw.


The Final 9 – Putt on Hole #4 – Photo by Lauren Lakeberg

The Final 9 had been set up in such a way so as to incorporate the first 3 holes on the Blue Valley course, the next 5 holes being very short holes, and the final hole finishing at the main stage where the Awards ceremony was to take place. It was very spectator-friendly layout with lots of room for a gallery to navigate without being in the way of the players on a majority of the holes. It was a layout with a large variance between really long Par 4’s and very short holes, all holes where there could be a great change in scores. It was going to be a battle until the end.

Val started her round with a 16 stroke lead over Des Reading going into the Finals. Reading then had a 12 stroke lead on Nicole Frazier for 3rd. Valarie had more than secured the win throughout a phenomenal week of play and was playing a Victory Final 9 where she could really show off her skills to the crowd. She gained 9 strokes during the Semi-Finals shooting a 1017 rated round and she averaged an amazing 992 rating throughout the previous 7 rounds, a round rating that dominated the entire Women’s field at the World Championships. She ended with a 14 stroke win in route to her 3rd Consecutive World Title remained the Best Female Disc Golfer in the World. It was now my turn to hold up my end on the deal and win as well. It was my turn.

The Men’s Finals started soon after Valarie dropped her last putt. I couldn’t believe how excited I was to play in another Worlds Final 9, my last one having taken place in 2006 in Augusta, GA. My idol and newly inducted Hall of Famer, “Crazy” John Brooks announced this year’s Finalists, Josh Anthon, Cale Leiviska, Matt Orum and myself. I could feel the intensity building and the rush throughout my body as the names were announced as we all stepped out on the teepad of the first hole of the Final 9.


The Leader Board going into the Final 9 – Photo by PDGA Tour

I started with a tremendous drive on the 803 ft Hole #1 just to get the nerves out, but threw my upshot wide on the approach. I lost a stroke to Josh on the very first hole as he threw an amazing approach to score a birdie 3. We then both scored par on the 2nd hole to keep my lead at 1 stroke. I then took advantage of the distance of Hole #3, which measured 696’ and played uphill the entire way as I made a huge second shot and hit a long 30’ footer for 3 as Josh struggled to score a 5 on the hole. I then regained a 3 stroke lead. It was the start of the Final 9 that I had hoped for, and I believed that I was just going to take a victory lap into the final 6 holes.

I remained in the lead by 3 strokes as we both scored par on the next hole across the water, and I was feeling like I had this tournament all wrapped up at this point with just 5 holes remaining in the event. Unfortunately, things from that point on did not go as well as planned when I chained out for birdie on the short uphill Hole #5 while Josh got a stroke back on that hole. I somehow changed my game plan at that point in the match, electing to throw the next downhill straight shot a bit short instead of opting for the high percentage sidearm spike shot that would have carded me a birdie on that hole. I took another par as Josh continued to birdie that hole as well, cutting the lead to 1 stroke yet again. I seemed to lose focus quickly at this point, but it didn’t seem real. In my mind, there was no way I was going to lose, no matter how many holes he birdies. It was still my time.

I then left the next drive short as well and missed the putt out of pure frustration as Josh birdied to tie me up going into the last 2 holes of the Final 9. I lost the lead as Josh had just reeled off 3 straight unanswered deuces on the shortest holes of the Final 9; it was too unreal that I had let this happen. I could have birdied those holes blindfolded. The stage was now set in front of a gallery of 1500+ spectators and it was all coming down to who wanted it the most. We both birdied the short uphill shot on Hole #8 as I nearly missed hitting the basket for Ace to really finish in style.


The Final 9 – Drive on Hole #9 – Photo by PDGA Tour

The last and final hole of the Final 9 was a long 480’ across an asphalt road with an island green, the awards stage to the left side of the island and the basket in the center for all to witness the final putts. It was the hole that I wanted to birdie so very badly, but unfortunately left the shot short right side, only to toss up a last chance birdie effort in hopes to win in regulation as Josh made his par putt to stay tied. I walked off that hole more pumped than ever, screaming “Let’s Go!” I wanted to end this battle as quickly as possible.

We both walked back to the starting hole and commenced a playoff, only the second playoff for a Men’s Open Title in PDGA History. It was going to be a show for the ages. We made our way to the teepad followed by an increasing number of spectators; the gallery increased to 2000+ as we walked by Tournament Central. I told Josh before we started the playoff, “Whomever wants it the most and deserves it the most is going to win today!” I wanted this more than anyone the entire week; I wanted this more than anyone in the World.

This playoff for the World Title was the most intense battle in Disc Golf that I have ever been a part of, yet the pressure seemed to turn into a deep feeling of intensity. We both started out with pars on Hole #1 as I threw what seemed to be an errant upshot which nearly stayed in bounds – I thought that I may have lost the tournament when I shanked the shot wide right. But fortunately, it stayed in play somehow. We both squandered opportunities on the first hole to win, so we proceeded. I made a good shot on Hole #2 leaving me a downhill 35’ foot putt for the win, and Josh threw his drive wide right and was forced to lay up on the treacherous side hill green. The thought of winning rushed over me as I contemplated just ending the tournament right there, right then. I looked over at Feldberg and asked him if I should run this putt, but got back a simple shake of the head which signified an obvious “No.” I took his advice and laid up the putt, to the obvious disbelief of many that watched. But because of there was a great possibility on a missed putt of hitting and rolling away, there was still a chance of losing and it just wasn’t the time for such action. I also didn’t want to take that chance, especially considering that we were going into the next 2 holes which happened to be the longest holes of the Final 9. I liked my chances, plus Josh had taken a bogey 5 on Hole #3 the last time, so the pressure was placed on him at that point. We both played the next hole well; I missed a long Eagle putt and we both carded easy birdies on the difficult uphill hole.

I could feel the intensity kick up a notch as I seemed to be almost running the course, always ready to throw the next shot. We both threw decent shots on Hole #4, leaving Josh with a routine approach which he placed about 20’ to the right while I had a really demanding approach around a group of trees between the basket and me. It was the moment of truth, this is what I might consider the most clutch shot that I threw the entire Final 9. I asked my father and caddy at the time what I should throw, especially in the conditions of a left to right crosswind and everything on the line. It was a demanding shot either way, but I didn’t like the chances of throwing the hyzer shot to the right under some branches with a crosswind that could push the shot to the ground short of the basket. The sidearm route was definitely the longer and more difficult of the two options, but it had the left to right crosswind helping to bring the shot back to the basket. We agreed that I should throw the sidearm – which I barely threw around the trees and almost hit the basket from my angle – as it skipped 20’ uphill looking back down toward the basket. We both hit our important birdie putts and moved to the next hole.

The next hole, Hole #5, is a low ceiling uphill shot that played around 300 ft with the elevation and wind conditions at the time. I threw my Blue Champion Firebird high and wide right but it fell short of the pin, and I could not believe how it seemed to drop right out of the air. Josh stepped up and threw a very similar shot but slightly lower that never faded back toward the basket as it drifted right to about 40 ft. pin high on the side hill.

It seemed as if every shot increased with importance as the playoff progressed. It was coming down to it; I could just feel it. I could not bear to watch as Josh lined up his long uphill putt and sailed his putt chain high, left side with no chance of going in.

I then approached my disc, which seemed to be a lot further away from the basket than when I saw it from the tee. It was about an 18 – 20 ft. slight uphill putt. I stepped away from my lie and took a deep breath, because I knew that this was my time. After 140 holes throughout the week, it was my chance to end the playoff. I gained my composure as I started to go through the motions, envisioning myself in the back yard putting, just making this same putt like I have done thousands of times before. I was just trying to make everything else disappear, the distractions and the people, and it was just the basket and me at this point.


The Winning Putt – Photo by Lauren Lakeberg

I promised myself that I had to commit everything that I had to this putt, extending and reaching for that basket. I remember everything up to the point when I released the disc, and it was about half-way to the basket when I knew it was in. Time had frozen for that split second, and when everyone erupted, I let it all out right there as I let out a victorious roar. Val came running up and was the first to hug me as she leaped into the air and I caught her. Feldberg and my father were next, as I hugged them both at the same time. My mother could not stop screaming as she ran in circles beating on my arm. I picked her up and twirled in place, giving her the biggest hug that I could give. She is a Three-Time Disc Golf World Champion herself and knew just how it felt at this very moment. I could feel the emotions from everyone that got to witness and experience everything that Josh and I had just displayed. It is a World Championship that will be remembered for years to come.

It felt so surreal. I couldn’t believe that it was all happening at that moment. It was something that I have dreamt about since I was young, to become a Disc Golf World Champion. It made it extra special to win alongside my sister Valarie to become the first siblings to ever to be World Champions. She said during her Victory speech that she would give all her World Titles to see me get this one this year; that meant so much for me to hear that and know how badly she wanted to see me win. It meant a lot to me that my family and friends could be there with me, to support me throughout the week and celebrate victory in the end. It is something that has changed my life from that day forward, because it was my turn and I believed that I could win no matter what went down throughout the tournament. I knew that I was going to win the entire week because I wanted it more than anyone out there. It was my time and I knew it all along.

I had been told since I was young that I was destined to win a World Title. So many people truly believed it, and yet it took me years before I could actually realize it. I have had all the skill and all the ability to win; it was about putting that all together to make it happen. I really think the main reason was that I believed I could do it and I played fearlessly the entire week because I wanted to win so badly. I wanted to be a World Champion more than anything, and it was meant to happen through sheer will and determination.

Some think that winning the World Championships is everything, but winning the Worlds this past year is just a stepping stone for things to come. Because great things happen to great people and to those who want it most, with all the passion that they contain. You just got to believe.

Thanks to Pete Cashen for putting up the entire crew throughout Worlds. Thanks to my idol, “Crazy” John Brooks for inspiring me to play my best. Thanks to the amazing tournament staff that made the 2009 Worlds so incredible. Thanks to all of my Sponsors whom have always supported me and that make it possible to do what I love for a living. Thanks to Valarie for being an unbelievable sister and seeing the greatness in me long before the actual result; it meant more than anything for us to win the World Championships together. Thanks to my parents, Leroy and Sharon, whom have shown me the way, throughout life and in Disc Golf, I am grateful for everything that they have given and taught me. Thanks to all my friends and family that have supported me throughout the years and helped to make this dream of mine a reality.

Team Jenkins - World Champions

Team Jenkins – World Champions – Photo by Mike Jenneman

One Comment on "2009 Disc Golf World Championships – Kansas City, KS/MO"

  1. Avery,

    The site looks great, but please don’t forget to credit your photographers.

    -Lauren Lakeberg 🙂