Paul McBeth, the world’s top-ranked disc golfer, has become the richest athlete in the sport’s history after signing a record US$10 million endorsement contract with Discraft to represent the manufacturer through 2031.
“It’s mind-blowing to me to think that the 17-year-old me — or even before that, the 14-year-old me — made the right move to put myself in this position and be able to propel the sport to potentially the next level,” McBeth said in a YouTube video announcing the blockbuster deal on Wednesday. “I feel like this is just the beginning.”
The 30-year-old, from Huntington Beach, California, is widely regarded as disc golfing’s biggest star with 130 tournament wins and US$510,680 in career earnings, the Professional Disc Golf Association’s (PDGA) Web site says.
Wednesday’s deal is an extension of an initial four-year contract that McBeth signed with the Michigan-based company ahead of the 2019 season, which was worth a guaranteed US$1 million in addition to royalties and a percentage of Discraft disc sales.
Discraft team manager Bob Julio described that deal as a success.
“Blew away my expectations in three months,” Julio told Ultiworld Disc Golf. “We outgrew the first deal — the four years — we outgrew that in a year, and we started discussing that we need to restructure things and make it long term, more so than four years.”
A one-time accomplished shortstop who played baseball until he was 21, McBeth took up disc golfing when he was 14 and joined the professional ranks in 2008, when he captured Male Rookie of the Year honors.
He won four consecutive PDGA world titles from 2012 through 2015, then a fifth in 2019 after recovering from a back injury.
McBeth’s banner year came in 2015, when he won 19 of 25 events, and completed the first and only grand slam in the sport’s history by sweeping the five events then classified as major tournaments in a calendar year: the PDGA World Championships, the US Disc Golf Championship, the Aussie Open, the European Masters and the European Open.
“I was playing baseball since the time I was in a crib,” McBeth told the Peoria Journal Star in 2019. “So throwing is something I was comfortable doing, something I was good at.”
“My father played a little disc golf. So when I was 14, I started up with that, too,” said McBeth, who was first in the PDGA’s most recent rankings, marking the fifth time that he has finished as the year-end world No. 1.
The PDGA claims more than 71,000 active registered members in 40 countries.
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