Brodie Media Stats & More: Possible WACO Feature Cards

UDisc Staff avatar
Mar 12, 2020 • 6 min read

There's been a lot of discussion of YouTube star and newly minted disc golfer Brodie Smith's appearance on the feature card of round one of the Disc Golf Pro Tour (DGPT) event the Waco Annual Charity Open, which begins later today. You can hear a thorough debate on the topic on the Ultiworld Disc Golf podcast the Upshot.

Given this discussion, we thought it would be interesting to explore both the PDGA's regulations regarding a feature card and multiple ways a WACO feature card in Open could theoretically have been configured based on an array of stats and factors.

PDGA Regulations

With approval from the selected players and the PDGA Tour Manager, a tournament can create a "super group" for media purposes. You can find the PDGA's exact wording regarding this here.

There are no guidelines from the PDGA for how to pick a feature card, so it's left up to the discretion of the tournament, tour, or media companies to select. Goals for feature cards may vary from getting the most views on coverage, featuring players from the local community, or rewarding players selected by the tournament sponsor.

Random Grouping


One way that a group could be created is giving all players an equal chance to appear on coverage by choosing randomly among all competitors. We used to sort the 117 Open players at WACO randomly just to get a feel for what that might look like. Here's the feature card we got:

Player Rating
Terry Rothlisberger 1022
Christopher Gomez 953
Aaron Collins 961
Paul Ulibarri 1028

Note that we included ratings above just for context. They were not used as a factor in selection.

Of course, appearances on round one feature cards are rarely chosen in an egalitarian way considering they are intended for "media purposes" (i.e., to get more people to watch or feature someone that an organization involved in the tournament would like to promote or reward). Below we look at lead card configurations based on various methods through which players could "earn" a feature card spot.


One straight-forward method for picking a feature card is to just sort by PDGA rating. This is how that card would have looked for WACO:

Player Rating
Paul McBeth 1061
Eagle McMahon 1052
Richard Wysocki 1049
Simon Lizotte 1044

Previous Champions


Another practice that's been used to create feature groups before is putting together former winners of the event being played. Since WACO has only been part of the DGPT for the last three years, though, the task of making a previous champions group is a little tricky. That's especially true considering Jeremy Koling repeated as champion in 2017 and 2018. One possible fix for that could be including the runners-up in those years, both of whom only lost to Koling in a playoff. Using that logic, a former champions/near champions card could have looked like this:

Player Year(s) Won Year Runner-Up
Paul McBeth 2019  
Jeremy Koling 2017, 2018  
Nate Perkins 2018
James Conrad 2017

Fan Vote


Many tournaments use a fan vote to help fill in one or more spots on the feature card. We've analyzed which players on UDisc Live have been favorited the most by fans in previous articles (see here and here). Having popularity and/or high interest among fans in seeing your results goes a long way toward winning a fan vote, so people in the top 10 of our most favorited list would likely have had an advantage if that had been the method used to create the feature card. Below is that list from 2019, with players ineligible to be on the 2020 WACO Open feature card marked:

Rank Name Favorites
1 Paul McBeth 6,889
2 Eagle McMahon 4,109
3 Richard Wysocki 3,850
4 Simon Lizotte 3,694
5 Nathan Sexton (not at WACO 2020) 2,700
6 Kevin Jones 2,591
7 James Conrad 2,544
8 Paige Pierce (Open Women) 2,210
9 Jeremy Koling 1,525
10 Garrett Gurthie 1,438

Title Sponsor Picks

The 2020 WACO is presented by Prodigy Discs. As the title sponsor, Prodigy is helping support a lot of necessary tournament functions and coverage, so maybe they deserve to pick the whole feature group?

Going by rating the top four Prodigy players at the event are as follows: 

Player Rating
Cale Leiviska 1036
Kevin Jones 1035
Väinö Mäkelä 1031
Cameron Colglazier 1030

Local Talent


WACO is the only DGPT event in Texas, one of the biggest disc golf hubs in the world. Maybe that could've been honored by exclusively featuring the best pros from the Longhorn State. Here are the highest-rated Texans at WACO:

Player Rating
Emerson Keith 1028
Bradley Williams 1026
Mason Ford 1019
Nate Perkins 1019

Media Exposure

Another reason a tournament might feature players is their proven appeal to media consumers. Running the numbers, there was one Texan (though not the highest-rated one) who stood way, way out in this regard. Below is a graph showing the number of subscribers to YouTube channels that publish disc golf-focused content:

Brodie Smith's channel is also leading in view counts of videos released in 2020:

Channel Views # of Videos
Brodie Smith 2,568,628 21
Central Coast Disc Golf 1,834,695 31
Simon Lizotte 1,799,611 24
thediscgolfguy 533,781 32
Gatekeeper Media 417,427 33
GK Pro 352,092 19
Disc Golf Pro Tour 259,026 10
Paul McBeth 256,181 3
DynamicDiscs 249,807 28

The top four most-viewed videos from disc golf channels were all posted by Brodie Smith. Looking outside disc golf focused channels, the most viewed disc golf video of 2020 actually comes from Rhett & Link. Their disc golfing tortilla video was posted just four days ago and already has over half a million views.

Enjoy the Show!

We hope you've enjoyed this theoretical look into different ways round one feature cards at WACO could have been chosen. Of course, the real Open feature card consists of Paul McBeth, Drew Gibson, Cale Leiviska, and Brodie Smith, which you can watch on the DGPT's Disc Golf Network (subscription required). The tee time is today, March 12, at 2:10pm Central.

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