#1: Barry Schultz VS Ken Climo in epic playoff battle.
2003. Known simply as “The Battle,” it’s the playoff that all other disc golf playoffs are judged by.
One thing to keep in mind, for the playoff to the even start, Schultz had to erase a six-stroke deficit and hit a clutch 40-foot downhill putt on the final hole of regulation to force overtime. Then the battle was on, and the crowd gathered knew they were in for something special from two of the game’s most decorated players.
One of Schultz’s main memories of that moment was the electric atmosphere leading up to the playoff. Though the crowd wasn’t the biggest he’d seen, “the anticipation, excitement, and energy was mind blowing,” said Schultz.
Sudden death consisted of a three-hole loop starting on the Par 4 Hole 18, followed by Hole 1, then Hole 17 (then located alongside the lake), and then right back to Hole 18.
Schultz and Climo ultimately played Hole 18 five times (once during the final round and four times during overtime), and it was there where the match finally ended. Each time, Schultz owned the tee, throwing a beautiful drive near the fairway’s right side, giving himself relatively easy approaches to the green.
“On 18, I guess I was just zoned in with my DX Beast. The shot shape was perfect for that disc,” said Schultz when recently asked about the playoff.
Climo took a slightly different approach opting for drives landing more in the center to center-left of the fairway, so that his approaches would have less of a skip when they hit the green. Plus, the approach had a little more air space back then, he said during a recent interview. Twice Climo landed further left than he would’ve liked on his tee shot, but he said that he trusted his approach and each time recovered.
The second time they played Hole 18 in the playoff was a good example of this as Climo landed closer to the left OB and followed it up with a very tricky approach to the green that only Climo could’ve executed.
The playoff ended during the fourth go-round of Hole 18, when Climo hit the band and missed his birdie putt after Schultz had nestled his approach close and secured birdie and the epic win.
10 playoff holes in total
“I just didn’t think it would ever stop,” said Schultz when he was interviewed after the round. Climo said that was exactly the way it seemed. “We were playing that three-hole loop and we seemed to have it dialed in,” said Climo.
Schultz almost ended it on the ninth playoff hole (Hole 17) when he hit the basket from his tee shot, nearly acing it. Even though he hit the basket, it rolled 25 feet away, leaving him a tester putt for birdie and to stay alive.
What Climo remembered most about that playoff was laughing and joking with Schultz and just having a good time about it. The playoff ranks among Climo’s top USDGC memories even though he didn’t come out on top. “To this day that’s probably the best playoff event that I’ve been a part of,” said Climo.
Be sure to check out the rest of the USDGC’s Top 20 Memorable Moments.