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Matt Orum and His Rise in Popularity

By Michelle Springett
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By: Michelle Springett
Disc Golf Pro Tour Communications Coordinator

MAtty-o and his rise in popularity

Getting to Know Matty-O

MattyO, or Matt Orum, is a loveable fan favorite on the disc golf course, and we got the chance to sit down with him at Champions Cup and chat about his career and what inspires him. This past weekend’s performance was amazing. After placing 3rd in the 2022 World Championship which helped him finish 8th in the 2022 Disc Golf Pro Tour Points Series, Matty-O has had a solid start to the 2023 season and is heating up after the first leg of the Tour.

He has had a solid start to the 2023 season with three top-ten finishes including a T5th finish at the PDGA Champions Cup last weekend. His steady rise in the rankings this season has been amazing to watch, and coming in at 5th place this weekend was no small feat. His bogey free third round on Saturday of last week put him at 11 under par and helped him earn 93 DGPT points on the week heading into the second leg of the Tour which will start at Jonesboro next weekend. In the third round alone he moved up thirteen spots in the tournament. In Appling, Orum was making 75% of his circle two putts and will look to keep the putter hot as the season makes a turn to the West Coast.

What has led to the success that Orum has seen in recent seasons? What keeps him going week to week? The answer is, of course, complex. Orum’s meteoric rise has been hard-fought, and he continues to grind to reach his goals.

Coming Up – Finding the Sport and Finding Love

Matt Orum was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, and he has been playing disc golf practically his entire life. Growing up Matt Orum was lucky enough to have a father with his own disc golf pro shop, Sky South. Jimmy Orum, Sr. was also the co-founder of the Southern Nationals Disc Golf Series, which is still active in the Gulf Coast region.

Orum moved to the New Orleans area at 19 and said half of his personality comes from his formative years there. “That is where my love of dirty dive bars came from. That is where half of my personality came from. I was the shy, nice kid that sat at the bar when I was younger with a bunch of older people. Like I was half the age of most of the people there.” This move was after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and folks were moving back and still recovering from the natural disaster, “All the different people had just moved in. So, I feel like that helped build my personality into what it is now. Just from being around them at the bars, and being around all the crazies at Mardi Gras. Having all the people you don’t know around and being able to deal with it. It’s kind of like out here[on tour].”

With a sports-centered upbringing, he found sports heroes in the GOATS like Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, and Nick Saban. He loved watching Tiger play, “I always liked Tiger though; he’s my hero. What inspired me as a kid was watching Tiger with my dad, and then wanting to play disc golf because of my dad. I wanted to be like Tiger but in a different way. Tiger’s my guy. Watching Tiger, you knew he was about to win by like the 13th hole, and I’d run in my backyard and putt then run back inside to watch him on the 17th hole when he was about to win.”

A Tough Year in 2020 & Bouncing Back To Full Time Touring

After losing a close family member a few years ago, Orum lost a bit of steam. Orum’s father’s passing was really hard on him, “Honestly, [getting back to competing full-time on tour] it’s really started this last year because when my dad passed away in 2020. I didn’t make the right decisions at all, and I was just trying to numb myself from it all.” Then watching Nikko Loccastro win the Preserve Championship on YouTube that same year truly ignited the competitive spark to get him back on Tour. Orum has always enjoyed the competition and keeping his fans happy by putting up as many Ws as possible. Currently, StatMando has Orum at 80 wins in his career and in the top ten of a tournament 247 times.

Orum met his now girlfriend in 2020, and she has helped ground him in a new way. She has two little boys, and one of the hardest parts for Orum being full-time on tour is having to spend so much time away from them, “I have a girlfriend with two little boys, and I can’t disappear like that. So I have to come back and see him just every now and then. So the hardest part is being out here full time and still trying to work out coming home.”

Keeping It Fun While On The Road

Outside of disc golf Orum is a beach bum and loves traveling, music, and occasionally fishing in brackish water. He loves matching his pre-round music to the vibe of the city he is competing in, “Like, When I come to Texas I’m probably listening to some UGK, George Strait, or Pantera or something like that. I’ll always try to fit where I’m at into what I listening to.” He also said, “I guess I like to experience a little bit of everything. Now that I’m getting older,  I’m like you only live once, and I want to try and taste a little bit of whatever life’s got to give me.”

Aspirations for 2023 & Beyond

Orum’s immediate goals for the future include continuing to play, capturing a win on Tour, and keeping his fans happy. As he heads to his next Disc Golf Pro Tour event, the Jonesboro Open, Orum explains that he’s been working to emulate one of the best all-time disc golf veterans in hopes of finding balance and success, “I’ve been making this joke, I want to become 50% of Cale Leviska in like the next two years. Maybe not the course design, but like playing in tournaments, and how he’s representing his own brand. He kind of plays, goes home and then comes back. If I can get to fifty percent of what Cale Leviska has done in three years, I would be extremely proud of myself, and I think that’s a badass goal. Because Cale’s kind of like my hero and I want to follow in the steps of my hero.” We also think that is a badass goal, and hope to see nothing but a bright future for Matt Orum.

Matt Orum and his rise in popularity