PBA World Series of Bowling by John Jowdy

    07/28/09

    Column

    BWAAJohnJowdy.jpgThe Professional Bowlers Association Tour is, by far, the most important and effective promotional vehicle in bowling.

    A new era in the PBA will feature 23 tournament telecasts slated for the 2009-10 season, beginning with the creation of the Lumber Liquidators PBA World Series of Bowling. The World Series of Bowling will be held in the Detroit area and kick off at longtime PBA host center, Taylor Lanes, in Taylor, Michigan, about 20 miles southeast of Detroit.

    This will mark the first time the PBA tour will spend an extended period of time in one city. Six events will be staged at Thunderbowl Lanes. This is a 90-lane facility featuring a unique setup for taping of the ESPN telecasts as well as continuous online coverage of the PBA Tour's live streaming video service "Xtra Frame" on pba.com.

    Thunderbowl Lanes features an arena that originally housed the Detroit franchise of the old National Bowling League and later catered to the Detroit All-Star bowling league.

    The seven PBA championship events will air out what has been traditionally the first half of the PBA season from mid-October to early December 2009; Sunday afternoons on ESPN. The second half of the season, from January to April will feature live Sunday telecasts and travel to at least 10 cities across the country, including three major championships; USBC Masters, PBA Tournament of Champions, and the US Open.

    In my estimation, the advantage of the seven-week stand in one location FAR outweighs the loss of tournaments in other areas, particularly from a financial standpoint. The savings in travel costs will be a financial boom to the PBA as well as the PBA players.

    The World Series of Bowling is exactly what it implies. All events are open to professionals as well as amateurs. Amateurs may enter directly into the open event fields; Motor City Open; PBA World Championship; PBA Women's World Championship; and PBA Senior World Championship.

    Amateurs may also enter Lumber Liquidator's PBA exempt Tour events but must qualify through Pro Tour Qualifying Rounds. All amateurs who finish among the top 10 in TQR's will advance to the field of 72.

    World Series of Bowling exempt events will consist of 41 players from the 2008-09 points list; eight players from the PBA Tour Trials, seven players from the PBA Regional Players Invitational, three international players exemptions, one Golden Parachute qualifier, one player from a medical deferment in 2008-09 (Tommy Delutz), the 2008-09 TQR points list leader and 10 players (including one amateur) that advance from the TQRs.

    One of the main features of the World Series of Bowling is the appearance of THREE two-handed bowlers; Finland's Osku Palermaa, Australia's Jason Belmonte, and former Team USA member, Cassidy Schaub.

    After a deal with the European Bowling Tour, the World Series of Bowling asked all international stars to apply for exemptions. They had dozens of applications and decided on three outstanding international players that included Osku Palermaa, the European Bowling Tour points leader; Tae-Hwa Jeong, a 10-time Korean PBA Tour winner as well as a five-time Japan PBA Tour titlist; and Amleto Monacelli, a 19-time PBA champion.

    In addition to this, there were entries into World Series events from players from Sweden, Denmark, and Russia. Add to this, Mika Koiveniemi of Finland and Jason Belmonte of Australia who are on the PBA exempt list. Stuart Williams from England and George Lambert from Canada qualified through the tour trials, thus establishing the World Series of Bowling as truly an international event.

    The women's World Series of Bowling consist of 12 players from their U.S. Women's Tour Trials, six champions from 2008 and at least two players qualifying through TQRs.

    The capacity for the Motor City Open is 196. For the PBA World Championships the capacity is 200 entries. The maximum for the Senior World Championships is 140 and the maximum for the PBA Women's Championship is 100.

    There will also be eight side events and sweepers. Three side events with a $250 entry fee are restricted to amateurs and non-exempt PBA players. Five sweepers with entry fees of $100 and $80 are open to ALL players. All side action will go directly into the prize fund; no lineage fees or administrative fees will be deducted. In order to participate in any side event, a bowler must enter at least one of the main tournaments or any of the TQRs. Each of the five sweepers will be contested on five different PBA lane patterns…Earl Anthony, Tournament of Champions, U.S.Open, Dick Weber and Shark.

    I feel confident that the "new" PBA format will not only be successful, but with telecasts of the events aired internationally, it will increase TV ratings and create greater worldwide interest. It will surely inspire younger generations of aspiring bowlers.

    The regular PBA tour featuring 64 exempt players will include numerous new bowlers and number of veterans who re-qualified. Two of the most notable players failing to gain exemption for the 2009-10 season were David Traber and Dave D'Entremont.

    Bowlers who qualified for the 2009-10 season were; Dave Arnold, Mitch Beasley, Joe Ciccone, P.J Haggerty, Tim Mack, John May, Derek Sapp, Cassidy Schaub, Thomas Smallwood, Brian Waliczek, Lonnie Waliczek, Stevie Weber, and Troy Wollenbecker.

    Although the "new" PBA look is a product of united and cooperative PBA employees, much of the credit must be attributed to Tom Clark, the deputy commissioner of the PBA. Clark, a former USA Today sports reporter, has demonstrated an uncanny ability to promote bowling as no other individual in recent years. He has been most instrumental in resurrecting women professional bowlers and did an excellent job in his short stint with the USBC. And now he is displaying the greatest promotional skills on the PBA staff since Eddie Elias founded the organization.

    Perhaps the PBA's greatest coup of the 2009-10 season was the selection of Brian Voss as the Golden Parachute exemption. The choice of Voss, who failed to qualify for the 64-man exemption list, was a no-brainer. The former poster-boy of the PBA tour is a 24-time PBA champion and is fully capable of holding his own among the PBA touring players.

    Meanwhile, the addition of several new faces, the re-qualification of a number of veterans, the and the initiation of the World Series of Bowling promises to make the 2009-10 PBA season one of the greatest ever!