2013 BARBASOL PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS STORYLINES
The Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions returns to the city where the classic was born in 1962. The TOC, which represents the Tour’s elite because it requires a PBA Tour title to be eligible to compete, will be conducted March 26-31 at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis. The five-player, two-hour stepladder finals will be telecast live on ESPN at 2:30 p.m. ET on March 31.
Below are some of the storylines heading into the 48th edition of PBA’s signature tournament.
PBA Tournament of Champions originated in Indianapolis in 1962: 51 years later, the TOC returns to the city where it began. Established to showcase those Tour players who were PBA Tour champions, the first event was conducted at Play Bowl and offered an “unheard of” $50,000 prize fund.
Joe Joseph won the inaugural event with a two-game 480 pinfall total, followed by Billy Golembiewski, 416, and Hall of Famer Carmen Salvino third with 409 in the two-game elimination final. Joseph won a $15,000 first prize.
Indianapolis has hosted all of PBA’s most prestigious events: The Tournament of Champions completes the “triple crown” for Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis as the home to PBA major championships. It hosted the U.S Open (2010, 1996, 1991, 1990) Denny’s PBA World Championship in (2008 and 2006) PBA Touring Players Championship (1992, 1993, 1994). Indianapolis also hosted the USBC Masters in the Indiana Convention Center (1974) in addition to the first Tournament of Champions.
Pete Weber tries for his 10th major and second TOC title: PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber’s last major title came in his memorable one-pin victory over Mike Fagan (215-214) for a record fifth PBA U.S. Open win in February 2012. Weber will be trying for his 10th major title which would put him in a tie with the late Earl Anthony for the most major titles won.
Walter Ray Williams Jr. still trying for a TOC title: Walter Ray Williams Jr. has accomplished nearly everything there is to accomplish in professional bowling except winning the Tournament of Champions. A TOC title would make the all-time titles leader (47) the third player in history to complete the PBA “Grand Slam” (titles in the Tournament of Champions, U.S. Open, PBA World Championship and USBC Masters). Mike Aulby and Norm Duke are the only players who have completed the Grand Slam.
Sean Rash tries for rare TOC repeat: Reigning PBA Player of the Year Sean Rash hopes to become only the second player to defend a TOC title. Rash defeated Ryan Ciminelli in the championship match in 2012, 239-205, to win his fifth career title and second major. Only Hall of Famer Jason Couch has successfully defended a TOC title with an unprecedented three consecutive titles in 1999, 2000 and 2002.
Third major of 2012-13 season: There have been two different winners in the two previous majors this season: Parker Bohn III in the PBA World Championship and Jason Belmonte in the USBC Masters. (The U.S. Open will be conducted in Columbus, Ohio, in July).
2010 Champion Kelly Kulick: Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., made sports history in 2010 by becoming the first woman ever to win a PBA Tour event. Kulick defeated top qualifier Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, 265-195, in the title match after defeating two-time PBA Player of the Year Mika Koivuniemi in the semifinal round, 227-223. Her best finish since her historic win has been seventh.
Indianapolis natives Mike Aulby and George Branham III made their mark in Tournament of Champions history: In 1993, George Branham III of Indianapolis – the first African-American to win a PBA Tour title – also became the first African-American to win a “major” title at the 29th TOC at Riviera Lanes in Fairlawn, Ohio. After leading qualifying, Branham defeated third-seeded Parker Bohn III, 227-214.
While not bowling this year, in 1995, PBA Hall of Famer Mike Aulby of Carmel, Ind., won the Brunswick World Tournament of Champions at Harper College Fieldhouse in Palatine, Ill., in front of 3,030 fans to complete the PBA’s Triple Crown (TOC, U.S. Open and PBA National/World Championship) as well as the Grand Slam (Triple Crown plus USBC Masters). Aulby defeated leading qualifier Bob Spaulding, 237-232, for the $60,000 first prize and a 20-foot Bayliner boat, motor and trailer package from Brunswick.
14 TOC past winners are entered: Past TOC champions entered are Sean Rash (2012), Mika Koivuniemi (2011) Kelly Kulick (2010), Patrick Allen (2009), Chris Barnes (2006), Jason Couch (1999, 2000 and 2002), Mark Williams (1985 and 1988), Wayne Webb (1980), Norm Duke (1994), Bryan Goebel (1998), Michael Haugen Jr. (2008), Steve Jaros (2005), Tommy Jones (2007), and Pete Weber (1987).
PBA Hall of Famers in TOC field: PBA Hall of Famers entered are Parker Bohn III, Norm Duke, Pete Weber, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Amleto Monacelli, Johnny Petraglia, Jason Couch, Wayne Webb, Mark Williams, Doug Kent and Danny Wiseman. Kent and Wiseman will be inducted during the 2013 PBA Hall of Fame dinner on Saturday night, March 30, at the Indianapolis Marriott North.
International field: Six countries are represented in the TOC field – Australia, Colombia, England, Finland, Venezuela and the U.S.
PBA League Elias Cup finals to complete TOC week: The top four teams for the inaugural PBA League Elias Cup finals, to determine the winner of the historic first season of the five-player team competition will conclude TOC Week at Woodland Bowl. Teams will bowl a Baker format stepladder final round on Sunday, March 31 at 6 p.m. ET which will be aired on ESPN at Sunday, April 7 at 1 p.m. ET.
PBA AND CBS SPORTS NETWORK SIGN MULTI-YEAR TELEVISION AGREEMENT
SEATTLE (March 11, 2013) – The Professional Bowlers Association and CBS Sports Network have entered into a multi-year television agreement that features a series of five telecasts originating from the new GEICO PBA Summer Swing in Milwaukee in June.
The agreement, announced Tuesday by PBA CEO Geoff Reiss and Dan Weinberg, Senior Vice President, Programming, CBS Sports Network, includes five two-hour telecasts featuring stepladder finalists from four PBA Summer Swing events, and concludes with a GEICO PBA Summer King of the Swing special event featuring the top five competition points leaders from the Summer Swing events.
Summer Swing telecasts debut Tuesday, June 11 (7:00 PM, ET) on CBS Sports Network and continue for five consecutive Tuesdays at 7:00 PM, ET.
“We’re thrilled at how committed CBS Sports Network is to the PBA and we’re looking forward to their telecasts of the debut of the Summer Swing,” Reiss said. “The PBA’s long-term success is predicated on developing great partnerships and we’re looking forward to working with everyone at CBS Sports Network to grow both the PBA and the Network.”
”We’re excited to partner with the PBA and showcase the world’s best bowlers,” Weinberg said. “The PBA has a storied history and an established fan base and we’re pleased to add it to our extensive lineup of event programming.”
The GEICO PBA Summer Swing is a new series of PBA Tour events which will be contested on three new “animal pattern” lane conditions that will debut in Milwaukee. The qualifying segments of the PBA Badger Open, PBA Wolf Open and PBA Bear Open will be hosted by three different Milwaukee area bowling centers (AMF Waukesha, AMF West and AMF Bowlero) between May 19-30. The cumulative pinfall totals from the three animal pattern events will qualify players for the Milwaukee Open, the fourth event in the series, and the GEICO PBA Summer King of the Swing will feature the top five points leaders based on the four previous events.
The Badger Open finals will air on June 11, the Wolf Open on June 18, the Bear Open on June 25, the Milwaukee Open on July 2 and the GEICO PBA Summer King of the Swing on July 9. All will be two-hour, five-player stepladder finals.
CBS Sports Network, the 24-hour home of CBS Sports, is available to 100 million homes nationwide through local cable, video and telco providers including Verizon FiOS (Channel 94) and AT&T U-Verse (Channel 643, 1643 in HD) and via satellite on DirecTV (Channel 613) and Dish Network (Channel 158).
Len DeLuca of LD Associates served as an advisor to the PBA in completing the CBS Sports Network agreement.
About the PBA
The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) is an organization of more than 3,200 of the best bowlers from 17 countries who compete in PBA Tour, PBA International Tour, PBA Regional and PBA50 Tour events. The PBA is in its 55th consecutive year of national televised competition, reaching more than one million American households and thousands more around the world who watch PBA activities on Xtra Frame, the PBA’s exclusive online bowling channel. PBA sponsors include Barbasol, Brunswick, Ebonite International, GEICO, Jack Link’s, MOTIV, Storm Products and the United States Bowling Congress, among others. For more information, log on to http://www.pba.com.
About CBS Sports Network
CBS Sports Network is the 24-hour cable home of CBS Sports. The Network covers more than 350 live games annually, showcasing more than 30 men’s and women’s sports, in addition to a variety of studio shows, documentaries and original programs. CBS Sports Network’s live programming is highlighted by college sports and also features professional lacrosse, Professional Bull Riding (PBR), the sports news and commentary shows ROME and LEAD OFF, the weekly studio show NFL Monday QB and the Tim Brando Show. CBS Sports Network is available across the country through local cable, video and telco providers and via satellite on DirecTV Channel 613 and Dish Network Channel 158. For more information, and to access the CBS Sports Network channel finder, go to http://www.cbssportsnetwork.com.
PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS COMES FULL CIRCLE
The concept was simple: create an event showcasing bowling’s elite that in turn would showcase the sport of professional bowling. To earn admission, a player needed to have won a Professional Bowlers Association title.
That was the motivation behind the creation of the PBA Tournament of Champions in 1962 in Indianapolis.
When most bowling fans think of the glorious history of the Tournament of Champions – now the PBA’s signature tournament – they recall the iconic run of the “Firestone Tournament of Champions” at Riviera Lanes in suburban Akron, Ohio. But few remember that the classic got its start in Indianapolis.
On March 27, the Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions returns to its birthplace – this time at Woodland Bowl – when a field of 48 PBA Tour champions will compete for a $50,000 first prize – a sum that is equal to the entire prize fund in that inaugural event. The top five players after 48 games will advance to the live ESPN-televised stepladder finals Sunday, March 31, at 2:30 p.m. ET.
The PBA was only three years old when the concept of creating a climactic season-ending tournament for the PBA’s elite players was born, launching bowling into the ranks of America’s mainstream sports.
The 1962 TOC was held at Play Bowl in Indianapolis and was actually billed as the Indianapolis 500 Festival Tournament of Champions according to the Indianapolis Star’s coverage of the tournament. It’s an often-forgotten event because the tournament would not be held again for three years. In 1965, Firestone began its landmark sponsorship, the classic moved to Bowlarama in Akron, Ohio and the Firestone Tournament of Champions began its lengthy run as the PBA’s premier event.
The TOC concept was the brainchild of PBA founder Eddie Elias and the PBA Tournament Committee, according to PBA Hall of Famer and legendary historian Chuck Pezzano.
“Eddie always came from the mindset that if golf had a tour, there was no reason bowling shouldn’t have one, too,” Pezzano, a PBA charter member, said. “He wanted to do something that would grab more attention for a sport that he felt had so much potential, so he got together with the Tournament Committee and they came up with the concept of this showcase tournament.
“The Tournament of Champions put bowling and the PBA on the map as a mainstream sport,” Pezzano said. “Eddie was also committed to the bowlers and giving them opportunities, and the creation of the Tournament of Champions really was a testament to that.”
While the first TOC was considered an immediate success, it wasn’t until Firestone entered the picture, and the tournament was moved to the company’s (and PBA’s) home base in Akron that it really began to grow and prosper.
“Even though that first tournament was a success, Eddie didn’t want to have it just to have a tournament,” Pezzano added, “so the concept was put on hold until appropriate funding could be found to make it a first-class major sporting event. That happened in 1965 when Firestone came on board as the sponsor.”
The first TOC in 1962 was a two-day event featuring 25 PBA Tour champions – everyone who had won a title since the PBA’s formation four years earlier—and it was conducted immediately after the Indianapolis PBA Open, which also was held at Play Bowl.
The unique format required the field of 25 players to bowl a round-robin match play format that consisted of one-game matches. Points were awarded for winning a match and for pinfall. When the event concluded after 26 games, the top three moved on to the TV finals.
The inaugural event was televised as part of ABC’s Wide World of Sports and shared air time with reports from the Indianapolis 500 time trials that weekend. PBA Hall of Famers Chris Schenkel and Billy Welu called the action.
Detroit bowling star and PBA charter member Joe Joseph, fellow Michigan star Billy Golembiewski and bowling legend Carmen Salvino of Chicago were the three who advanced to the televised finals – a two-game contest with final standings based on total pins for the two games.
Golembiewski, who had recently won the American Bowling Congress Masters, dominated the first of the two days of competition with Salvino and Joseph also pulling away from the rest of the field. But when match play concluded, it was Joseph who earned top qualifier honors with a 20-6 match play record and averaging 224.
After the first game of the final, Salvino held the lead with a 237 followed by Joseph with 201 and Golembiewski with 183. At that point, ABC cut away for a report from the Indy time trials before returning to the second game.
The break between games turned out to be Salvino’s nemesis. He was told that the break would be approximately a half hour, so he left the bowling area thinking he had plenty of time to rest up and prepare for the second game. As it turned out, ABC came back from the Indy 500 time trials early and Salvino was late returning to the lanes. He received no practice while Golembiewski and Joseph had remained on the lanes, practicing throughout the break.
But when game two started the tide had turned to Joseph’s favor. The Michigan star closed with a 279 game for a 480 two-game total. Golembiewski added 233 for a 416 total and Salvino struggled to a 172, falling to third place with 409 pins.
“To this day that was the most exciting and at the same time most depressing tournament I’ve ever bowled in,” said the 79-year-old Salvino, who was 28 at the time. “But it was my own fault for not being ready for the second game. I had to take responsibility for that.”
Joseph took home a $15,000 first prize from the $50,000 prize fund.
But Salvino also thought that first Tournament of Champions was a defining moment for the sport.
“I believe that tournament resulted in bowling becoming a big-time sport. We became celebrities after that telecast,” Salvino said. “With ABC televising it live with the Indy 500 time trials it said to me that network television was giving the sport a lot of respect.”
Another PBA Hall of Famer, Detroit native Dave Soutar, also bowled in the inaugural TOC at the age of 22, finishing 13th. Soutar, who last summer announced his retirement after more than 50 years in PBA competition, has never forgotten that first event.
“I was basically a rookie and what impressed me most was competing in a tournament where I was in awe of all the players,” said Soutar, who had qualified by winning the 1961 PBA National Championship. “My performance wasn’t very memorable but that was almost secondary to just being in a tournament with so many great bowlers.”
Like Salvino, Soutar agreed that the first TOC was a turning point for the sport.
“It definitely elevated the sport to another level,” Soutar said. “Even though there were other major tournaments at the time, you just had the feeling this was something special.”
Rounding out the top five were newcomer Al Savas of Milwaukee, who finished fourth, with bowling legend Don Carter in fifth place, falling short of the finals after a making a late tournament challenge.
The 2013 Barbasol Tournament of Champions – coincidentally returning to the city where Barbasol shaving cream was invented – gets underway with three eight-game qualifying rounds on Wednesday, March 27, and Thursday, March 28, with the top 24 players after 24 games advancing to three eight-game round robin match play rounds Thursday and Friday which will determine the five players for the stepladder finals.
On Saturday, the PBA champions will bowl with Indianapolis-area amateur men, women and youth league bowlers in a pro-am event, and Saturday evening, Danny Wiseman of Baltimore and Doug Kent of Newark, N.Y., will be inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame in ceremonies at the Indianapolis Marriott North. Sunday’s schedule also will include the stepladder finals of the PBA League Elias Cup, the inaugural PBA League championship round, which will air on ESPN on Sunday, April 7, at 1 p.m. ET.
All preliminary rounds of the TOC will be webcast live, exclusively on PBA’s online bowling channel, Xtra Frame. Xtra Frame subscription information, pro-am and ticket information, are available on pba.com.
2013 BARBASOL PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS SCHEDULE
Woodland Bowl, Indianapolis, March 27-31
Wednesday, March 27
10 a.m. – 8 qualifying games
5 p.m. – 8 qualifying games
Thursday, March 28
10 a.m. – 8 qualifying games
Top 24 after 24 games advance to round robin match play
5 p.m. – Top 24, 8 games round robin match play
Friday, March 29
10 a.m. - Top 24, 8 games round robin match play
5 p.m. – Top 24, 8 games round robin match play
Top five after 48 games advance to ESPN stepladder finals
Saturday, March 30
9:30 a.m., noon, 2:30 p.m. – Pro-am squads
7 p.m. – PBA Hall of Fame dinner, Indianapolis Marriott North
Sunday, March 31
2:30 p.m. – Top five stepladder finals live on ESPN
6 p.m. – PBA League Elias Cup finals (tape-delayed on ESPN)
1962 PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS FINAL STANDINGS
Play Bowl, Indianapolis, Ind., May 19-20, 1962
1. Joe Joseph, Lansing, Mich., $15,000.
2. Billy Golembiewski, Detroit, $7,500.
3. Carmen Salvino, Chicago, $4,000.
4. Al Savas, Milwaukee, Wis., $2,000.
5. Don Carter, St. Louis, Mo., $1,500.
6. Bill Bunetta, Fresno, Calif., $1,200.
7. Skip Vigars, Albany, N.Y., $1,100.
8. Fred Lening, Fairless Hills, Pa., $1,000.
9. George Howard, Detroit, $900.
10. Dick Weber, St. Louis, Mo., $800.
11. Dick Hoover, Akron, Ohio, $775.
12. Harry Smith, Baltimore, Md., $750.
13. Dave Soutar, Detroit, $725.
14. Vern Downing, Rodeo, Calif., $700.
15. Glenn Allison, St. Louis, Mo., $690.
16. Roy Lown, Baltimore, $680.
17. Dick Agee, San Jose, Calif., $670.
18. Lou Campi, Dumont, N.J., $660.
19. Andy Rogoznica, Chicago, $650.
20. J. B. Solomon, Dallas, Tex., $640.
21. Tom Hennessey, St. Louis, Mo., $630.
22. Glen Blakesley, Kansas City, Mo., $620.
23. Morrie Oppenheim, Chicago, $610.
24. Earl Johnson, Minneapolis, $600.
25. Don Bickford, Oakland, Calif., $600.
GEORGIA’S STERNER ROLLS 299 TO WIN FIRST TITLE IN PBA DON CARTER CLASSIC
ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Jason Sterner of McDonough, Ga., who had never finished higher than seventh place in a Professional Bowlers Association Tour event before the 2012-13 season, won his first PBA Tour title in the Don Carter Classic with a nearly-perfect 299-235 victory over top qualifier Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, at Thunderbowl Lanes.
The Don Carter Classic and PBA League Carter team finals aired Sunday on ESPN.
Sterner, who lost a 199-177 decision to eventual champion Tom Daugherty in his only previous PBA television appearance in the Bowlers Journal Scorpion Championship during the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling earlier in the season, lost his chance at the 23rd nationally-televised 300 game in PBA history when he left a solid 10 pin on his final shot.
He also lost a bid to join Bob Benoit of Topeka, Kan., as only the second player to win his first PBA Tour title with a 300 game. Benoit won the 1988 Quaker State Open in Grand Prairie, Texas, for his first title in his first PBA television appearance.
“The biggest thing I learned from my first show was getting rid of the nerves, and to trust your decisions,” Sterner said. “It’s a little added pressure to bowl on TV, but once you get comfortable, and trust your decisions, it’s a lot easier.
“I felt very confident,” he added. “I had the right ball, I knew what moves I needed to make and it was just a matter of going through my routine and believing in it. After the first couple of shots, I could see how the lanes were changing, and it just came easy. It was definitely a great feeling.
“When I realized the match was done, I realized I had a shot at 300, and the pins just kept falling,” Sterner continued. “I don’t think I’ve ever bowled that good of a game under pressure, ever.
“The last shot, I liked. I thought it was a great shot, but at that point I was so ready to celebrate the win, the 300 game wasn’t even important.”
With his first title, Sterner also earned his first opportunity to compete in the Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions, March 26-31 at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis.
The Don Carter Classic was the third of four PBA Tour events held during the PBA Detroit Winter Swing. The Earl Anthony PBA Players Championship will conclude the Winter Swing on ESPN on Sunday, March 24 at 3 p.m. ET when top qualifier Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., meets challenger Scott Norton of Mission Viejo, Calif. The telecast also will include the PBA League Earl Anthony round, the final qualifying round heading into the Elias Cup finals. The Anthony PBA League round qualifiers are Terrell Owens’ Dallas Strikers, Chris Paul’s L.A. X, Jerome Bettis’ Motown Muscle and a fourth team that will advance from the Clash eliminator round.
PBA DON CARTER CLASSIC
Thunderbowl Lanes, Allen Park, Mich.
Jason Sterner, McDonough, Ga. ($15,000) def. Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas ($7,500), 299-235.
About the PBA
The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) is an organization of more than 3,200 of the best bowlers from 17 countries who compete in PBA Tour, PBA International Tour, PBA Regional and PBA50 Tour events. Nearly one million ESPN viewers watch PBA Tour on Sundays during the tour season and thousands around the world watch PBA activities on Xtra Frame, the PBA’s exclusive online bowling channel. PBA sponsors include Barbasol, Brunswick, Ebonite International, GEICO, Jack Link’s, MOTIV, Storm Products and the United States Bowling Congress, among others. For more information, log on to http://www.pba.com.
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