Eddie Elias, Akron, Ohio, attorney, founded the PBA... there were 33 Founding Members... the first 100 persons in the organization were Charter Members.
The PBA Tour started off with a bang with three tournaments worth $49,500... the first of many television shows is inaugurated with "Jackpot Bowling."
Seven tournaments were held worth $150,000... "Make That Spare" poured more television money into PBA members pockets
Eleven tournaments were held worth $250,000... the first televised showing of a PBA finals was instigated in the $75,000 National PBA Invitational at Paramus, N.J.
Thirty-two tournaments were held worth $800,000... the Winter Tour finals went on the air for the first time on ABC-TV.
Thirty-eight tournaments were held worth $1,000,000... "Make That Spare" was going strong and Don Carter made history, breaking the jackpot.
Thirty-one tournaments were held worth $1,200,000... the PBA put another telecast on the air, the two-man bestball on CBS-TV.
Thirty-one tournaments were held worth $1,300,000... Elias negotiated for the biggest tournament in the history of the game, the $100,000 Firestone Tournament of Champions in Akron, Ohio, home of the PBA... Elias also formed the Image Committee.
Twenty-nine tournaments were held worth $1,500,000... Wayne Zahn earned $54,720 to break Don Carter's mark of $49,972 established in 1962... the PBA held a tournament in Caracas, Venezuela... Steve Nagy passed away.
Thirty-four tournaments were held worth $1,600,000... Ebonite became a tournament sponsor along with Brut... Miller had been in for one year to raise the total of commercial sponsors to four... the PBA went into the new Madison Square Garden for the $70,000 National Championship... Jack Biondolillo rolled the first perfect game on live national television in the Firestone Tournament of Champions.
35 tournaments were held worth $1,700,000... Lincoln-Mercury joined the growing field of commercial sponsors with the $75,000 Cougar Open in Kansas City... Jim Stefanich made history when he earned a record $67,375.
Thirty-five tournaments were held worth $1,800,000... American Airlines and Bellows-Valvair joined the major tournament sponsors... Billy Hardwick set a new record by winning seven tournaments during the year... the first National Resident Professional Championship was held in Cincinnati.
The PBA's 12th year saw the regional tournament program catch on, with 26 events... The Don Carter Classic was new... Bellows-Valvair co-sponsored four tournaments, while Firestone, Miller High Life, Lincoln-Mercury, Ebonite and American Airlines continued to sponsor major events.
A Winter Tour that approached the $1,000,000 mark and an expanded regional program marked the PBA's 13th year... new sponsors were the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Andy Granatelli's STP organization... Lincoln-Mercury and Madison Square Garden joined to stage The Cougar Open... the Tour was enhanced further when the Brunswick Memorial World Open was established... 20 of the world's best foreign bowlers won their way to the World Open to compete against America's best pros for the $85,000 purse.
The Firestone Tournament of Champions reached a new high as the price tag hit $125,000...Don Johnson and Nelson Burton Jr. battled it out for Bowler of the Year honors with Johnson finally winning out... the BPAA U.S. Open (which was contested in New York's Madison Square Garden) was a $100,000 event.
The $125,000 Firestone Tournament of Champions rewarded the winner with $25,000... Madison Square Garden again hosted the BPAA U.S. Open... the Brunswick World Open became the second tournament on the Tour with the prize fund upped to $100,000... the Winter Tour prize money was up to $1,000,000... the regional program helped push membership to 1,000.
The Winter Tour - biggest ever - offered no fewer than four tournaments with a value of at least $100,000... new to the slate were Midas and Cleveland Opens... in addition, the Winston-Salem Classic went to $100,000, as did the Showboat Invitational... the Firestone Tournament of Champions remained at $125,000... for a third straight year the BPAA U.S. Open was carded for New York's Madison Square Garden.
The Winter Tour had a record 16 stops... The Copenhagen and Monroe Max-Air Opens were new to the Tour... the BPAA U.S. Open moved to Grand Prairie, Texas... Earl Anthony became the first man in PBA history to break the $100,000 mark in earnings, finishing the season with a record-tying seven national titles and winning $107,585... The Firestone Tournament of Champions remained the top goal for PBA membership which passed 1,300... the regional program continued making great progress, with 82 regional tournaments, an all-time high.
All but three of the national tour stops were televised... AMF sponsored two $100,000 winter tournaments, as well as the Regional Champions Classic... Ford and Rolaids joined the list of major sponsors... Earl Anthony again set a record for earnings with $110,833... The BPAA U.S. Open returned to Texas for the second straight year... the Firestone Tournament of Champions was a $125,000 event.
The 16-stop Winter Tour was aired on ABC television for the 16th consecutive year... Burger King, Consolidated Cigar and Quaker State joined the list of major sponsors... Miller increased the Miller High Life prize fund to $100,000 and added the $80,000 Lite Classic... Mark Roth tied a PBA record by winning three straight tournaments on the Summer Tour and became only the second man in PBA history to earn over $100,000 with winnings of $105,583... prize monies for the Winter Tour reached a record of nearly $1.5 million and membership reached an all-time high of 1,600.
The Firestone and Burger King tournaments increased their prize monies to all-time highs of $150,000 with $30,000 top prizes in each... the Brunswick World Open and the Showboat Invitational also upped their price tag to $125,000... Miller Brewing Company sponsored two $100,000 tournaments - the Miller High Life Open and the Lite Classic... prize monies on the Winter Tour reached a record high of nearly $1.6 million, an average of nearly $100,000 per tournament... Pro Tour Qualifiers (PTQs), enabling more members to compete in tournaments of their choice, were expanded significantly... Mark Roth set records by winning eight titles and $134,500.
The PBA was seen on national television more than ever before, with 33 of 34 national tournaments being televised... ABC-TV's Pro Bowlers Tour completed its 18th consecutive season... 10 Summer Tour finals were aired on CBS Sports Spectacular... the new Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) showed five of six Fall Tour events... Firestone lent its name to a second tournament, the "721" Classic, to go along with the $150,000 Tournament of Champions... the BPAA raised the prize fund of its U.S. Open to $125,000... Showboat Hotel and Bowling Center sponsored the $125,000 Showboat PBA National Championship during the summer... Kessler Whiskey sponsored two events in the fall, the Kessler Open and the Kessler Classic... membership reached 2,000 by year's end.
A 16-week Winter Tour featured another new sponsor, True Value Hardware, which sponsored a $125,000 event in Miami... Willie Willis became the first African-American to qualify for the Firestone Tournament of Champions by virtue of his victory in the 1979 Brunswick National Resident Pro Championship... Miller Brewing, AMF Magic-Score and Midas all raised their tournaments to the $125,000 level... The BPAA U.S. Open increased to a $131,000 tournament... the Showboat Invitational went to $135,000... ESPN telecast 12 Summer Tour, five Fall Tour events, and the Fair Lanes National Resident Pro Championship.
The 20th season of ABC Sports "Professional Bowlers Tour" consisted of 21 events... the Summer Tour was telecast by ESPN... The PBA National Championship sported its largest prize fund, $135,000, second only to the $150,000 Firestone Tournament of Champions... Miller Brewing Company sponsored two events and also gave support to the first annual PBA Senior Championship at New Orleans... membership approached 2,500 by year's end... a seventh region was created by July and there were more than 100 members and five tournaments in 1981... the total money distributed in 96 regional tournaments was more than $1 million.
The Firestone Tournament of Champions, a $200,000 event, boasted the top first prize on Tour - $40,000... the Toledo Trust PBA National Championship paid $38,000 of its $200,000 prize fund to the winner, Earl Anthony... that victory pushed Anthony's career earnings past the $1 million mark, making him the first PBA member to cross that barrier... PBA Tour went to Europe for the first time, and Tom Baker came back with the title in the AMF Grand Prix in Paris, France... for the first time, all Winter Tour prize funds were at least $100,000... USA Cable Network debuted as the network for the Summer and Fall Tours... AC-Delco joined the list of tournament sponsors by backing the $125,000 AC-Delco Classic on the Spring Tour.
The 25th anniversary of the founding of the PBA was celebrated... the average winter prize fund was $136,875, a record... the Firestone Tournament of Champions and Trustcorp PBA National Championship had $200,000 prize funds and $40,000 and $38,000 first prizes, respectively... Showboat, Miller Brewing and True Value Hardware Stores each sponsored a $150,000 event... during the Winter Tour, True Value offered $50,000 to anyone rolling a 300 game on TV... for the first time, a Touring Players Championship was conducted on the Fall Tour.
The total prize fund for the 16 winter stops was $2,370,000--an average of $148,125 weekly... the three tournaments that make up the "Triple Crown" of professional bowling--the Firestone Tournament of Champions, the Trustcorp PBA National Championship and the BPAA U.S. Open--featured $200,000 purses... the Showboat Invitational in Las Vegas increased its purse to $175,000... along with the first 16 stops, ABC covered five spring tournaments... USA Cable Network carried the 1984 Summer Tour... NBC Sports aired the Fall Tour events.
True Value Hardware Stores offered an award of $100,000 to any player shooting a perfect game during the Winter Tour and $200,000 for any during the True Value Open... the Miller Brewing Company offered a $1 million bonus to any player winning all three Miller-sponsored tournaments... ESPN aired the 12 Summer Tour events... NBC aired six Fall Tour events, including the Kodak Invitational... Budweiser sponsored two tournaments... Mike Aulby broke Earl Anthony's single season money record of $164,735, and became the first bowler in PBA history to surpass $200,000 with $201,200.
The Firestone Tournament of Champions featured a $50,000 first prize, the largest in PBA history... Miller Brewing Company again sponsored the $1 million Lite Slam and True Value Hardware Stores, offering $100,000 to any player who shot a perfect game during the championship finals... the Summer Tour was the richest ever, with the addition of Ebonite and Miller Brewing-sponsored tournaments... ESPN aired the Summer Tour... NBC televised the Fall Tour... total prize money for the year totaled $6.5 million.
The year kicked off with the $500,000 Seagram's Coolers U.S. Open in Tacoma, Wash., the highest-paying tournament held on the Tour... it offered a $100,000 first prize... Pete McCordic earned the $100,000 True Value perfect game award when he notched the first 300 game on national television in 13 years... Miller Brewing added a year-long performance point bonus worth $50,000.
In addition to the mega-buck "Triple Crown" tournaments, the Winter Tour added the $200,000 Don Carter's Greater New Orleans Classic to the schedule... Bob Benoit stunned the bowling world by rolling the first perfect game in a championship match to defeat Mark Roth, 300-255, for the Quaker State Open title... A & W sponsored the Pro Classic at Phoenix... "Make That Spare" returned to the airwaves with a pilot telecast in March... overall prize money for the national and regional tournaments exceeded $7.5 million... Brian Voss broke Mike Aulby's single season earnings record winning $225,485.
The Seagram's Coolers U.S. Open led all prize funds with $500,000... $100,000 was earned by the winner... Pete Weber became the PBA's fourth millionaire, followed a few months later by Mike Aulby...Weber also became just the third player to win the "Triple Crown" after capturing the Trustcorp PBA National Championship... Toyota sponsored their first tournament on the Fall Tour... total prize money for the year exceeded $8 million... Mike Aulby set a single-season earnings record with $298,237.
The PBA welcomed Choice Hotels, Chevy Trucks and the American Bowling Congress as new sponsors... Amleto Monacelli won his second consecutive PBA Player of the Year honor and led a contingent of 11 players over the $100,000 mark... Cambridge sponsored the PBA/LPBT mixed doubles and Monacelli and Tish Johnson successfully defended their titles... Membership topped 3,500 by years' end.
ABC-TV televised their 30th year of the Pro Bowlers Tour... Tums signed on to sponsor the Tums Classic at Windsor Locks, CT... the Johnny Petraglia Open was held in North Brunswick, N.J.... the Tour returned to Long Island... David Ozio became just the third bowler in PBA history to win the first two stops on the Winter Tour, joining Dick Weber and Don Johnson... John Mazza and Jess Stayrook joined Mark Roth as the only bowlers to convert the 7-10 split on television... the Senior Tour held 12 stops, an increase of 50% over 1990.
Mike Connor was named Commissioner of the PBA succeeding Joe Antenora, the only other person to have held that title... Bud Light was the official beer of the PBA Tour and they sponsored the PBA National Championship and the Touring Players Championship... Firestone increased their sponsorship to $300,000... Kool Shootouts were held throughout the year at tournament sites... they featured winner-take-all one-game matches... Choice Hotels Summer Classic featured tournament champion, Amleto Monacelli, defeating Senior champion Gene Stus for the $25,000 bonus match... .four more bowlers, Monacelli, Voss, Wayne Webb and Dave Husted topped the $1 million mark in earnings.
The Winter Tour welcomed the IOF Foresters as a sponsor of the Bowling For Miracles Open in Toronto, Canada, and also featured the Bud Light Hall of Fame Championship, which was co-sponsored by the National Bowling Council... The Children's Miracle Network became the official charity of the PBA Tour... Kool Shootouts were increased to total prize money of $175,000 along the Tour... Senior Tour prize money increased to nearly $1.4 million with 14 tournaments... the PBA initiated a Millionaire Club poster featuring the first 10 Millionaires-- Earl Anthony, Mark Roth, Marshall Holman, Mike Aulby, Pete Weber, Wayne Webb, Dave Husted, Brian Voss, Amleto Monacelli, and Walter Ray Williams Jr... General Tire became the sponsor of the Tournament of Champions, replacing Firestone, who sponsored the event for the last 29 years.
The PBA introduced "arena finals" at three separate tournament sites... the telecast of the championship round was moved from the bowling center to an arena setting where the finalists bowled on four specially installed lanes... the idea was first tried in Erie, Pa., and was a huge success as a capacity crowd of more than 5,000 fans showed up at the Erie Civic Center for the telecast... ABC-TV aired its 33rd consecutive season of the "Professional Bowlers Tour," with the familiar team of four-time Emmy Award winner Chris Schenkel and Nelson "Bo" Burton Jr., handling the commentary... the PBA Tour showcased record prize funds worth an average of almost $200,000 per tournament... ESPN televised the remaining summer and fall stops... boosting increased prize funds were AC-Delco, Showboat Hotel and Bowling Center, True Value Hardware, Brunswick Corp., the Independent Order of Foresters (IOF) and General Tire... new sponsors to the Tour were Sherwin-Williams, Hilton Hotels, and SplitFire Spark Plugs... the Senior Tour witnessed four televised stops.
Mark Gerberich was named Commissioner of the PBA... the three arena finals in 1994 were so successful that eight tournaments in '95 put their championship rounds in arenas... a PBA record 7,212 fans attended the 1995 BPAA U.S. Open in Detroit's Joe Louis Arena... Dave D'Entremont led the Tour with eight television appearances... Mike Aulby, the top money winner with more than $215,000 in earnings, captured just one title, but made it a big one as he won the prestigious Brunswick World Tournament of Champions...the win made Aulby only the fourth player in PBA history to win bowling's Triple Crown, which includes the T of C, PBA National Championship and BPAA U.S. Open... Aulby also set a then single-season average record with his 225.49 mark.
The PBA lost long-time Commissioner Joe Antenora... the PBA hosted 10 arena events in 1996... Mike Aulby captured the Bayer/Brunswick Touring Players Championship and became the only player to win the "Super Slam" (all four PBA "majors" and the ABC Masters)... Walter Ray Williams Jr. led the Tour in virtually every statistical category... Williams captured five titles and took over the title of PBA's all-time earnings leader... .PBA Hall of Famer Earl Anthony returned to bowling after a five-year hiatus, winning the Naples Senior Open and cashing in every tournament he entered... the PBA also signed an exclusive three-year agreement with the Marquee Group, a sports marketing, television production and entertainment company in New York City, to serve as PBA's television representation and marketing partner... ACDelco agreed to a three-year $1 million sponsorship of a Tour stop in Lakewood, Calif.
The popular "Pro Bowlers Tour" series on ABC-TV came to an end after 36 years... shortly thereafter, the PBA announced a new network contract with CBS Sports that guaranteed nine one-hour telecasts in 1998... earlier in the year the PBA announced a three-year agreement with ESPN that guaranteed a minimum of 14 events per year to be televised... Walter Ray Williams Jr. won the final tournament on ABC-TV... Williams also made history by becoming the first player to surpass the $2 million mark in career earnings... PBA Hall of Famer Gary Dickinson became the first Senior player to earn over $100,000 in a year... Ebonite sponsored four events and an "Ebonite Challenge" point list on the Fall Tour... Strike and Spare Fun Centers guaranteed a $1 million bonus for any player who rolled a 300 game during the title match of the Comfort Inn Classic...Steve Hoskins became the 11th player to roll a 300 game on national television... Brunswick agreed to a three-year, $3 million sponsorship package that includes sponsorship of three tournaments per year, official website sponsor and the development of the "Pro Pin."
PBA Founder Eddie Elias passed away... Members competed for more than $4 million in prize money on the National Tour (26 tournaments), with events televised nationally on CBS Sports (nine events) and ESPN (eight)...during the 1998 season, both CBS Sports and ESPN agreed to two-year extensions with the PBA Tour through the year 2000... The Villages, a retirement community in Florida, reached an agreement to sponsor three 1999 events on the PBA Senior Tour, including the Senior Tournament of Champions... Brunswick added its sponsorship to the prestigious Senior National Tournament of Champions... Walter Ray Williams, Jr. won five titles and continued to be the Tour's all-time earnings leader with more than $2.3 million... Parker Bohn III became just the 12th player in PBA history to roll a televised 300 game... on the Senior Tour, Pete Couture collected $117,300... he also set a Senior Tour record with four wins.
Players competed for more than $4.125 million in prize money... Steve Jaros rolled the 13th televised perfect game in PBA championship round history... the PBA Tour was broadcast on network television for the 38th consecutive year, as CBS Sports carried the Tour's 10-week summer swing... CBS' coverage was highlighted by Eric Forkel's win in the New York City PBA Experience, the PBA's first-ever outdoor final in Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan... Mike Miller rolled the 14th televised 300 game in PBA history... the new eight-man format will be employed in 2000 in championship finals... Parker Bohn III led the Tour in earnings with $232,595... senior bowler Dale Eagle won a record-tying four titles... Johnny Petraglia became the last man in the 20th century and the 20th player in PBA history to eclipse the $1 million mark in career earnings.
The PBA is purchased in April by former Microsoft executives Chris Peters, Mike Slade and Rob Glaser... the new owners turn the PBA into a for-profit business... in September Ian Hamilton and Steve Miller are hired as the Commissioner and President, respectively... each worked for several years in the global sports marketing department at Nike... the five-man, stepladder format returns for the Fall Tour television shows... Chris Barnes went 0-12 in television appearances in 2000, but lead in every statistical category except earnings and wins... Jason Couch won his second consecutive Tournament of Champions... Ryan Shafer broke his streak of most career earnings without a win (14 years), when he won two... Bob Learn Jr. became the 21st player to break $1 million in career earnings.
Several changes took place to bring the PBA back to life... after completing nine tournaments from January through June 2001, the PBA announced a set season (September - March) with a prize fund for 20 tournaments just over $4 million... the 140% increase over the previous year included a guaranteed $40,000 first prize for every standard tournament and $100,000 for major tournaments... the exception was the PBA World Championship (formerly the PBA National Championship) where the first place winner took home $120,000... the PBA signed a three-year (with a three year option) exclusive deal with ESPN and established a more consistent programming schedule... ESPN produced and aired thousands of PBA promotional spots that helped lead to an 18% increase in television ratings... after years of decline the PBA also saw a strong increase in membership (+25%) and tournament entries (+35%)... Parker Bohn III, with five titles, was named PBA Player of the Year... Tommy Jones outshone all other newcomers and became the PBA's Rookie of the Year... Staging an animated comeback was Pete Weber who had a memorable televised 299 that helped the PBA get regular results broadcast on SportsCenter. He went on to win the ESPY for Bowler of the Year... Ernie Schlegel and Jason Couch were the 22nd and 23rd to break the $1 million mark in career earnings.
The PBA continued down the road to success... Fred Schreyer was named PBA Commissioner in March 2003... The PBA signed 13 new corporate sponsors: Banquet, Bayer, Cambridge Credit, Days Inn, Dexter, Geico Direct, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, Miller Brewing Company (Miller High Life and Miller Lite), Odor-Eaters, Pep Boys, Pepsi, Storm and VIA Bowling... PBA membership topped 4,000 for the first time in history... ESPN TV ratings increased for the second consecutive season (+6%) and the 18-34 male demographic increased by 43%... tournament entries also increased by 14%... Walter Ray Williams Jr. won his sixth PBA Player of the Year Award, tying Earl Anthony for the all-time mark... Williams also shattered the single-season earnings record ($298,237 set by Mike Aulby in 1989) with $419,700... He also became the first player to top $3 million in career earnings... Jason Couch became the first player to three-peat in the PBA Tournament of Champions (1999, 2000 & 2002)... Norm Duke rolled the 15th televised 300 game in PBA history at the Geico Earl Anthony Classic (Tacoma, Wash.)... Earlier in the season at the Cambridge Credit Classic (Syosset, NY), Duke defeated David Traber in the closest title match ever, winning on the third, one-ball roll off (9-9, 10-10, 10-9) after tying at 245-245... Randy Pedersen and Danny Wiseman became the 24th and 25th players to top $1 million in career earnings.
Prior to the start of the season, the PBA announced the Tour was switching to an historic 64-bowler, all-exempt field for the 2004-05 season... The PBA had 14 sponsors including newcomers Baby Ruth and Wild Turkey Bourbon... PBA membership continued its record climb, reaching more than 4,100 members... Tournament entries increased by 20% over the 2002-03 season… Five players topped the $1 million mark in career earnings, bringing the total number of PBA millionaires to 30… In a surprise finish to the season, 49-year-old PBA Hall of Famer Tom Baker shocked the bowling world by winning the PBA World Championship and taking the $120,000 top-prize as well as a five-season Tour exemption… Steve Jaros took home a Tour-best three titles, doubling his career total entering the season… Mika Koivuniemi rolled the 16th televised 300 game in PBA history at the Cambridge Credit Classic (Windsor Locks, Conn.)… Walter Ray Williams Jr. captured his first ABC Masters title, and ended the season just two titles behind Earl Anthony’s PBA Tour record 41… Mike Scroggins, who made three consecutive championship round appearances early in the season, broke a 192-event winless streak with his title in the Baby Ruth Real Deal Classic (Belleville, Ill.).
The PBA Tour entered its first season with the brand new exempt format which featured a 64-bowler field for each standard event, including 58 full-time exempt bowlers… The PBA had 17 sponsors, including newcomers Denny's and Motel 6… The PBA on ESPN set records in average rating (.91), average households (816,961) and average viewers (1,067,705) since the new PBA ownership took over in 2000… The season began with the finals of the 2004 Miller High Life Masters presented by the American Bowling Congress being bowled in Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers… The PBA opened its membership to women for the first time; Missy Bellinder of Fullerton, Calif., became the PBA's first woman member… Liz Johnson made history by becoming the first female to qualify for a PBA Tour event in the 2004 Uniroyal Tire Classic… She later became the first female to appear in a PBA Tour championship round when she finished second in the 2005 Banquet Open in Wyoming, Mich… Walter Ray Williams Jr. became just the second bowler to reach the 40-title plateau with his 2004 Uniroyal Tire Classic victory in Wickliffe, Ohio… Chris Barnes becomes the PBA's 31st millionaire, reaching the milestone in just 220 events, a PBA record… A week after the regular season ended, Barnes won the $200,000 top prize in the PBA Motel 6 Roll to Riches presented by GEICO, the richest grand prize in PBA history… PBA Hall of Famers and legends Dick Weber and Chris Schenkel pass away.
Denny's signs a three-year, multi-million dollar deal prior to the start of the season to become the Tour's first-ever title sponsor... The PBA Tour becomes the Denny's PBA Tour... ESPN features more PBA programming than ever, with a new special event airing on Christmas day, "The Final Frame presented by the Denny's PBA Tour," as well as the second seasons of the PBA Skills Challenge and the Motel 6 Roll to Riches... The Tour adds a special 22nd event to the schedule, the Dick Weber Open, which uses a "throwback" format in honor of the late PBA Hall of Famer... Jackson Hewitt Tax Service announces the "Jackson Hewitt $1 Million Dollar Challenge," offering $1 million to any bowler who can win the final three Majors of the season... Tommy Jones becomes the face of the promotion after winning his first career Major in the 63rd U.S. Open, but he fails to win the final two Majors... Jones goes on to win four titles for the second consecutive season, becoming the first bowler to win at least eight titles over two seasons since Parker Bohn III in 1998-99... In his seventh attempt at tying Earl Anthony's all-time titles record, Walter Ray Williams Jr. finally wins his 41st title in grand fashion, defeating Pete Weber for the title in the 2006 Denny's World Championship, earning $100,000 and a four-season Tour exemption... 23-year-old rookie Sean Rash becomes the first non-exempt bowler to win a title, going from the Denny's PBA Tour Qualifying Round to PBA champion in the 2006 West Virginia Championship... Chris Barnes once again takes home the richest grand prize in PBA history, winning the winner-take-all $200,000 Motel 6 Roll to Riches for the second year in a row... Eric Forkel and Mike Edwards become the PBA's 32nd and 33rd millionaires... TV ratings in the male 18-34 demographic increase by 12.5 percent... Tournament entries increase by 19.7%... Membership reaches an all-time high of 4,300 at season's end... Kelly Kulick becomes the first woman to earn a full-season exemption on Tour when she finishes sixth in the 2006 Denny's PBA Tour Trials.
The PBA Tour's 48th season starts off with a bang as Walter Ray Williams Jr. breaks the Tour's all-time titles record, earning win No. 42 over Pete Weber in the Dydo Japan Cup... For the first time since 1999 the season saw two televised 300 games as Tony Reyes fires the 17th perfect game en route to his first career title in the 2006 Motor City Classic while Ryan Shafer's fires No. 18 in the 2007 Pepsi Championship... Doug Kent makes history by winning the 2006 USBC Masters and the 2007 Denny's World Championship making him just the sixth bowler in history to win two Majors in a season... Two bowlers made historic debuts as Kelly Kulick and Billy Oatman become the Tour's first-ever exempt female and African-American, respectively, under the Tour's all-exempt format... A record is set for Denny's PBA Tour Qualifying Round entries as 147 bowlers attempt to qualify for the 2007 Pepsi Championship at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis... Denny's, the PBA and the United States Bowling Congress team up to present the inagural Denny's All-American High School Championships featuring 29 of the best high school bowlers (14 boys, 15 girls) in an event which ran in conjunction with the Denny's World Championship... The event airs tape-delayed on ESPN... ESPN also continues to air special PBA programming throughout the Tour season and the off-season, including the third annual Motel 6 Roll to Riches, won by Doug Kent, and the PBA Skills Challenge, which featured a new doubles format, won by Kent and Danny Wiseman... The PBA and USBC announce a special summer series, The PBA All-Star Shootout Hosted by Six Flags which features 16 PBA stars competing in a special made-for-TV doubles event which airs throughout the summer on ESPN... The PBA and USBC also announce a PBA Women's Series which will feature a 16-woman exempt field competing in four events running concurrrently with Denny's PBA Tour events in 2007-08... New PBA sponsors including Columbia 300, Discover® Card, Etonic, Flomax, Go RVing and H&R Block... The PBA Senior Tour features 13 events in 2007, up from nine in 2006, including the return of the PBA Ladies and Legends.
The third season of the Denny's title sponsorship is a success, with Denny's taking naming rights of both the World Championship and U.S. Open... Walter Ray Williams Jr. quickly displayed why he is one of the sport's all-time greats, taking no time to win his 43rd career victory at the 2007 Motor City Classic. The win continued his streak of now 15 consecutive seasons with one or more titles. Williams went on to add another win to his resume, capturing his 44th career title in the 2007 Great Lakes Classic. Despite leading the Tour in both points and average, breaking PBA records with his seventh Harry Smith Point Leader Award and his seventh George Young High Average Award, and leading the Denny's PBA Tour with a 228.34 average, Williams finished second in the PBA Player of the Year race as the PBA instituted a point system to determine the POY. Although Williams led the race in 13 of the first 14 weeks of the season, the back-and-forth race saw Denny's PBA Tour star Chris Barnes coming out victorious by a mere two points in the PBA Player of the Year rankings.... Barnes and Williams are two of the six bowlers who win two titles in 2007-08, the first time since 1995 no bowler won more than two titles... Rhino Page puts together perhaps the greatest rookie season in PBA history, advancing to five championship rounds and winning the Go RVing Classic; he made all five of his shows after advancing from the Denny's PBA Tour Qualifying Round and broke nearly every TQR record in the book... The first-ever PBA Women's Series runs simultaneously with four Denny's PBA Tour events, featuring 16 of the greatest female bowlers in the world; Diandra Asbaty, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Joy Esterson and Shannon Pluhowsky take home titles while Dorin-Ballard leads the series in nearly every statistical category... The PBA holds a doubles event for the first time since 2001 with Michael Fagan and Danny Wiseman teaming up to win the PBA Exempt Doubles Classic, giving Fagan his first Denny's PBA Tour title and Wiseman his 12th.... With the most roller coaster season in PBA history, Norm Duke also found himself in the PBA Player of the Year race. Battling a series of injuries at the start of the tour, Duke dug himself into a hole in the PBA World Point Rankings and was on the verge of losing his exemption before putting together one of the greatest late-season runs in PBA history. Duke went on to win the final two Majors of the season --- the Denny's World Championship and the 65th Denny's U.S. Open. He became just the sixth bowler in history to win back-to-back Majors and the tenth bowler to win two Majors in a season. The combined $150,000 he won over the two events propelled him to lead the Tour in earnings with $176,855. More importantly, the two Majors made Duke only the second bowler in the history of the PBA to win the Grand Slam --- victories in the Tournament of Champions, U.S. Open, World Championship, and the USBC Masters. Although Duke fell short of winning the prestigious PBA Player of the Year award, his late season accomplishments led him to win the Bowler of the Year ESPY Award at the 2008 ESPYs.... Also in the PBA Player of the Year race was Wes Malott, who continued to be one of the most consistent bowlers on Tour. Malott captured the 2008 Lumber Liquidators Championship beating out three lefties for the title. Capturing a title for the third consecutive season, Malott finished third in the PBA World Point Rankings and had six championship round appearances. Going over the $100,000 mark in season earnings for the third straight year, averaging 223.77 for the season, Malott ultimately finished tied for fourth with Mike Scroggins in the PBA Player of the Year race.
The organization celebrated its 50th anniversary in the 2008-09 season which culminated with the naming of the 50 greatest players in PBA history. A gala to honor those players was held at the Red Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, in conjunction with the H&R Block Tournament of Champions…A Player of the Year race that came down to the final frame of the season and a two-handed bowling sensation from Australia who won his first title, highlighted award-winning performances during the 2008-09 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour season. As the season entered the home stretch, it appeared as though Wes Malott had Player of the Year honors well in hand. But going into the Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open - the last event and major of the season - the 6-foot-4 right-hander from Pflugerville, Texas, had to watch from the sidelines as Norm Duke and Chris Barnes took one last shot at the honor. Ultimately Malott would win the Player of the Year crown but needed help from fellow Texan Mike Scroggins, who defeated Barnes in the semifinal match and Duke in the championship match, to end their Player of the Year hopes…Despite finishing 18th in the U.S. Open, the 32-year-old Malott had a stellar year, winning three titles and finishing fifth in earnings with $174,680. He also won PBA's unique Versatility Swing which consisted of six the PBA Tour events conducted on each of PBA's six lane conditioning patterns. He also won the George Young High Average Award with a 222.98 average, edging Bill O'Neill by .02 of a pin…Malott backed up his Player of pba story the Year honor by earning a berth in the King of Bowling Powered by Amp Energy series and going on to win it in grand style by becoming the first bowler ever to bowl two televised 300 games…Barnes, who came on strong in the last half of the season winning two titles, was able to hang on to the Harry Smith Point Leader Award presented to the player who exemplified the most consistent performance throughout the year…Thanks to three titles, including the season-opening PBA World Championship, Duke ended the regular season as the earnings leader with $199,630, more than $20,000 ahead of Scroggins' $177,920. Duke's World Championship win to open the season made him the first bowler in PBA history to win three consecutive major titles…The Tour season featured unique Versatility, West Coast, Extreme and Grand Slam "swing" segments designed to measure player performances across series of events featuring varying formats and lane conditions... Australian two-handed bowling sensation Jason Belmonte was named the 2008-09 Harry Golden Rookie of the Year. Belmonte won The Bowling Foundation Long Island Classic - his first Tour title and the first by a twohander - earning an exemption for the 2009-10 season. The 25-year-old Aussie made the match play field six times and cashed in eight of the nine events he entered. Belmonte's unique bowling style garnered a great deal of media attention throughout the 2008-09 season… Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., earned the PBA's Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award. Shafer, a four-time PBA Tour titlist who won Rookie of the Year honors in 1987, earned the sportsmanship award for the first time…Rhino Page earned a $100,000 bonus for bowling a televised 300 game in the Dydo Japan Cup which was won by Patrick Allen…Eight events were conducted in the second season of the PBA Women's Series presented by the United States Bowling Congress, an increase of four events from the previous season. Michelle Feldman was the lone double winner with Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Stefanie Nation, Jodi Woessner, Liz Johnson and Wendy Macpherson also winning titles. Dorin-Ballard also won a special end-ofseason PBA Women's Showdown event…Ron Mohr had a stellar year on the Senior Tour as the only three-time winner, including the 2009 season's first two events. He led the Senior Tour in points and money earnings…Team GEICO, with Barnes, Malott, Mika Koivuniemi, Mike Wolfe and Brad Angelo shared in the $108,000 first prize by winning the GEICO PBA Team Shootout presented by Six Flags conducted at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J. 2009-10.
The inspirational achievements of Kelly Kulick and Tom Smallwood resulted in unprecedented media coverage for professional bowling during the 2009-10 season…32-year-old Kelly Kulick won the PBA Tournament of Champions, becoming the first woman to win a Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour event. Qualifying fourth in the stepladder finals, Kulick, who previously became the first woman to win a Tour exemption (2006-07 season), defeated Chris Barnes in the championship match, 265-195, to win PBA's signature event and a two-year Tour exemption. During the 2009-10 season, Kulick also won the PBA Women's World Championship, U.S. Women's Open and USBC Queens titles – four consecutive "majors" – plus her second PBA regional title…After being laid off from his job at General Motors, Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Mich., decided to pursue his professional bowling dream and earned an exemption for 2009-10 by finishing third in the PBA Tour Trials. He parlayed that opportunity into a PBA World Championship title later in the year…Kulick's and Smallwood's stories appeared in Sports Illustrated, National Enquirer, Parade magazine and major daily newspapers as well as numerous cable and network television newscasts and morning shows…At age 50, Walter Ray Williams Jr. earned a record seventh PBA Player of the Year honor (becoming the oldest ever to win that honor) and extended his all-time lead in career titles to 47. His two titles included his second USBC Masters for his eighth major and he extended his record streak of consecutive seasons winning at least one title to 17…Williams also led the Tour points list, average (222.89), match play appearances (15), cashes (19), and was the top money earner with $152,670 extending his record of most consecutive $100,000-plus seasons to 19. Williams also won a record seventh "Best Bowler" ESPY award and made his PBA Senior Tour debut, winning the first event he entered…To reduce costs in an increasingly difficult economic climate and to showcase the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour, Women's Series and Senior Tour players in a unique setting, the PBA introduced the PBA World Series of Bowling. The World Series consisted of six Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour events, five Women's Series tournaments and the PBA Senior World Championship – all conducted over a five-week period in August and September at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich. The tape-delayed finals of most events aired by ESPN to begin the 2009-10 season with the Tour's traditional live telecasts returning for the second half of the season…Bill O'Neill won his first two career titles after five seasons on Tour, including the U.S. Open…Also winning their first PBA Tour titles were Anthony LaCaze, who went on to win the Harry Golden Rookie of the Year award, and Brian Kretzer… Jack Jurek's victory in the Shark Championship ended the longest streak between titles in PBA history (14 years, 175 days)…PBA legend Mark Roth suffered a disabling stroke during the season, but recovered enough strength to attend the GEICO Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship, named in his honor. Former PBA member Brian Zeisig won that event to become the first amateur ever to win a PBA Tour event…George Lambert IV won the Steve Nagy Sportsmanship award.
PBA's signature tournament — the PBA Tournament of Champions — became a landmark event in professional bowling, offering a record $1 million prize fund and $250,000 first prize. It also marked the event's return to ABC-TV, its traditional Saturday afternoon timeslot, after an absence of 14 years. Eligibility for the tournament was expanded, allowing any player who had won a PBA title of any kind to enter… For the second consecutive year, the TOC finals at Red Rock Lanes in Las Vegas provided some of the most dramatic television moments in PBA history. Mika Koivuniemi won his third major title by defeating Tom Smallwood, who earned $100,000 for second, 269-207, in the championship match, but most of the drama came in the semifinal match when Koivuniemi defeated regional player Tom Daugherty, 299-100, setting marks for largest margin of victory and lowest game on a TV final…History was made in the season-opening 2010 edition of the World Series of Bowling which featured a sold-out field and the largest international contingent in PBA history (46 players representing 14 countries). During the World Series, Yong-Jin Gu of South Korea won the Scorpion Championship to become the first Korean to win a PBA Tour title. He won four consecutive matches and defeated countryman Jun-Yung Kim, 236-224, in the title match. Finland's two-handed star, Osku Palermaa, also won his first PBA Tour title in the GEICO Shark Championship…Chris Barnes won the PBA World Championship by defeating Bill O'Neill, 267-237, in the title match to conclude the World Series, becoming the sixth player to win PBA's triple crown …Koivuniemi was part of another dramatic television moment in the Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open but this time on the losing end when he failed led to convert a 10 pin spare in the 10th frame of the title match giving Norm Duke his 34th career Tour title and seventh major. But, Koivuniemi's U.S. Open television appearance made him the first player in Tour history to make the TV finals in all four majors (Tournament of Champions, U.S. Open, USBC Masters and PBA World Championship) in the same season…PBA inaugurated a playoff system for the first time, culminating with the season-ending Dick Weber Playoffs at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis. The unique event brought top points-earners from seven PBA regional programs together with exempt players in a unique event that incorporated a regional and conference elimination rounds. The event was won by Dick Allen defeating Barnes in 2 games to 0 in the championship round for his third career title…The bowling industry lost three of its most heralded writers — PBA Hall of Famers Matt Fiorito, Detroit; Dick Evans; Miami, and John Archibald, St. Louis…After a one-year hiatus, PBA inducted three new honorees into its Hall of Fame during ceremonies in Las Vegas — 13-time Tour titlist Randy Pedersen, 11-time Senior Tour winner Dale Eagle and lane maintenance pioneer Len Nicholson…Tommy Hess won his first Tour title and first major in the Bayer USBC Masters by defeating Jack Jurek, 225-214 in the title match…PBA Tour television history was made when both the PBA World Championship and U.S. Open featured multiple live telecasts on ESPN and ESPN2…Koivuniemi's $333,040 in earnings marked the fourth time a player has earned more than $300,000 in a season and ranking third on the all-time list. ..Walter Ray Williams Jr.'s record streak for most years winning at least one Tour title came to an end at 17 when he failed to win a Tour event for the first time since 1992. But Williams kept his record streak of 26 years with at least on TV appearance alive with an appearance in the PBA Playoffs…2010-11 season was the first in PBA history without a multiple-title winner…Koivuniemi was the overwhelming selection as 2010-11 Chris Schenkel Player of the Year …Thanks in part to his first title in the Chameleon Championship, Scott Norton earned Harry Golden Rookie of the Year honors and Jack Jurek earned his second Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award…Kamron Doyle of Brentwood, Tenn., became the youngest player in PBA history – at age 12 – to "cash" in a PBA event when he finished 30th in a PBA South Region event in Canton, Ga. Doyle's $400 prize went into his scholarship account.
The PBA began the season with new leadership with the appointment of Geoff Reiss as CEO and Tom Clark elevated to the position of Commissioner…The PBA Tour once again kicked off its 2011-12 season with the third World Series of Bowling at the South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas, attracting players from a record 15 foreign countries… Sean Rash made a record five consecutive WSOB television appearances but failed to win a title. He would end the season, however, with a win in the PBA Tournament of Champions…The World Series of Bowling was dominated by international players who won seven of eight titles. Jason Belmonte of Australia led international players with three titles. Other international players winning titles were, Dom Barrett and Stuart Williams of England, Andres Gomez of Colombia and Osku Palermaa won the PBA World Championship…The World Series also hosted the first World Tenpin Bowling Association World Bowling Tour finals won by Mika Koivuneimi and Carolyn Dorin-Ballard …Pete Weber won a record fifth U.S. Open title in a dramatic 215-214 win over Mike Fagan at Carolier Lanes in New Jersey… PBA entered into an agreement with the World Tenpin Bowling Tour to include selected WTBT international tournaments as PBA Tour events… In addition to Palermaa, Weber and Rash the other major winner in 2011-12 was Mike Fagan (USBC Masters)…PBA entered into an agreement with Teen Masters to hold selected qualifying events in conjunction with PBA regional tournaments…16-time PBA Tour titlist and three-time Tournament of Champions winner Jason Couch and 11-time Senior Tour champion Gene Stus were inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame…Walter Ray Williams Jr. failed to make a television appearance for the first time in a record 26 years…Youth bowler Kamron Doyle once again made history becoming the youngest player to cash in the U.S. Open at the age of 14…The previous season he became the youngest bowler to cash in a PBA regional at age 12…PBA's Xtra Frame online bowling channel significantly increased its live coverage of PBA events with the inclusion of four Xtra Frame Tour events that were streamed live in their entirety…2011-12 was the first season since 1962 without a left-handed winner…Missy Parkin recorded the highest finish by a woman in the USBC Masters (9th) and U.S. Open (21st) ...Rash's Tournament of Champions win and performances in the World Series of Bowling helped him earn his first Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year honor which was announced on a feature webcast on pba.com's Xtra Frame online bowling channel…Josh Blanchard earned Harry Golden Rookie of the Year honors and Martin Larsen of Sweden earned the Steve Nagy Sportsmanship award. ...Walter Ray Williams Jr. earned his first Senior Player of the Year crown with the help of two wins in 2012...Amleto Monacelli became first international player to win the Etonic Senior U.S. Open...Mike Edwards became first native-American to win a Senior Tour event by capturing the USBC Senior Masters title ...Amleto Monacelli was selected as Senior Rookie of the Year and Dave Soutar was named Dick Weber Sportsmanship Award winner.