2022 Season Begins with Player of the Year Kyle Troup Defending His Players Championship Title
For the second consecutive year, the Guaranteed Rate PBA Tour season begins with the PBA Players Championship presented by Snickers. Five regional qualifying events will be live-streamed on FloBowling Saturday and Sunday, from which five players from each region will advance to the regional finals to air on FS1 beginning January 22. The championship finals will air live on FS1 on January 29.
Here are some of the storylines heading into the 2022 PBA Players Championship:
Player of the Year Defends His Title
Kyle Troup won the 2021 Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year Award on the strength of two titles, the first of which was the PBA Players Championship. He led all the way through, from East Region qualifying to the seeding round and ultimately the championship match. He carried the season-opening momentum through to his win in the PBA Playoffs and also finished second three times among nine top-10 finishes in 2021.
Five Regions Establish Players Championship Identity
Last season, we saw a mix of established stars and relative unknowns qualifying for the regional finals in each of the five regions, adding a new type of excitement to the telecasts while also establishing a distinguishing feature of The Players Championship. All PBA members are eligible to enter and compete in their regional qualifiers in an effort to ultimately make it to the regional finals and the championship finals.
Mookie Betts Returns to PBA Competition
Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Mookie Betts, who famously rolled a 300 game during World Series of Bowling IX in 2017, will compete in the West Region qualifier. Betts last competed on the PBA Tour in the 2020 Hall of Fame Classic.
Another Chance for O’Neill
Bill O’Neill won the 2020 PBA Players Championship and qualified for the 2021 East Region finals before having to withdraw due to illness, costing him a chance to defend his title. This year, O’Neill will attempt to do what he did last year and qualify for the regional finals, with the goal of getting through to the championship and winning what would be his third career major title.
Chris Via’s Major Performance
Chris Via has finished in the top five in five of the last seven majors in which he’s competed, including earning his first career title in the 2021 U.S. Open. In last season’s Players Championship, Via made it to the East Region finals and bowled a 300 game (his first of two on the season) before being eliminated.
More Major Milestones
A win for Norm Duke would make him the third player ever to complete the Super Slam of all five majors, joining Mike Aulby (1996) and Jason Belmonte (2020). Duke owns two PBA World Championship titles, two U.S. Open titles and one each in the USBC Masters and Tournament of Champions.
If Belmonte can win the Players Championship, he’ll become the first player to win four different majors on three separate occasions. He has four USBC Masters titles, three World Championship titles, three Tournament of Champions titles and two Players Championship titles along with his lone U.S. Open win.
Since it returned to the PBA Tour in 2011, the Players Championship has been relatively friendly to first-time major champions. Four of the last nine winners, including Troup in 2021, won their first major championships in the event. Belmonte (2011, retroactively credited), Scott Norton (2013) and Graham Fach (2016) are the others.
Live coverage on FloBowling begins Saturday, January 15 at 10 a.m. ET from each of the following regions:
- West: Bowlero Cerritos, Cerritos, Calif.
- Southwest: AMF Garland Lanes, Garland, Texas
- Midwest: AMF West End, Milwaukee, Wis.
- East: Bowlero West End, Richmond, Va.
- South: AMF University Lanes, Tampa, Fla.
PBA Players Championship Winners Since 2011
2011 – Jason Belmonte
2012 – not held
2013 – Scott Norton
2014 – not held
2015 – Parker Bohn III
2016 – Graham Fach
2017 – Jason Belmonte
2018 – Tom Smallwood
2019 – Anthony Simonsen
2020 – Bill O’Neill
2021 – Kyle Troup
About the PBA
The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) is the world’s preeminent organization dedicated to the sport of bowling and its professional competition, with thousands of members and millions of fans throughout the world. The PBA plays host to bowling’s biggest tournaments from the PBA Tour, PBA Regional Tour, and PBA50 Tour. In 2020, the PBA launched PBA Jr., a club for elite youth bowlers under the age of 17 and the PBA Pinsiders, a membership for fans of the sport. For more information, please visit PBA.com.