Indianapolis’ Woodland Poised to Expand Its Extensive PBA Legacy at U.S. Open
Royal Pin Woodland in Indianapolis, the site of this year’s U.S. Open presented by Go Bowling!, has been at the forefront of the bowling’s evolution for decades. It’s the only center to have hosted all five PBA majors, and the game’s most revered names have all left their mark — literally.
Each PBA Tour champion at Woodland earns a banner that hangs within its bar/restaurant “Beer Thirty.” The bar serves as the center’s personal hall of fame, as the names of past and present icons dangle from its rafters.
Walter Ray Williams Jr. tied Earl Anthony’s record at Woodland with his 41st career PBA title in 2006. Norm Duke won the first of a PBA-record three consecutive majors there in 2008.
But arguably the most transformative victory in the Hoosier State’s epicenter came 10 years ago.
With a 224-179 victory in the 2013 Tournament of Champions title match, Pete Weber equaled the great Earl Anthony with his 10th career major title. It was a triumph more than three decades in the making.
The 50-year-old, longtime face of professional bowling had finally ascended to the apex. As he raised both arms to the sky and his signature sunglasses descended to the floor, all the runner-up, 29-year-old Jason Belmonte, could do was watch.
In many ways, the match represents a turning point in PBA history. And much of the transition from one era to the next can be traced back to Woodland.
Belmonte, who only owned a single major title at the time (though a second would be retroactively awarded), accelerated his charge to surpass Weber and Anthony the next season. He won the next two Tournament of Champions, including the 2015 event at Woodland.
EJ Tackett was the Rookie of the Year in 2013, and made his U.S. Open debut on his home turf in 2010. Jakob Butturff won his first televised title at Woodland in 2018.
For Anthony Simonsen, the Indianapolis venue has been particularly momentous. It’s where he became the youngest ever major champion in 2016, and where he became the youngest to win three majors at last year’s U.S. Open.
Despite the mutiny by the game’s next generation, the old guard didn’t go down without a fight.
In 2015, Parker Bohn III snared his 34th career title and third major in a roll-off against Indiana’s own Ronnie Russell. Eleven years after his 2008 win, Duke returned to Woodland and captured the first of his back-to-back titles at 54.
It’s almost hard to fathom one venue could be the setting of so much history. And yet, as the banners within Beer Thirty are joined by the PBA Tour’s own in the main concourse for the U.S. Open, Indiana’s finest modern player, Tackett, is still in search of the former.
From Belmonte’s ambitions of a second Super Slam to Tackett and Kris Prather’s Triple Crown pursuit, not to mention the limitless potential for new legacies to be written, the scene is primed for another transformative moment in PBA history.
Qualifying for the 2023 U.S. Open presented by Go Bowling! begins on Tuesday, Jan. 31. All rounds leading up to the televised finals will be livestreamed on BowlTV.
Tickets for the first telecast on Feb. 4 are available here.
More information on the U.S. Open is available here.