PBA Returns to Memphis for “Throwback” Tournament Honoring the Late PBA Hall of Famer Billy Hardwick
by Bill Vint | Sunday, June 18, 2:15 PM
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Professional Bowlers Association will make a unique appearance in Memphis June 23-25 for the inaugural PBA Xtra Frame Billy Hardwick Memorial Open presented by Chris Hardwick, a tournament that will honor the late PBA Hall of Famer by requiring the top bowlers in the world to compete in a limited technology event that will present them with a one-of-a-kind challenge.
Billy Hardwick’s All Star Lanes will host the event, which will be covered from first ball to last by PBA’s Xtra Frame, an online live streaming service that will reach a global bowling audience. It will be the first PBA Tour event in Memphis since 2002 when Brian Voss won the Memphis Open at Winchester Lanes.
One of the unique aspects of the tournament is that all players will be limited to using two bowling balls each, and those balls must be approved polyester plastic that were state-of-the-art more than 30 years ago. The restriction on the number of balls a player can use, and limitations on technology involved in the balls, will place a premium on shot-making, accuracy and the ability to make adjustments without simply changing to a different ball or a different ball drilling configuration.
The bowling ball restrictions, in combination with a low-volume application of oil on the lanes, is expected to create scoring conditions similar to those Hardwick faced when he became an 18-time champion, and PBA’s first Triple Crown winner, in the early years of organized professional bowling. Hardwick, who was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame in 1977, died in 2013 at age 73. Hardwick was ranked No. 12 – right behind the legendary Don Carter – on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in PBA History during the organization’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2009.
The Billy Hardwick Memorial will be a revival of the PBA Plastic Ball Championship events held in 2008 (Jeff Carter), 2009 (amateur Brian Ziesig) and 2010 (Jason Couch). A full field of 80 bowlers is expected to compete for the $10,000 first prize. Among the early entries are bowlers from Sweden, Thailand, The Netherlands, Japan, Canada, Denmark, South Africa, Ireland, Australia and Malaysia.
PBA Tour title-winners among the early entries include Memphis’ Gary Faulkner Jr., the 2015 PBA World Champion; Dick Allen of Columbia, S.C.; Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas; Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y.; PBA Hall of Famer Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla.; Tom Daugherty of Riverview, Fla.; Graham Fach of Canada; Thomas Larsen of Denmark; Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio; Jake Peters of Henderson, Nev.; Anthony Simonsen of Austin, Texas; Jesper Svensson of Sweden; Kyle Troup of Taylorsville, N.C.; Dave Wodka of Beavercreek, Ohio, and Mike Wolfe of New Albany, Ind.
All nine of the PBA’s Xtra Frame tournaments during the 2017 season will be covered live in their entirety, exclusively by PBA’s Xtra Frame live streaming service, which is seen by bowling fans around the world. For Xtra Frame subscriptions, visit xtraframe.tv. Subscription packages are available for three days ($2.99), 30 days ($7.99) and a full year (about $1.25 a week).
Competition begins on Saturday, June 24, with eight-game qualifying beginning at 1 p.m. CDT. After qualifying, the top one-third of the field will advance to a four-game cashers round at 8 a.m. Sunday, followed by the top 16 players advancing to three-game single-elimination match play rounds at 11 a.m. (qualifiers 9-16), 1:30 p.m. (winners plus qualifiers 5-8), and 4 p.m. (winners plus qualifiers 1-4). The four survivors will bowl a one-game match at 6:30 p.m., with the top two scores advancing to the one-game championship match at 7 p.m. All times are Central
A practice session is scheduled for 3-5 p.m. on Friday, June 23, and a pro-am event where grassroots amateur bowlers can bowl with the pros will be conducted at 6 p.m. For tournament pro-am and admission information contact Billy Hardwick’s All Star Lanes at (901) 683-2695.
PBA XTRA FRAME BILLY HARDWICK MEMORIAL OPEN SCHEDULE
presented by Chris Hardwick
Billy Hardwick’s All Star Lanes, Memphis, Tenn. (All times Central)
Friday, June 23
3-5 p.m. - Practice Session
6 p.m. - Pro-am
Saturday, June 24
1 p.m. - Eight qualifying games
Top 1/3 advance to Cashers Round
Sunday, June 25
8 a.m. - Cashers Round (four games)
Top 16 advance
11 a.m. – Round One: Qualifiers 9-16, three-games total pinfall single-elimination matches
1:30 p.m. – Round Two: Qualifiers 5-8 plus Round One winners, three-games total pinfall single-elimination matches
4 p.m. – Round Three: Qualifiers 1-4 plus Round Two winners, three-games total pinfall single-elimination matches
6:30 p.m. – Round Four: Round Three winners, one game, top two advance
7 p.m. – Championship: Round Four winners, one game