The PBA Tour

The PBA Tour is the major ten-pin bowling pro tour run by the Professional Bowlers Association. With its headquarters based in Seattle, the PBA boasts 43,000 members around the world. A small number of these members compete both nationally and international, which forms the PBA Tour. Each year, from September to April, the Tour holds a number of events for members of them PBA. These events are posted across the U.S. The Tour also co-hosts the Round1 Japan Cup with Japan Professional Bowling Association (JPBA). A number of American members compete against Europeans in the Weber Cup.

Finals formats

Prior to the PBA making its 1962 debut on ABC television, the majority of tournaments saw a specific number of match-play games after the cut was made post-qualifying rounds. Each match winner was awarded a bonus pin. The champions were determined by the final number of total pinfall. ABC televised the PBA tournaments until in 1998, it moved over to CBS, which saw the introduction of a dual-match format.

When the World Series of Bowling was introduced in the 2009-10 season, the televised finals for all of the series’ tournaments adopted a four-man stepladder format. That changed to an “eliminator” format in 2011. The top four players from qualification bowled together, with the top three on the scoreboard moving on to the next match. The top two on the scoreboard would then compete in the final. The four-man stepladder format was introduced to the WSOB in 2012, excluding the PBA World Championship, which opted for a five-man stepladder format in the final.

The perfect (or close to) televised game

The most memorable of the around 300 championship games that have been televised took place on April 4th, 1970 when Dick Ritger was beaten by Don Johnson, handing Johnson the Firestone Tournament of Champions title at Fairlawn’s Riviera Lanes in Ohio. With Johnson already having 11 strikes in the bag, he threw ball No. 12 before stepping back and dropping to the floor. Johnson stood up to a roaring ovation after he knocked down nine pins and won the title. He received a cheque from Firestone for $25,000, along with the trophy, of course. He was also given the 10th pin that would have given him an additional $100,000 if it went down, as well as a Mercury Cougar, for what would have been a perfect game. It’s been named the most memorable moment in the history of the event by Internet bowling channel Xtra Frame.

Player of the Year

The PBA Player of the Year was first recognised in 1963. The Sporting News awarded the recognition from 1963-70 before the PBA membership assumed that role from 1971-2007. The following season, a new system was established, where the winner was determined by a points-based system. Chris Barnes was the first player to earn this honour under the new system after he beat Walter Ray Williams Jr. by just two points. This system lasted only three seasons. The player vote was subsequently reintroduced the following season.