Raising the Bar

by PBA Editor March 31, 2007 19:00
When two titles are considered a down year, it can only mean the bar has been raised to an unbelievably high level.

Tommy Jones has raised the bar higher than any bowler in Denny’s PBA Tour history, capturing his 10th career title and second Major Sunday with a 257-222 win over Tony Reyes to win the 2007 PBA Tournament of Champions at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Jones won his 10 titles in two years, six months and seven days, breaking the PBA record for shortest time between first and 10 titles by four days. PBA legend Dick Weber held the record for 45 years until Jones salvaged what was considered a down year for the 28-year-old.

Jones won his first career title in the 2004 Japan Cup and went on to win four titles in both 2004-05 and 2005-06, including his first Major in last season’s 63rd U.S. Open. He had won just one title this season coming into this week, but he dominated both his opponents on Sunday.

“It feels great. I haven’t been bowling very well this season, but I worked with Del Ballard recently and I have to thank him for getting me back here,” said Jones, the 2005-06 PBA Player of the Year, of the 12-time titlist. “Next year I’m going to be back and ready to go again. I’m ready to win another Player of the Year.”

Though he hasn’t been among the many bowlers in a crowded PBA Player of the Year race, Jones did take another step toward history, capturing his second of the PBA’s Triple Crown events. He only needs a World Championship title to become the fifth bowler in history to win the Triple Crown.

The title match was never in doubt as Jones started with six consecutive strikes while Reyes, making his Tournament of Champions debut, struggled with just one strike in the first four frames including an open in the 4th frame.

Jones advanced to the title match with a 279-238 win over the defending champion Chris Barnes. On the 40th anniversary of the Tour’s first-ever televised 300 game in the 1967 Tournament of Champions, Jones looked like he might repeat the feat, starting with the first seven strikes. A 10-pin in the 8th frame foiled the effort, but he recovered with four consecutive strikes to close out the match.

Reyes advanced to the title match with a 215-206 win over Norm Duke.

Jones (Simpsonville, S.C.) earned $60,000 for the win. Reyes (San Bruno, Calif.) took home $20,000 for second, while Barnes (Double Oak, Texas) and Duke (Clermont, Fla.) earned $10,000 each for third and fourth, respectively.

The Tournament of Champions wraps up the 2006-07 Denny’s PBA Tour season. Next week, six bowlers will compete in a special winner-take-all event, the 2007 Motel 6 Roll to Riches at Sequoia Pro Bowl in Columbus, Ohio. The Major winners from this season (Doug Kent, Jones and Pete Weber), PBA World Point Rankings leader (Wes Malott) and two bowlers from an on-line fan vote (Duke, Walter Ray Williams Jr.) will compete for the $150,000 top prize.

Denny’s PBA Tour
2007 PBA Tournament of Champions
Mohegan Sun Arena
Uncasville, Conn.
Sunday, April 1

CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND


Pos.Name, hometownTotal/GamesMoney
1.Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C.536 (2 games)$60,000
2.Tony Reyes, San Bruno, Calif.437 (2 games)$20,000
3.Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas238 (1 game)$10,000
4.Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla.206 (1 game)$10,000



SCORES – In the first match, Reyes def. Duke, 215-206; in the second match, Jones def. Barnes, 279-238; and in the final, Jones def. Reyes, 257-222.




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Life on Tour

by PBA Editor March 30, 2007 19:00
By Chris Barnes

What a roller coaster week! I guess we could start with the show in Grand Rapids, my chance to really pull into the POY race with a win in the World Championship. Some good breaks, some bad ones, a bad choice and a 4-pin later, the best bowler that week won when Doug Kent doubled in the 9th and 10th to shut me out. I catch a quick flight home to spend a couple of nights in my own bed and the first ones in our house since we moved.

Monday is a little disappointing as it rains so I am not able to spend much time outside with my kids. The upside is that we get to go bowling and a little practice is in order for me as well with our final major - the Tournament of Champions - waiting. We get our share in and then go to the airport and pick up my cousin, Austin, who is flying in for a day. He and a business partner, Dave, come in and we keep the boys up way too late and have a ball.

Tuesday the rain stops and the swinging, swearing, and chasing starts with a round of golf. I am forced to keep the swearing to myself though as Austin and Dave are both ministers. Fortunately 3-putts were kept to a minimum....

Wednesday - up WAY too early to catch a 6:55 a.m. flight to Hartford to get there in time for the Pro-Am. I pick up Mika Koivuniemi and we relax for a while before our 7:00 p.m. Pro-Am. The Pro-Am is great. A lot of entries and I get a chance to bowl with a lot of kids. They are the best in the Pro-Ams. Their energy is refreshing and helps us get recharged for the upcoming week.

Thursday - Practice session and WOW... you forget how slick 50 feet of oil can be! It’s time to gear the speed down a bunch and pull out the scotch brite and abralon pads. Two hours later and a couple of worn out 360 & 500 pads, the arsenal is pretty well set for the week. We get to bowl in a competition with the 14 Pro-Am winners from the season and have a lot of fun on the tournament pattern. That night we have a draw party to see our brackets for the tournament. A little trash talking and a couple of improbable superpower match-ups cause the most reaction with Parker bowling Couch and Walter Ray Williams and Petey going at it in the first round.

Friday - I pulled Rick Lawrence in the first round and he, as well as the other lefties, come out firing. Before I know what hit me Rick has me down 3-0 and is averaging almost 250. Fortunately for me, his ball starts to hook too early and he loses some reaction and my barrage of 220 games is enough to win one. The hook starts to make my shot a little better and I improve a little each game to 230, 240, and finally 250 to close out the match and a desperate comeback that leaves my Player of the Year chances intact. It is ugly for a couple of other hopefuls, as Walter Ray continued his dominance of PDW and hurt his chances while Big Wes is swept by Patrick Allen. I think Wes has had the best and most consistent season, but this is not the statement he wanted to go out on.

Norm Duke and Doug Kent both win and the chase continues... I bowl Patrick Healey Jr. in the next round. We are former college teammates, Team USA teammates, as well as World Team Challenge and ABC teammates. That being said, I guess it is safe to say we are not the best of friends these days. He is Mika's ex roommate and I guess that doesn't help much either. Patrick and I both start out well but I miss a spare to give him a chance to shut me out. He ring 10's a couple of times and I strike out to win game one. In game two he starts well but after a 10-pin, he moves left of 20 and leaves me alone around 16 and I am able to keep my reaction longer than I thought. He rebounds to win game three but moves even further left and I am able to get back on track in game four. Game five is ugly and he splits twice to start and I catch a couple of breaks to go up 30 pins and he is steaming. He goes through the motions but shoots 149 and gives me the last game. Not sure if he will come back out on tour next year or not. He bowled his way on Tour last week in Grand Rapids, but also skipped the week before knowing he was on the bubble. I have no idea......

Dougie Fresh goes down in this round in a seven-gamer to Tommy Jones. He has put on a nice run to finish off the year and has to be one of candidates for POY. Norm looked to be in trouble down 2-0 to Amleto but Norm is Norm in grinding out the next four games in a low-scoring match.

Saturday we move to the Mohegan Sun to a magnificent arena south of Hartford. We are changing from an AMF surface to Brunswick and from 20 foot ceilings to 60 foot. We have an early practice and there is much more hook at one, two and three than in Hartford but it doesn't really make it any easier as there still is 40 feet of oil after that. I bowl my friend and one time roommate Mike Wolfe. Mike has had one of the best looks in the tournament in Hartford, but the extra hook seems to have affected his ball reaction more than anyone else's. I would have considered myself the underdog in this match based on ball reaction up to this point, but I move right to the same area as him and his ball struggled to catch the extra hit and I was able to trip the 4-pins and stay out of trouble.

I felt bad for Mike as he has bowled really well this year and should have probably made three or four shows, but has caught the hottest guy in the tournament (Rash in Baltimore, Couch in Reno, Walter Ray in Parkersburg) during the matches. I have no doubt he will rebound and have his best year in the upcoming season. My POY hopes are still alive and Duke rebounds again from an early deficit to beat Kong Cable (Robert Smith) 4-2. With Tommy stepping it up and Reyes making his third straight show and living up to all the promise he has shown out here, tomorrow will be a heck of a show.

Sunday - up early to iron the show shirt, check out, get the car and drive it around to the loading docks so after the show I can load up and get on the road back to the airport. My flight is at 5:30 and the show will end at 2:30. It’s about 45 minutes to the airport so if I win, this will give me enough time to do media, autographs and still catch my flight. No surprises on the show. They are similar to the night before and there is less tension than usual. Odd considering all that is on the line: POY, Roll to Riches, and a Major title. But then Norm hasn't lost on TV in a year, Reyes and I are back on from the week before which always raises your comfort level, and Tommy Horseshoe knows nothing bad will ever happen to him on TV, why should he be uptight??! There is the usual banter in the locker room and we all have to listen to Tommy whine about how lucky he will have to get to break
175 today. Poor guy.....

The lanes start out the same, but with four guys practicing they break down very quick and the line right of second arrow is useless by the time the show starts. This forces Duke to move in and he struggles early, rallies late, but is derailed by a 10-pin in the 10th and Reyes wins. We come on and I am surprised by how much more they are hooking since practice. I am forced deeper and I start to lose carry. With two minutes before we are out of commercial I grab a Big Shot out of my bag that is stronger than what I have been using and it knocks the 10-pin out the last two shots before we start. The key now is to commit to it and I do a good job starting with a four-bagger.

"Poor" Tommy also starts with four strikes but keeps going after I 4-pin. I strike again and move a half off the four and get it a little further right and flat 10. Tommy gets seven before a ring-10 and I double making him double to shut me out. He finally gets his ball out of the "splash zone" that the rest of us mortals flat-10 from and throws a couple flush to seal the deal. The championship match is Groundhog Day as Tommy starts out stringing them again and with an early Reyes open, Tommy Gun has title number 10 in the shortest span in history. (Pssst - Tommy, Walter wants his horseshoe back. What??? It won't come out???....... )

It’s time to head back to Hartford and get on a plane. No POY for me this year, but I can look forward to spending time watching my boys’ baseball games and some time at home. I love the competition but it will great to have a break. My wife will be happy too as she has moved, basically been the general contractor on our remodel, and has done the taxes in the last few weeks. I am not sure how I fooled her, but I got a great one with her. I have about the best supportive situation a guy could have being on tour.

She understands the whole thing and takes care of a lot to enable me to do my best out here. Now it will be my turn to pitch in as the Team USA schedule kicks in a bit.

Unfortunately I was not voted back into the Roll to Riches. I am very disappointed to say the least. After winning my way in the last two years and then having so much (luck) success in it, I was hoping to get a chance to 3-peat ala "tater" (Couch.... potato....get it??). But it will be a great event as there are six great players there and nobody is bigger than the game (psssst....Tommy..... I didn't mean you!!!)

Have a great summer and don't forget to look for us in a special summer
event!!!! :)

See you on the lanes!

Chris Barnes
Columbia 300




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One Step Closer

by PBA Editor March 30, 2007 19:00
Heading into the final event of the 2006-07 Denny’s PBA Tour season, the PBA Player of the Year race was still up in the air.

After Saturday’s Round of 8 at Mohegan Sun Arena, two front runners took a big step forward.

Norm Duke, who has a Tour-leading three titles this season, put his foot down first, knocking off Robert Smith (Captain Cook, Hawaii), four-games-to-two. Chris Barnes, looking to defend his 2006 Tournament of Champions crown, responded in the second set of matches with a 4-1 win over Mike Wolfe (New Albany, Ind.).

Early on it looked like Duke would falter in his quest to appear in his fourth TV appearance of the season, falling in a quick 2-0 hole as Smith posted a score of 227 in the first two games compared to the 26-time titlist’s 202 and 212, respectively.

Seeing his chances for a third career PBA Major title and a second PBA Tournament of Champions title slipping away, the 25-year Tour veteran awoke and responded with a vengeance, taking the next four games to end the match.

“This one means a lot to me because of the Player of the Year race,” said Duke (Clermont, Fla.). “I’m sure Chris Barnes feels the same elation because he is in the race as well. We are the last two remaining bowlers in this tournament who are in major contention in the Player of the Year race, so it means that much more.”

Duke planted the seed for his comeback with a 247-219 win in game three before making it two straight with a 234-222 win in game four. It was the closest margin that Smith would build as Duke took the next two games, 279-239 and 258-206, respectively.

Duke will look to put himself one step closer to the award when he takes on Tony Reyes in the semifinals in Sunday’s ESPN televised finals.

Reyes advanced to his third consecutive TV appearance and fourth on the season by dispatching of all-time Denny’s PBA Tour title leader Walter Ray Williams Jr. (Ocala, Fla.), 4-1. Reyes (San Bruno, Calif.) came out slow with three open frames in the first game giving Williams a 289-179 win.

It was all Reyes from that point on as the right-hander, who is in the midst of a career-year, took the next four matches, striking in 21 of 23 frames between games three and four, earning 289-269 and 299-191 wins, respectively. Reyes closed out the match with 268-257 win in game five.

While it looked like Barnes would advance with a sweep, Wolfe forced the match to five games after dropping the first three. In a match in which scoring seemed to rise with each game, Barnes opened with wins of 220-193, 234-204 and 279-226.

In the seventh frame of the first match, Barnes (Double Oak, Texas) jumped on an early wave of momentum that he rode throughout the match. Up by just seven pins, Barnes took advantage of Wolfe’s open frame by firing the fourth in a string of six strikes that came after two open frames of his own.

Wolfe, on the edge of being swept, posted his highest score of the match in a 279-235 game four win, stringing together nine strikes. Barnes would quickly diminish all hope that Wolfe had by striking in 10 of 12 frames, including the final seven frames, in a 268-201 win in game five.

Barnes will not have an easy defense of the Tournament of Champions title as he takes on 2005-06 PBA Player of the Year Tommy Jones (Simpsonville, S.C.).

Jones knew his match against PBA Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III (Jackson, N.J.) wouldn’t be easy. After edging Bohn in the first game, 221-218, Jones widened his winning margin with a 226-204 in his second win of the match.

Bohn, who has 30 career Denny’s PBA Tour titles, flexed his muscles in the third game of the match with a 254-225 win.

Jones seeing his chance to win his second career Major title in sight closed the door with two consecutive 258’s in games four and five while Bohn was only able to counter with games of 245 and 217, respectively.

The four bowlers advance to Sunday’s live ESPN televised finals at 1 p.m. ET at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The winner will take home $60,000 and a two-season exemption through the 2008-09 Denny’s PBA Tour season.
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Barnes Gets By

by PBA Editor March 29, 2007 19:00
A week after coming up just short of one of his biggest career goals, Chris Barnes is back on the horse.

The defending champion won both his matches Friday to advance to the Round of 8 in the 2007 PBA Tournament of Champions, the final event and fourth Major of the 2006-07 Denny’s PBA Tour season.

Barnes overcame a three-games-to-none deficit to defeat Rick Lawrence, 4-3, in the Round of 32 Friday morning, then defeated former Tournament of Champions winner Patrick Healey Jr., 4-1, in the Round of 16 at Bradley Bowl.

Last week, Barnes finished second to Doug Kent in the Denny’s World Championship in his quest to become the fifth bowler to win the PBA’s Triple Crown: a win in the U.S. Open, Tournament of Champions and Denny’s World Championship. He won the second of three legs in last year’s Tournament of Champions.

Also on Barnes’ mind is the 2006-07 PBA Player of the Year race, which is up for grabs in the season’s final event. He owns one title this season, the 2007 GEICO Classic, and finished third in the PBA World Point Rankings.

On Friday, Barnes (Double Oak, Texas) dug himself a hole against Lawrence as the Celina, Texas, native averaged 245.33 over the first three games. Barnes stormed back, however, salvaging the match with a 228-190 win in game four. He improved his score over the final three games to overcome Lawrence, wrapping up the match with a 256-173 win in game seven.

“This is always a special tournament since the most recent winners on Tour are here and the hottest players in the world are competing so there are no easy draws in this one,” said Barnes. “Rick took me to task and I survived and Patrick is a past champion so he’s always tough. Everything changes tomorrow though. You have to be able to make adjustments.”

Barnes will take on Mike Wolfe (New Albany, Ind.) in Saturday’s Round of 8 which moves to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Wolfe posted the Round of 16’s only sweep, knocking off Patrick Allen (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) who had swept Wes Malott, 4-0, in the Round of 32. Malott is also in the running for PBA Player of the Year with one title and the No. 1 spot in the PBA World Point Rankings.

Also advancing was PBA Hall of Famer and all-time titles leader Walter Ray Williams Jr., who defeated Ritchie Allen (Columbia, S.C.), 4-1. Williams is looking to become the second bowler in PBA history (Mike Aulby) to complete the “Super Slam,” a win in all five of the Denny’s PBA Tour Majors, including the now-defunct Touring Players Championship.

Saturday’s Round of 8 features two sessions with the first two matches getting underway at 4 p.m. ET. The second pair of matches take place at 7 p.m.

The final four advance to Sunday’s live ESPN televised finals at 1 p.m. ET at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The winner will take home $60,000 and a two-season exemption through the 2008-09 Denny’s PBA Tour season.
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Malott Chats with Fans

by PBA Editor March 28, 2007 19:00
Wes Malott is one of the Denny's PBA Tour's "Young Guns" and is one of this season's leading candidates for PBA Player of the Year. The 30-year-old Malott finished atop the PBA World Point Rankings for the first time in his career and captured one title, the 2006 Discover Card Windy City Classic. He also finished second in the 64th U.S. Open to Pete Weber.

Malott chatted with fans today on USAToday.com. Read on for the entire transcript.

Comment from Wes Malott: Hi everyone. Thanks for having me on. I look forward to your questions. Fire away! Wes

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Fort Wayne, IN: As a big man with a pretty deep approach, how do you keep your knees in shape and avoid injury?

Wes Malott: The more I'm out here and the more I bowl, the more I have to stretch and keep my body in shape. This summer, I plan on getting my body in shape more. I have to get in shape if I want to do this longer.

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Eric- Houston, TX: Hi Wes. You seem to have bowled well on a variety of conditions this year. Do you contribute your versatility to more experience, equipment selection, or a combination of the two? I hope you have continued success in the future.

Wes Malott: Combination. I felt I was fairly versatile but I even learned a lot more the last three or four years being out here. I have always wanted to be more versatile than a one-hit wonder. I don't ever like to be considered shut out basically.

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Seaside, California: Hi Wes. I am a 200 average bowler. I have problems when I bowl in other centers and the lanes are very oily and I need more turn on the ball for it to finish. What do you recommend since you turn the ball so much ? Thank you, vtray 300

Wes Malott: There's a couple ways to attack this. One, use lower RG bowling balls that rev up faster, or another way is try surface and sometimes surface with a strong ball will make the ball burn up too soon so you might have to go with a weaker ball with more surface so the ball will still store energy.

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Austin Texas: You have had a very good season. What is the one thing in your game that you are missing from having an AWESOME season? Good Luck this weekend!

Wes Malott: As with everything out here, it's a whole other learning curve in getting to the next level. One thing I felt I haven't achieved this year is performing better on TV to win. Some of that is not necessarily having the right ball drillings in my hand. It's juts another learning curve I am going through and hopefully I can figure that out and turn TV shows into titles.

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Scott (PA): With Track being bought out by Ebonite, are they still going to produce balls for the Track members? If so, are they Ebonite balls with different logos?

Wes Malott: Absolutely. Although Ebonite bought out Columbia Industries they are still planning on continuing with the Track brand. I'm looking forward to the connection with Ebonite as they've been very strong in the industry lately and I'm looking forward to being a part of their team.

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Robert: Houston, TX: I noticed earlier in the season you were going a little straighter at times. Is the old saying "straighter is greater" true and do you get better pin carry by doing so. Walter and Norm seem to use it quite a bit with success.

Wes Malott: I was going straighter earlier in the season because that's the way the lanes were telling me to play them. Sometimes straighter is greater but sometimes that's not an option and we have to move farther in on the lane. A great example is the U.S. Open. I played more direct during the week but when we got to the TV show the lanes were tighter (more oily) to the right. Therefore it forced me to play right with Pete.

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Chuck (Sioux Falls, S.D.): Of all the lefties on tour, who do you consider to be your toughest foe?

Wes Malott: I wouldn't say there's going to be one in particular that is my toughest. Everybody left and right-handed out here are obviously great bowlers. If I had to choose it would be between Jason Couch, Patrick Allen and Parker Bohn III.

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Louisville, KY: Hi Wes. Great run this year, and I'm pulling for you in the POY race. Question - where do you target on the lane? Good luck this week, and hope to see you on the show!

Wes Malott: First of all, thank you. As far as target on the lane, I use an area down lane at my break point and visualize a line back to me and I try to keep everything on that plane and use area and feel. Also, I'm sure many of you out there notice that I look down on my approach. I do look at the dots at the foul line and that just keeps me on line for my approach and everything is pretty much feel from there.

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Wichita Falls, Texas: Wes, How many game do you bowl before you have to adjust your thumb size due to swelling? Good luck this week!! Matt

Wes Malott: This is something that drives me crazy. My thumb probably fluctuates more than anybody's on Tour, therefore if you get a chance to watch me even on TV I'm sure you have seen that I adjust my tape a lot. That's due to shrinking and swelling of my thumb. I wouldn't say there is any specific amount of games or shots that it fluctuates.

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Montreal, QC: Hi Wes. I wanted to congratulate you on your successful career! I'm curious to know who is your roommate? What do you spare time ?? Thank you....marcel bujold

Wes Malott: There are four of us that room together: Tommy Jones, Dino Castillo, and D.J. Archer and we rotate every week so that we don't have to live with one person for six months. It keeps everybody sane and keeps you from wanting to kill each other even though we still spend a lot of time together. As far as spare time, you could probably catch us playing Play Station or XBox 360 quite a bit. Fortunately there hasn't been a ton of spare time this year because I've been bowling well and also I try to go home every other week to spend time with my family.

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NYC, New York: A pleasure to meet you Wes. I’m Eddie and my question to you is how many bowling balls do you use and how do you prepare for tournaments every week?

Wes Malott: I use a variety of different equipment but this year I've found myself using the Power Machine mostly. This ball has been very versatile for me no matter how I drill it and I'm going to miss it when they decide to discontinue it. But I'm also looking forward to the new equipment that Ebonite is going to provide for us.

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Reno, Nevada: What steps did you take to get yourself on the PBA Tour and what do you do now to keep yourself at the highest level of competition?

Wes Malott: I'm very fortunate to be where I am. First, I bowled some of the amateur tournaments in Las Vegas and did not have very much success at all. Then I decided to join the PBA in 2001 and bowl regionals and same thing, I didn't have success at first. But I stuck with it and stayed patient and everything has just kind of fallen into place from there. I can't begin to explain how much I have learned over the last three or four years being out here on Tour listening to fellow bowlers and ball reps on how they attack the lanes.

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Clarksville, TN: Was there any more pressure than usual in the in the U.S. open than other tournaments, and as far as pressure is concerned how is bowling in a major different than bowling in just one the other regular tournaments?

Wes Malott: Absolutely there is more pressure. The lane conditions are more demanding and also the prestige of a Major title adds pressure.

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Dallas, TX: Being one of the tours "young guns" what experiences or techniques do you see from the more experienced players that you can take advantage of?

Wes Malott: I would say that I gain experience and techniques from everyone out here, not just the legends.

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Clarksville, Tennessee: How long did it take you to realize that you were making a name for yourself in the PBA and what changes along the way did you make to your game to help that cause?

Wes Malott: I began to realize I was making a name for myself last year when I made four shows in a row to start the season. As far as changes, I wouldn't say I made any changes. I just added more tools to my game (or tool box) to become more successful at the highest level.

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York, PA: What advice would you give someone who is looking into bowling in PBA events? It was nice to bowl with you during the pro-am in New Jersey.

Wes Malott: I'm sure you've heard this before, but on more difficult conditions spares become a bigger part of the game. Therefore, work on your spare game. Then once you start competing in PBA tournaments you have to be patient because not everything is going to happen right away.

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Macon, GA: Wes, do you feel surprised at all your explosion onto the tour the passed 2 yrs? Your game is so versatile to where you can adjust to all the PBA patterns - congrats and continued success. Hollywood T. D.

Wes Malott: I wouldn't say it's a surprise, but I would say I am very fortunate. To see these guys out here week in and week out and how good they are, it's really an honor to have the success as fast as I have.

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Kenny Ford Manahawkin, New Jersey: Hey Wes, congratulations on an excellent season and good luck in this week. Do you think that the sport of bowling is starting to get too easy with the equipment and the conditions? Chris Barnes said it himself that the patterns played easier this year. Also, how do you feel about the sale of Columbia to Ebonite. Do you think Track will be as good or better?

Wes Malott: I would say that, yes, house shots are too easy because people can still average 220 or better and not need to practice. As far as our conditions, this year they might have been a little too easy because we are the best at the game, but they're still not as easy as we make them look sometimes.

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Houston, TX: Since you have had all this success on the Denny's PBA Tour the last couple of years, I was wondering what are some of your goals for the upcoming years? POY? HOF? How many tournaments would you have to win to say you personally have had a great career?

Wes Malott: Player of the Year and Hall of Fame would obviously be nice. But at the same time if my career ended tomorrow I would be satisfied with how my career has gone. As far as goals, POY and HOF are goals of mine.

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San Antonio, TX: How hard was it emotionally to see one pin stay standing in the ace hardware match against Tommy Jones and to lose by one? How long did it take to get it off your mind?

Wes Malott: That tournament, no matter what happened in the title match, was going to be a lose-lose situation because if I strike and win, then we look at the 7-10 that Tommy left in the 10th after making a decent shot. Tommy and I are such great friends that we don't like to bowl each other because usually that's when you get the breaks and not necessarily the best bowler wins.

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Des Moines, IA: Wes, What are some of the different things you do to practice your bowling in the off-season? Are there any special things you do to work on getting more revs, more balance, or just anything besides just bowling all the time? Good luck this week at the TOC I'll be cheering for you!!!!

Wes Malott: As silly as this may sound, I will bowl local tournaments and regionals throughout the summer and that's really what I use to practice. The reason being, when I try and practice at my local center I find myself bowling too fast and I don't make quality shots therefore I create bad habits.

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Baltimore, Maryland: How did you first get into bowling? Also who got you into it?

Wes Malott: I started bowling at the age of 10. My mom bowled when she was younger and that was before I started bowling so it’s not like I continued a family tradition.

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Kenny Ford, Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey: Wes, do you have a college degree at all. I am really smart and a good bowler. 170 average in my second season. I am 14 right now and I was wondering how I should go about going on tour. I wanted to know if you have a degree or not. Do you think getting on the tour later will hurt my chances of being one of the better ones out there like you?

Wes Malott: Unfortunately, no I do not have a degree. But for everyone out there if you have the opportunity to go to college and get a degree while bowling at the same time, I definitely recommend it because if something were to happen and you got injured, you would have something to fall back on for a career.

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Wenatchee, Washington: How old were you when you bowled your first 300 game?

Wes Malott: When I was almost 19.

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Wilmington DE: Wes, what is the toughest part about being out on tour?

Wes Malott: Traveling and the living in hotels. I miss home.

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Balen in Belgium: I was wondering since you put al those revs into your balls, did you ever have any injuries on your fingers like muscle problems?

Wes Malott: Since I've been on Tour, I have had to shorten my span three or four times just because my hand is not as flexible as it once was and when I did this I made small adjustments.

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Do you consider yourself frontrunner for player of the year? If not then why?

Wes Malott: Everybody has a different perspective on Player of the Year this year. Some will say who has had the more consistent year and if you look at that I think it's me. If you look at who's made the clutch shots to win the title then it's between Doug Kent, Norm Duke and Pete Weber. I think Player of the Year is who is more consistent throughout the year and therefore I think I have had the more consistent year.

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Fort Mohave, Arizona: You've obviously made some great changes to your game. What would be the biggest change that helped you the past couple seasons?

Wes Malott: The main tool that I have added to my game is to be able to play the lanes more direct with confidence.

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Austin, TX: What’s up Wes, it's Michael. You should have known the group would show up to support you. So how does it feel to have all this success you have had over the last couple years? We are all proud that you are out there representing the [ATX]. By the way, you going to be in town 4/13 & 4/14? We are having our annual Crawfish Shootout at Ben's. Hope you guys can make it. Your Friend, Michael Castillo Good luck this week. We will be watching.

Wes Malott: What's up guys. I know you guys are always there to support me and I really do appreciate it. As far as Crawfish Shootout at Ben's, I was thinking about coming down and playing golf on Thursday so this will be one more reason why I have come. Count me in. Take care and see y'all soon.

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The Group - Austin, TX: We want to know why you are always taking your matches to seven games?

Wes Malott: It's all your fault. All I ever hear from y'all is we need something to do on Friday so I try and keep it interesting. Not really. I hate taking them to seven games.

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Austin, TX: Congratulations on a great year! I heard some rumors that you might be in an up and coming movie. Is this true? What is the name of it and who stars in it? If it's true, you are definitely a superstar now!!!!

Wes Malott: Yes, this is true. At the end of last season Tommy Jones and I flew to L.A. and did some takes for a movie. The movie is called 7-10 Split and stars Ross Patterson and Tara Reid. I've seen some previews and I think it's going to be funny. It's kind of silly, but you can't look at it as downgrading bowling because that's not what it's all about.

Comment from Wes Malott: Thanks for all your questions today. Hopefully I'll be able to bowl well enough this week to be on the show Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. Keep watching the Denny's PBA Tour. Remember, Sundays are for Bowling. Take care, Wes

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