The field for the stepladder finals of the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions is set.
Tom Daugherty, EJ Tackett, Jason Belmonte, Jesper Svensson and Mitch Beasley will battle for the first major title of the season in PBA’s signature event Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Who will add their name to the list of great moments in the tournament’s 51-year history?
Here’s a look at some of the TOC milestone moments:
1962 – The first PBA Tournament of Champions was contested in 1962 at Play Bowl in Indianapolis, Ind., and was won by Joe Joseph of Lansing, Mich. Joseph won the inaugural event in the two-game three-player final with 480, followed by Billy Golembiewski, 416, and Carmen Salvino third with 409. Joseph won a $15,000 first prize from the $50,000 prize fund.
1965 – The event was not contested again until 1965 when it moved to Bowlarama in Akron, Ohio, and Firestone’s long-running sponsorship made it possible for the event to be conducted annually. Firestone’s involvement was one of the first and longest-running sport sponsorships by a corporation lasting 28 years. Firestone also became the first company to have titled-event sponsorship on a nationally-televised sports event, launching a new era in sports marketing. Billy Hardwick won the event.
1966 – The event moved to Riviera Lanes in the Akron suburb of Fairlawn, Ohio, where it would remain through 1994.
1967 – Jack Biondolillo bowled the PBA’s first nationally-televised 300 game in a match against Les Schissler. Biondolillo finished third in the event.
1970 – One of the great images in sports was Don Johnson sprawled out on the approach after leaving a 10 pin on the final shot of the championship match when he defeated Dick Ritger, 299-268.
1973 – Jim Godman became the first player to win the event twice (1969 & 1973).
1975 – PBA inducts its first Hall of Fame class (Ray Bluth, Don Carter, Dick Weber, Billy Welu, Harry Smith, Carmen Salvino, Frank Esposito and Chuck Pezzano) in ceremonies during TOC week, a tradition that has continued nearly every year since.
1984 – Mike Durbin, who lived in the nearby Cleveland suburb of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, became the first player to win the TOC three times (1972, 1982 & 1984).
1987 – Hall of Famer Pete Weber wins the PBA Tournament of Champions, a tournament his legendary father, Dick Weber, never won.
1991 – Second-seeded David Ozio overcame the distraction of a 40-minute bomb threat delay from a crank call to defeat Amleto Monacelli, 236-203, for the Firestone Tournament of Champions crown at Riviera Lanes. It was his ninth PBA title and third of the year.
1993 – George Branham III became the first (and, thus far, only) African-American to win the TOC. This event was also the last one sponsored by Firestone.
1994 – Norm Duke won the last TOC contested at Riviera Lanes.
1995 – Brunswick picked up sponsorship of the event (and remained as sponsor through 2000) and moved it to the Chicago suburb of Lake Zurich, with an arena finals in Palatine, Ill. Mike Aulby won the event to become the first player to complete the PBA’s “Grand Slam” (wins in the TOC, USBC Masters, PBA National/World Championship and U.S. Open).
1997-2000 – The event moved to Reno (1997), Overland Park, Kan. (1998 & 1999) and then back to Lake Zurich, Ill. (2000).
2002 – After a one-year hiatus, the event returned to Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., where it remained through 2007. In 2002, Jason Couch became the first and only player to win the TOC three consecutive times (1999, 2000 & 2002, no event held in 2001) and joined Mike Durbin as the event’s only three-time winners.
2008 – Event moved to Red Rock Lanes in Las Vegas.
2010 – Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., made sports history by winning the TOC in Las Vegas, becoming the first woman – and still only woman - to win a PBA Tour title.
2011 – Eligibility for the event was expanded to include all PBA champions (national tour, senior tour and regionals). The TOC also returned to the ABC Network and its original Saturday afternoon timeslot for the first time in 14 years. Mika Koivuniemi won the record $250,000 first prize from the $1 million prize fund by defeating Tom Smallwood in the championship match 269-207. Koivuniemi also rolled a 299 in the semifinal match for a PBA-record 199-pin margin of victory over Tom Daugherty, who bowled a 100 game, the lowest score ever in a PBA televised match.
2012 – Sean Rash wins Tournament of Champions for first major and fifth career Tour title which sealed his first PBA Player of the Year honor.
2013 – Hall of Famer Pete Weber wrote another chapter in bowling history when he defeated Australian two-handed star Jason Belmonte, 224-179, to win the Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis. The victory made Weber the first player to complete the PBA Triple Crown for a second time and tied bowling legend Earl Anthony for most major PBA titles with 10.
2014 – Jason Belmonte, with a strike on his final ball, defeated Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, to win the Tournament of Champions by a single pin at Thunderbowl Lanes suburban Detroit. Belmonte, defeated Malott, 219-218. It was the first of two consecutive major wins for Belmonte who would go on to win the USBC Masters weeks later.
2015 – Jason Belmonte successfully defends his TOC title by winning the 50th annual event at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis. In winning his 12th career PBA Tour title and fifth major, Belmonte defeated Rhino Page in the title match 232-214.
WINNERS OF MULTIPLE TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS TITLES
Jason Couch 3 (1999, 2000 & 2002)
Mike Durbin 3 (1972, 1982 & 1984)
Jason Belmonte 2 (2014 & 2015)
Dave Davis 2 (1968 & 1975)
Jim Godman 2 (1969 & 1973)
Earl Anthony 2 (1974 & 1978)
Marshall Holman 2 (1976 & 1986)
Pete Weber 2 (1987 & 2013)
Mark Williams 2 (1985 & 1988)
HISTORY OF PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS WINNERS
2015 Jason Belmonte
2014 Jason Belmonte
2013 Pete Weber
2012 Sean Rash
2011 Mika Koivuniemi
2010 Kelly Kulick
2009 Patrick Allen
2008 Michael Haugen Jr.
2007 Tommy Jones
2006 Chris Barnes
2005 Steve Jaros
2004 Not contested
2003 Patrick Healey Jr.
2002 Jason Couch
2001 Not contested
2000 Jason Couch
1999 Jason Couch
1998 Bryan Goebel
1997 John Gant
1996 Dave D'Entremont
1995 Mike Aulby
1994 Norm Duke
1993 George Branham III
1992 Marc McDowell
1991 David Ozio
1990 Dave Ferraro
1989 Del Ballard Jr.
1988 Mark Williams
1987 Pete Weber
1986 Marshall Holman
1985 Mark Williams
1984 Mike Durbin
1983 Joe Berardi
1982 Mike Durbin
1981 Steve Cook
1980 Wayne Webb
1979 George Pappas
1978 Earl Anthony
1977 Mike Berlin
1976 Marshall Holman
1975 Dave Davis
1974 Earl Anthony
1973 Jim Godman
1972 Mike Durbin
1971 Johnny Petraglia
1970 Don Johnson
1969 Jim Godman
1968 Dave Davis
1967 Jim Stefanich
1966 Wayne Zahn
1965 Billy Hardwick
1962 Joe Joseph