May 23, 2007 19:00
With the 2007 Lake County Indiana Denny’s Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Tour Trials rapidly approaching, Andrew Cain has been busy mentally and physically preparing for the competition but managed to take time out of his schedule to talk with the PBA about his first-ever trip to the event in June.
Last year in his first event as a PBA member, Cain finished fourth in the 2007 Dick Weber Open in an attempt to become just the third bowler to win a title in his PBA debut. A former U.S. Amateur Champion, Cain led the field in round-robin match play with a 19-5 record. He finished the season 64th in the PBA World Point Rankings despite entering only eight tournaments.
Cain will attempt to keep his personal hot streak rolling May 29-June 3 at Stardust Bowl II in Merrillville, Ind., in the 2007 Lake County Indiana Denny’s PBA Tour Trials. Last season’s Tour Trials were held at Stardust Bowl I in Hammond, Ind.
Q: As a first-time Tour Trials competitor, what are some of the things you have heard about the event?
AC: I’ve heard it’s extremely grueling. You have to bowl 45 games over five days, so I know that being physically and mentally sharp is the key to getting through it. That’s what I’ve heard from people who have experienced it and people who have become exempt from the Tour Trials. That’s what I’ve tried to do leading up to the event.
Personally, I think the biggest thing was taking a mental break last week. I took a week off for a vacation I had scheduled. I went down to Mexico for wedding and I didn’t take any bowling balls, nor did I talk about anything bowling while I was gone. I think that was the biggest key to getting ready for the event. After I got past not getting mentally burned out, I started getting ready physically.
Q: How do you feel about bowling on wood lanes?
AC: With being left handed, I have heard a lot of things about Stardust II. I think the most important thing for me is to keep an open mind. I’ve never bowled there, so I’m basically going off rumors I’ve heard.
You have to make the right decisions and you can’t get locked into any particular way of thinking. I think the wood lanes present a different sort of challenge to every competitor.
Q: Last season Tour Trials utilized two squads. This season, with the switch to a bigger house there will be just one squad. Will that be a benefit for you?
AC: I think it’s extremely beneficial. You don’t have a real issue with the two squads performing differently, so it ends up being a benefit to everybody. I think that squad equity is very important. Sometimes when you have two squads, one squad will score higher than the other squad. So with only one squad, you don’t have to worry about staying ahead of the other squad. It makes it a lot easier mentally.
Q: With only seven spots available, do you feel any more pressure to perform than you would have with 10 spots as in the past?
AC: I don’t think it really adds much pressure. Proportionally speaking it seems about the same odds as last year, even though there were three more spots. I think the worst thing you can do is put pressure on yourself to perform. I think the most successful bowlers in Tour Trials are the ones who go in with a clear mind, knowing they will be bowling out on Tour next year whether they are exempt or not. If you go into it with that mindset, knowing that you don’t necessarily have to grab one of those seven spots, I think you will be a lot more relaxed and your performance will show that.
Q: Do you think eliminating the Commissioner’s Exemption spot and adding a spot to Tour Trials was a good idea?
AC: I believe personally that it has its benefits and it has its problems. On one hand it opens up spots at Tour Trials, which in turn is responsible for increasing the number of entries which results in the increase of the prize fund. You also reward the Tour Trials guys and the guys who bowl the Tour Qualifying Round.
On the other hand, while Commissioner’s Exemptions weren’t really awarded all that much, I feel like when they were it was usually to a notable bowler who might have played a part in increased attendance. In the long run though, I feel everyone will benefit from the change.
Q: After having so much success in your rookie season was there any doubt you would give Tour Trials a shot?
AC: No, not at all. I think the only time I had any doubt was when I thought I would win a title in the Dick Weber Open. If I would have won a title, obviously I wouldn’t need to bowl in the Tour Trials. After the season was over though, I gave it no thought. After the season I had, I owed it to myself to sign up for that chance. You can’t be out on Tour if you don’t try to be on Tour.
Q: Does the fact that five left-handed bowlers came out of Tour Trials last season give you a lot of confidence going in?
AC: I don’t even think about it. The patterns all play differently and with this being a different center, it shouldn’t even really cross your mind. There are so many factors involved that I don’t think it matters. I’m sure there are some conspiracy theorists out there who believe it makes a difference and I’ve had my theories, but when it all comes down to it, the minute you arrive, you have to lose all those thoughts and just worry about 45 games in five days. If you think about anything else, your game will suffer.
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