With the first half of the season complete and the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour taking a small hiatus for the holidays, there’s plenty to look forward to for the start of the second half of the 2008-2009 season.
The biggest event of the season is yet to come- the H&R Block Tournament of Champions that will run from Jan. 19-25 at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, Nev. This event is monumental, not only because it is the coveted Tournament of Champions, an invitation only tournament, but also because of the many other special events that will be taking place throughout the week.
Along with all of the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour champions that will be competing in the event, the “50 Greatest Players” in PBA history will also be on hand all week. Bowling fans, collectors and fanatics alike will not want to miss the ultimate autograph session that will feature these 50 Greatest Players, taking place on Saturday, Jan.24 from 2-3 p.m. The 50th Anniversary Gala will also take place on the night of Jan. 24 from 7-11 p.m. that will honor these legends, along with the induction of the newest PBA Hall of Famers – Norm Duke, Del Ballard Jr. and John Handegard.
Speaking of Duke, everyone will want to keep track of his performance throughout the week of the H&R Block Tournament of Champions. Duke will be looking to capture the prestigious title, winning his fourth consecutive Major. Duke currently holds the record for most consecutive Majors with three, when he captured the PBA World Championship earlier this season.
Everyone should be sure to check out the event that will kick off the second half of the season -the Don and Paula Carter Mixed Doubles Championship that will run from Jan. 4-6 in Reno, Nev. This special event will feature the 16 exempt women’s series competitors along with 16 additional women that finished the highest at the PBA Women’s Tour Trials, an event that ran concurrently with the Women’s U.S. Open sponsored by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) this past summer.
The 32 women and the exempt field of 64 men will all bowl two seven-game qualifying blocks and then separately cut to the top 16 in both divisions. Players will then be paired up for a mixed doubles finals in which the #1 women’s competitors will be paired with the #1 men’s competitor and so on. After 16 games of baker round robin match play the top five teams will advance to the ESPN TV finals.
The event marks the first time the PBA has held a Mixed Doubles tournament of current PBA professionals and women professionals since Steve Hoskins and Kim Canady (Terrell-Kearney) won the 1998 Philip-Morris Mixed Doubles in Las Vegas, Nev.
The second half of the season will also mark the last two PBA Women’s Series tournaments for the 2008-2009 season. Along with the Don and Paula Carter Mixed Doubles Championship, the final stop on the PBA Women’s series is the Earl Anthony Medford Classic in Medford, Ore. Jan. 14-18.
But that’s not all! Stay tuned for more information on the newly added PBA Women’s Series Showdown presented by USBC. The top six winners of each PBA women’s series event will qualify for this special televised tournament. If a player has already qualified for the PBA Women’s Series Showdown, the next highest finisher in that tournament will qualify. Thus far it is Stefanie Nation, Michelle Feldman, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Jodi Woessner and myself that have qualified, with one last spot remaining.
Also in the second half of the season is one of the most controversial tournaments –the GEICO Plastic Ball Championship. See how your favorite PBA stars match up on today’s oil patterns using solely a plastic ball. Who will win? Only time will tell.
Stay tuned for the most up-to-date information regarding the PBA Tour, players and bios. Check it out! www.pba.com