February 11, 2008 19:00
PBA Commissioner and CEO Fred Schreyer announced today he has awarded Denny’s PBA Tour champion Jimmy Johnson a Commissioner’s Exemption to compete in the 2008 Don Johnson Buckeye State Classic in Columbus, Ohio, Feb. 26-March 2 at Sequoia Pro Bowl.
The Don Johnson Buckeye State Classic, which is the first Denny’s PBA Tour event held in Columbus since 1990, is named in honor of the late PBA Hall of Famer Don Johnson, a longtime Columbus resident. The two-time PBA Player of the Year racked up 26 Denny’s PBA Tour titles in his career – tied for seventh all-time – and was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame in 1977.
His son, Jimmy, became a PBA member in 1989 and won the 1990 Brunswick Memorial World Open for his only career title. The 37-year-old has bowled part-time on Tour the last few years as a non-exempt bowler but will be able to forego qualifying for the Don Johnson Buckeye State Classic and will earn an automatic berth in the Round of 64.
He is just the second bowler during the 2007-08 season to receive such an exemption.
“Obviously it’s a great honor to bowl in an event named after my father,” Johnson (Pataskala, Ohio) said. “With all the fundraising I’ve been doing for the event taking up so much of my time, I wasn’t planning on bowling so it was a pleasant surprise, to say the least. I wasn’t even going to bowl the qualifying round but with the exemption granted it’s a great honor and I’m going to work hard and do the best I can.”
In addition to bowling in the event, Johnson will help host a celebrity kick-off fundraiser prior to the start of the tournament on Monday, Feb. 25 to benefit the local Children’s Hospital for the fight against pediatric diabetes. Additionally, Sequoia Pro Bowl, on behalf of the Johnson family, will donate $5 from every Pro-Am entry during the week to the same charity.
This week the Denny’s PBA Tour is in Omaha, Neb., for the Pepsi Championship at Thunder-Alley. The live ESPN-televised finals air Sunday, Feb. 17 at 12:30 p.m. ET.
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