NEW FORMATS FOR NEW ERA

by PBA Editor August 3, 2008 19:00
For its 50th Anniversary season, the PBA Tour has announced a unique schedule of championship events on ESPN that will feature formats built to celebrate the game and test all facets of the world’s greatest players.
 
The schedule will be highlighted by the four distinct major championships, a made-for-TV celebrity doubles event, the return of the PBA Women’s Series, a Mixed Doubles Championship and special Golden Anniversary Championship that will find senior pros battling on ESPN for the first time in seven years. The season will also crown champions on each of the PBA Tour’s six challenging lane oil patterns. Introduced to the Tour this upcoming season will be mixed pattern events, featuring multiple combinations of the PBA patterns. Finally, revolutionary events will crown Champions in Match Play, Marathon, Ultimate Scoring, Plastic Ball and Eliminator formats.
 
“This season is built for excitement and for the fans,” said PBA Tour Commissioner Fred Schreyer. “A lot of arguments will be settled and each week will have its own distinct, educational and compelling storyline.”
 
In addition to the regular season schedule and Player of the Year race, there will be three distinct “swings” during the season --- Grand Slam, Extreme Swing and Versatility Swing --- with separate points standings kept.
 
Take a tour through the season week-by-week as the shows will air Sundays on ESPN:
 
Oct. 19: Chris Paul Celebrity PBA Doubles Invitational presented by the brands of Ebonite International. (Recorded show)
Site: AMF Major League Lanes, Winston-Salem, NC.
Field: Invitational
Purse:  TBA. Winner’s share: TBA
In this inaugural made-for-TV event, avid bowler and NBA superstar Chris Paul plus four other NBA stars will match up with five select PBA stars: Chris Barnes, Tommy Jones, Jason Couch, Doug Kent and Mitch Beasley, selected by presenting sponsor Ebonite International, to form five doubles teams. The event will take place September 20 and will be taped for broadcast as part of Paul’s Winston-Salem Weekend with proceeds going to Paul’s CP3 charitable foundation. NBA stars that have appeared at past Chris Paul bowling events have included LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony. Watching NBA greats with competitive aspirations in bowling team up with the PBA’s best will invite a new, wider audience to bowling and illustrate the talent level of bowling’s best.
The event promises to be the catalyst for a long-term relationship between the PBA and Chris Paul, with hopes of creating a yearly full-field celebrity pro-am TV event reminiscent of golf’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Qualifying format: Pro-am total pins determine seed order for pre-determined doubles teams.
TV format: Stepladder doubles; Baker style.
Lane oil pattern: Scorpion.
 
Oct. 26: PBA World Championship.
Site: Northrock Lanes, Wichita, KS.
Tournament Dates: Oct. 19-26
Field: Open
Purse:  $250,000 based on entries Winner’s share: $50,000
Grand Slam: Week 1 of 4
The first major championship of the year kicks off the PBA Tour season with an open-field event that promises to feature the largest international contingent of players on a demanding lane condition and perilous match-play format. Nestled in the bowling hotbed of Wichita, players from around the world will be invited to compete in this event which has been moved to the start of the season. The future goal of this event is for it to become the bowling world’s grandest stage with the most diverse top level talent from as many countries as possible.
Qualifying format: 27 qualifying games; players qualifying in positions 1-8 will be seeded to the Super 16 Round; those qualifying in positions 9-40 will face each other in classic 32-man bracket, single elimination match play. Winners from the Round of 16 will face the 8 seeded players from qualifying.
TV format: Two semifinal matches, followed by the final.
Lane oil pattern: World Championship
 
Nov. 2: PBA Viper Championship.
Site: Thunder-Alley, Omaha, NE.
Tournament Dates: Oct. 29-Nov. 2
Field: Exempt PBA Tour plus TQR (64)
Purse: $180,000 Winner’s share: $25,000
Versatility Swing: Week 1 of 6 
This event marks the first-ever “lane oil pattern” championship, crowning the Viper Champion. The Viper is a 38-foot long oil pattern that challenges players to choose from multiple angles into the pocket. This will be the only tournament to use the Viper exclusively. Positive benefits of pattern championships will be the opportunity to educate fans on the invisible obstacles facing pros, opportunities on TV to illustrate the skills and technology necessary on the particular pattern, the growth of PBA Experience leagues, additional opportunities to brand players to skill sets and the potential for a future special event bringing all of the different pattern champions back for one shootout.
Qualifying format: 14 games; cut to top 32 for 9-game modified round robin, with 9th game position round. Cut to top 16 and do it again to determine the top four.
TV format: Four-player stepladder
PBA Women’s Series Week 1: Field of 16 exempt players bowl 14 games of qualifying; cut to the top 10 for 9 game modified round robin, with the 9th game position round. The top two will bowl for the title as part of the ESPN broadcast, all on Viper concurrent with the PBA Tour event. The winner earns $10,000.
Lane oil pattern: Viper.
 
Nov. 9: PBA Lake County Indiana Golden Anniversary Championship.
Site: Olympia Lanes, Hammond, IN.
Tournament Dates: Nov. 4-9
Field: Exempt PBA Tour plus TQR (64)
Purse: $180,000 Winner’s share: $25,000
One in a continuing series of celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of the PBA Tour, this event will have a separate senior (over 50) tournament conducted, similar to the Women’s Series events; however there will be an open TQR for PBA seniors to determine the field of 16 to join the exempt field during concurrent qualifying rounds. Having many of the active greats of the game and many of the PBA membership’s greatest supporters on site bowling will give fans a chance to see them right next to today’s great stars. It will mark the first time a senior championship has been televised live since 2001.
Qualifying format: 14 games; cut to top 32 for single elimination match play (best of 7 matches) to final four.
TV format: Two semifinal matches, followed by the final.
PBA Senior Division: The top 16 players from the Senior TQR bowl 14 games of qualifying, cut to top 8 for single elimination match play (best of 7). The top two will bowl for the title as part of the ESPN broadcast, all on the Dick Weber pattern concurrent with the PBA Tour event. The winner earns $10,000.
Lane oil pattern: Dick Weber (first of two times this year this pattern will be used, including the Dick Weber Open).
 
Nov. 16: PBA Chameleon Championship.
Site: Taylor Lanes, Taylor, MI.
Tournament Dates: Nov. 12-16
Field: Exempt PBA Tour plus TQR (64)
Purse: $180,000 Winner’s share: $25,000
Versatility Swing: Week 2 of 6
This event marks the second lane oil pattern championship, crowning the Chameleon Champion. The Chameleon is a 40-foot long pattern that demands versatility from the pros. This will be the only tournament to use the Chameleon exclusively.
Qualifying format: 14 games; cut to top 32 for 9-game modified round robin, with 9th game position round. Cut to top 16 and do it again to determine the top four.
TV format: Four-player stepladder
PBA Women’s Series Week 2: Field of 16 exempt players bowl 14 games of qualifying; cut to the top 10 for 9 game modified round robin, with the 9th game position round. The top two will bowl for the title as part of the ESPN broadcast, all on Chameleon concurrent with the PBA Tour event. The winner earns $10,000.
Lane oil pattern: Chameleon.
 
Nov. 23: PBA Ultimate Scoring Championship (Recorded show).
Site: Taylor Lanes, Taylor, MI.
Tournament Dates: Nov. 9-11
Field: Exempt PBA Tour plus TQR (64)
Purse: $180,000 Winner’s share: $25,000
Extreme Swing: Week 1 of 5
In the first recorded show of the official season (which means two tournaments running during the week and two shows shooting on Nov. 16 in Taylor), we spotlight the incredible scoring potential of the world’s greatest bowlers on a wide-open lane condition that is found in most league bowling today. Still, it takes great ability to perform in the clutch and great skill to maximize the scoring potential because still only one can win the event. This tournament will be another great educational tool, and most likely offer up exciting runs at perfection on TV.
Qualifying format: 14 games; cut to top 32 for single elimination match play to final four.
TV format: Two semifinal matches, followed by the final.
Lane oil pattern: Newly designed pattern for this event, TBD
 
Nov. 30: PBA Scorpion Championship.
Site: Brunswick Zone Hawthorn, Vernon Hills, IL.
Tournament Dates: Nov. 26-30
Field: Exempt PBA Tour plus TQR (64)
Purse: $180,000 Winner’s share: $25,000
Versatility Swing: Week 3 of 6
This event marks the third lane oil pattern championship, crowning the Scorpion Champion. The Scorpion is a 42-foot long pattern that is the most unpredictable of the PBA patterns. This will be the only tournament to use the Scorpion exclusively.
Qualifying format: 14 games; cut to top 32 for 9-game modified round robin, with 9th game position round. Cut to top 16 and do it again to determine the top four.
TV format: Four-player stepladder
Lane oil pattern: Scorpion.
 
Dec. 7: PBA Cheetah Championship.
Site: AMF Thruway Lanes, Cheektowaga, NY.
Tournament Dates: Dec. 3-7
Field: Exempt PBA Tour plus TQR (64)
Purse: $180,000 Winner’s share: $25,000
Versatility Swing: Week 4 of 6
This event marks the fourth lane oil pattern championship, crowning the Cheetah Champion. The Cheetah is a 36-foot short pattern that offers a high scoring pace if players can risk everything by playing close to the gutter.
Qualifying format: 14 games; cut to top 32 for 9-game modified round robin, with 9th game position round. Cut to top 16 and do it again to determine the top four.
TV format: Four-player stepladder
PBA Women’s Series Week 4: Field of 16 exempt players bowl 14 games of qualifying; cut to the top 10 for 9 game modified round robin, with the 9th game position round. The top two will bowl for the title as part of the ESPN broadcast, all on Cheetah concurrent with the PBA Tour event. The winner earns $10,000.
Lane oil pattern: Cheetah.
 
Dec. 14: PBA Shark Championship.
Site: AMF Country Club Lanes, Baltimore, MD.
Tournament Dates: Dec. 10-14
Field: Exempt PBA Tour plus TQR (64)
Purse: $180,000 Winner’s share: $25,000
Versatility Swing: Week 5 of 6
This event marks the fifth lane oil pattern championship, crowning the Shark Champion. The Shark is a 44-foot long pattern that forces players to move inside on the lane. 
Qualifying format: 14 games; cut to top 32 for 9-game modified round robin, with 9th game position round. Cut to top 16 and do it again to determine the top four.
TV format: Four-player stepladder
PBA Women’s Series Week 5: Field of 16 exempt players bowl 14 games of qualifying; cut to the top 10 for 9 game modified round robin, with the 9th game position round. The top two will bowl for the title as part of the ESPN broadcast, all on Shark concurrent with the PBA Tour event. The winner earns $10,000.
 Lane oil pattern: Shark.
 
FIRST HALF COMPLETE
 
Jan. 11: PBA National Bowling Stadium Championship.
Site: National Bowling Stadium, Reno, NV.
Tournament Dates: Jan. 7-11
Field: Exempt PBA Tour plus TQR (64)
Purse: $180,000 Winner’s share: $25,000
Set in the greatest arena in bowling, this standard round robin event will decide who can perform best in bowling’s “Taj-Mahal.” The bowling stadium was built in 1995 and has provided bowlers and bowling fans many thrills and we revisit the highlights during this show. We also introduce the first-ever “mixed pattern” event on the PBA Tour, utilizing multiple patterns throughout the event. This strategy will be a truly unique test and great illustration on TV to best show the strategic moves that players make.
Qualifying format: 14 games; cut to top 32 for 9-game modified round robin, with 9th game position round. Cut to top 16 and do it again to determine the top five.
TV format: Five-player stepladder.
Lane oil pattern: Mixed (Cheetah and Shark).
Round One of qualifying will feature the Shark Pattern, while Round Two of qualifying will feature Cheetah. For match play and on TV, the left lane on the pair will be oiled with the Shark pattern; the right lane, Cheetah.
 
Jan. 18: PBA Earl Anthony Classic.
Site: Lava Lanes, Medford, OR.
Tournament Dates: Jan. 14-18
Field: Exempt PBA Tour plus TQR (64)
Purse: $180,000 Winner’s share: $25,000
Versatility Swing: Week 6 of 6
This event marks the sixth lane oil pattern championship, crowning the Earl Anthony Champion. The event is named in memory of one of the PBA’s most iconic champions, taking on even more meaning in this 50th Anniversary season. The Earl Anthony pattern is under development. This will be the only tournament to use the Earl Anthony exclusively.
Qualifying format: 14 games; cut to top 32 for 9-game modified round robin, with 9th game position round. Cut to top 16 and do it again to determine the top four.
TV format: Four-player stepladder
PBA Women’s Series Week 6: Field of 16 exempt players bowl 14 games of qualifying; cut to the top 10 for 9 game modified round robin, with the 9th game position round. The top two will bowl for the title as part of the ESPN broadcast, all on the Earl Anthony pattern, concurrent with the PBA Tour event. The winner earns $10,000.
Lane oil pattern: Earl (new, 6th PBA pattern).
 
Jan. 25: PBA Tournament of Champions.
Site: Red Rock Lanes, Las Vegas, NV.
Tournament Dates: Jan. 19-25
Field: Invitational.
Purse: $200,000 Winner’s share: $50,000
Grand Slam: Week 2 of 4
The second major of the year and the most famous tournament in PBA history, the Tournament of Champions will be accentuated in this 50th Anniversary year for two reasons: One, it will invite a marquee group of PBA Tour tournament champions to make up the field, and secondly, the 50th Anniversary gala celebration will happen this week featuring the announcement and introductions of the 50 Greatest Players in PBA history.
Qualifying format: Three eight game blocks (24 games) then cut to the top 24 for classic round robin match play.
TV Format: Four-player stepladder
Lane oil pattern: Tournament of Champions.
 
Feb. 1: PBA Mixed Doubles Championship (Recorded show)
Site: National Bowling Stadium, Reno, NV.
Tournament Dates: Jan. 4-6
Field: Exempt pros plus TQR entrants (64) plus 32 Women’s Series players determined from Women’s Series Tour Trials.
Purse: $285,000 Winner’s share: $50,000 ($25,000 each)
In a show recorded the week of the Reno event January 11, we pair up the best male and female bowlers in the world, bringing the mixed doubles championship back to the PBA Tour. This event, the last of seven PBA Women’s Series shows, provides a unique chance to watch how men and women work together as teams, and to compare and contrast the styles of the top men and women professionals.
Qualifying format: After two, seven-game blocks of qualifying to determine the top 16 men and top 16 women, they are paired together for Baker round robin match play.
TV format: 5-team stepladder using Baker system
PBA Women’s Series Week 7: Field of 32 exempt players bowl 14 games of qualifying. After a cut, the top 16 continue as a doubles team paired with a PBA Tour professional for Baker round robin match play.
Lane oil pattern: Shark
 
Feb. 8: PBA Dick Weber Open.
Site: Fountain Bowl, Fountain Valley, CA.
Tournament Dates: Feb. 3-8
Field: Open
Purse: $181,000, based on entries Winner’s share: $35,000
The Dick Weber Open takes on even greater significance in this 50th Anniversary season because Weber was the greatest ambassador in the history of the game. This open-field event has grown to become the “fifth major” on the PBA schedule with its retro format and great name.
Qualifying format: Classic format; 15 qualifying games; cut to the top 24, then three, eight game blocks of round robin match play
TV format: Top-five stepladder.
Lane oil pattern: Dick Weber.
 
Feb. 15: USBC Masters.
Site: Cashman Center, Las Vegas, NV.
Tournament Dates: Feb. 8-15
Field: Open.
Purse: $350,000 Winner’s share: $100,000
Grand Slam: Week 3 of 4
The third major championship on the PBA Tour season, the USBC Masters moves back to the home of the USBC Open Championship on specially-constructed lanes in Las Vegas. The unique double-elimination match play event attracts the top amateur and professional bowlers in the country and is contested under the banner of the United States Bowling Congress, the national governing body of the sport.
Qualifying format: 15 games; cut to top 64 for double elimination match play (3-game total pin matches).
TV format: Four-player stepladder.
Lane oil pattern: USBC Masters.
 
Feb. 22: PBA Plastic Ball Championship.
Site: Brunswick Zone Wheat Ridge, Wheat Ridge, CO.
Tournament Dates: Feb. 18-22
Field: Exempt PBA Tour plus TQR (64). (TQR competed on with standard equipment rules).
Notable: Results will not count for PBA point standings list. However it will count as an official title, with the winner earning a berth into the Tournament of Champions, and earning a one season exemption.
Purse: $180,000 Winner’s share: $25,000
Extreme Swing: Week 2 of 5
This intriguing format limits each pro to two identical, plastic bowling balls to be provided by the PBA. Why? One reason is simple – to see who wins. Similar to auto racing’s IROC race, this event puts every player on the same level in terms of equipment. Now it’s all up to the bowler. Bowling as a sport has made huge advancements with equipment technology. This event helps educate fans on the modern technology of the game. While only the plastic balls will appear on TV in action, each of the finalists will explain what modern ball they “would” have been using all week, and describe the differences in the modern resin balls to the plastic they were required to use this week. A full feature on bowling ball technology will air during the show.
Equipment note: Players will be provided two black plastic balls each on site with only the PBA 50th Anniversary logo. The balls will stay in the bowling center throughout the event; players picking them up to begin play each day. Each exempt player will be provided one of the balls at the start of the season to practice with if they choose.
Qualifying format: 14 games; cut to top 32 for single elimination (best-of-7) match play to final four.
TV format: Two semifinal matches, followed by the final.
Lane oil pattern: Cheetah
 
March 1: PBA Marathon Championship. 
Site: Woodland Bowl, Indianapolis, IN.
Tournament Dates: Feb. 23-March 1
Field: Open.
Purse: $181,000 based on entries. Winner’s share: $35,000
Extreme Swing: Week 3 of 5
With 54 games of total pins across all of the PBA’s six lane oil patterns, this is the most grueling qualifying event of the year, testing an open field’s stamina and versatility (similar to the PBA Tour Trials format). The players who last until the final stepladder finals are truly the most deserving of the week, with the eventual top qualifier given a great opportunity on the TV finals (to choose the lane oil pattern for the TV pair).
Qualifying format: Day one: Open field bowls 9 games on Cheetah. Day two: Open field bowls 9 games on Viper. First cut made with top 53 players cumulative scores advancing, based on entries. Day three: 53 qualifiers bowl 9 games on Chameleon and 9 games on Scorpion. Day four: 53 qualifiers bowl 9 games on Shark and 9 games on the Earl pattern. After all 54 games (no match play), top five are determined.
TV format: Five-man stepladder on the lane oil pattern chosen by the tournament’s leading qualifier.
Lane oil pattern: Six PBA patterns (Cheetah, Viper, Shark, Chameleon, Scorpion, Earl).
 
March 8: PBA Don Johnson Buckeye State Eliminator Championship.
Site: Sequoia Pro Bowl, Columbus, OH.
Tournament Dates: March 2-8
Field: Exempt PBA Tour plus TQR (64)
Purse: $180,000 Winner’s share: $25,000
Extreme Swing: Week 4 of 5
This unique eliminator format puts the importance on survival, and best of all creates a TV format that better illustrates the qualifying format used to decide the final four. After three qualifying rounds, the top 16 players will be divided into four Eliminator Groups, with each bowling a series of two-game total-pin matches with the low scoring bowler eliminated in each round, until one survivor remains from each group. Those four survivors will meet on the TV show, with a similar format finding the competitors being eliminated one-by-one after one-game rounds, delivering the ultimate survivor.
Qualifying format: 14 games, then cut to the top 33; seven more games of qualifying then cut to the top 16.  The top 16 will then be placed into four Eliminator Groups based on qualifying position.  The competition takes on a unique flavor as each player must survive a two-game total pins match against the others on his pair; low score is out as the players move from pair to pair for each two game round.  The four remaining survivors will advance to the TV finals. 
TV format: The four players bowl one game on the same pair, with the low man eliminated. Remaining three bowl one game, low man eliminated. Final two bowl, winner is Eliminator Champion.
Lane oil pattern: Mixed (Viper and Scorpion)
Rounds One of qualifying will feature the Viper Pattern while Round Two of qualifying will feature Scorpion. For Round Three of qualifying, match play and on TV, the left lane on the pair will be oiled with the Scorpion pattern; the right lane, Viper.
 
March 15: OFF
 
March 22: PBA Match Play Championship.
Site: Norwich Bowling and Entertainment Center, Norwich, CT.
Tournament Dates: March 18-22
Field: Exempt Tour plus TQR (64); ranked and seeded into the bracket using the PBA point list.
Purse: $180,000 Winner’s share: $25,000
Extreme Swing: Week 5 of 5
This event ranks 64 players based on the PBA Tour points list at that point in the season (and subsequently increases the importance of the TQR all year long). This tournament runs at the same time the NCAA basketball March Madness tournament has the attention of the sports world, and the PBA uses the same 64-man bracket format as the NCAA to bring the ultimate excitement to every match because it’s all about winning and advancing. One loss, you are gone. The event also features the first live one-on-one televised final in decades.
Format: The 64 players in the field are placed into a bracket with number one on the point list facing the number 64 player in points. The bracket takes the field from 64 to 32 to 16 to 8 to 4 to 2.
Match play format will be a combination of best four-out-of-seven for the Rounds of 64, 32, 16 and 8; and three games total pins for the semifinal and championship matches.
TV format: The final two remaining players face off on TV for a 3-game total pins match. The semis are taped on the TV pair prior to the show Sunday, with extended highlights from those matches appearing on the show.
Lane oil pattern: Mixed (Chameleon and Cheetah).
The left lane on each pair will be oiled with the Chameleon pattern; the right lane, Cheetah.
 
March 29: PBA Long Island Classic
Site: AMF Babylon Lanes, W. Babylon, NY.
Tournament Dates: March 25-29
Field: Exempt PBA Tour plus TQR (64)
Purse: $180,000 Winner’s share: $25,000
This preamble to the U.S. Open is a traditional format, with the winner becoming eligible for a bonus payout (to be determined) if they also win the U.S. Open the following week.
Qualifying format: 14 games; cut to top 32 for 9-game modified round robin, with 9th game position round. Cut to top 16 and do it again to determine the top four.
TV format: Top-five stepladder.  
Lane oil pattern: Mixed (Viper and Shark).
Round One of qualifying will feature the Viper Pattern, while Round Two of qualifying will feature Shark. For match play, the left lane on the pair will be oiled with the Shark pattern; the right lane, Viper.
 
April 5: 66th U.S. Open.
Site: Brunswick Zone Carolier, North Brunswick, NJ.
Tournament Dates: March 29-April 5
Field: Open.
Purse: $375,000 Winner’s share: $100,000
Grand Slam: Week 4 of 4
The most prestigious tournament of the year closes out the 50th Anniversary year of the PBA Tour. Besides it being our open national championship with the largest field of the year, the U.S. Open is defined by its demanding lane condition, the most challenging of the year. It is a flat oil pattern that demands the most precision and concentration of any event.
Qualifying format: After 27 games of qualifying, top 24 bowl round robin to determine the top 4 for the finals.
TV format: Top four in stepladder.
Lane oil pattern: U.S. Open.
 
Depending on further developments, the top finishers in the below three categories will earn awards, berths into made-for-TV events or other benefits:
 
PBA Grand Slam
Majors
Oct 26, World Championship
Jan 25, Tournament of Champions
Feb. 15, USBC Masters
April 5, US Open
 
PBA Versatility Swing
Pattern Championships (All events use same format)
Nov 2, Viper
Nov 16, Chameleon
Nov 30, Scorpion
Dec 7, Cheetah
Dec 14, Shark
Jan 18, Earl
 
PBA Extreme Swing
“Creative” format Championships
Nov 23, Ultimate Scoring
Feb 22, Plastic Ball
March 1, Marathon Championship
March 8, Eliminator
March 22, Match Play
 
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