Walter Ray Williams Jr. Adds 2010 PBA Senior Rookie of the Year to Long List of Honors

by Jerry Schneider September 21, 2010 08:47

Idaho’s Robert Harvey earns Dick Weber Sportsmanship Award

SEATTLE, Wash. – PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. added another milestone to his illustrious career by earning the 2010 PBA Senior Rookie of the Year award. Robert Harvey of Boise, Idaho was selected the Senior Tour’s Dick Weber Sportsmanship Award winner.

Williams, the 50-year-old Senior Tour rookie who earned a record seventh PBA Player of the Year honor earlier in the year, got the news of his award at home in Ocala, Fla., where he is recuperating from recent hernia surgery.

As a rookie on the Senior Tour, Williams won the PBA Senior Miller High Life Classic in Mooresville, N.C., in his Senior Tour debut. He also finished second to 2010 Senior Player of the Year Wayne Webb in the United States Bowling Congress Senior Masters and had back-to-back third-place finishes in the PBA Senior Lake County Indiana and PBA Senior Pepsi Opens.

Williams, the PBA Tour’s all-time leader in wins with 47 titles, challenged for Senior Player of the Year going into the final tournament of the season and would have been the first to earn both honors in the same year, but Webb’s victory eliminated any chance for that honor.

“It seems a little odd to win a Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year award in the same year but I had a great time bowling on the Senior Tour,” Williams said. “I was shooting for Player of the Year but Wayne bowled very well and he was able to clinch that award in the last tournament of the season.

“I enjoyed meeting the new guys and bowling against some of the others I had bowled against in the past, but I can tell you that there are plenty of good players on the Senior Tour.”

Williams discovered he had a hernia at the Senior Pepsi Open in Decatur in August but was able to finish the season before heading home to have it checked out.

“I woke up one morning and noticed a slight bump; otherwise I wouldn’t have known it was there. There was no pain and it didn’t really affect my bowling,” Williams said. “I had it checked out when I got back home and the doctor said ‘yeah, it’s a hernia.’

“Fortunately we were able to schedule the surgery so I’ll be ready for the World Series of Bowling (which begins the Tour season Oct. 24 in Las Vegas). I need to stay away from heavy lifting for the next three weeks or so but I should be ready to continue a normal schedule a week or so prior to the start of the season.”

Harvey, currently a pro shop owner and instructor, lost the lease on his 16-lane bowling center earlier this year which opened up his schedule to bowl full time on the Senior Tour.

“It’s a great honor,” said the 54-year-old Harvey after receiving news of the award. “It was a year that started good and got even better as it went on.

“As fate would have it with the center closing, it was an opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade. To be able to win this award after being a member for only four years is something that I wouldn’t have expected.”

Harvey had best finishes of sixth in the PBA Senior HP Lanes Open and seventh in the USBC Senior Masters and finished 10th in Senior Tour points.

Harvey, who has competed on the Senior Tour since 2006, owns his only title in the Illinois State BPA Ladies and Legends with Kelly Kulick in 2008. He is also getting ready to compete in the PBA World Series of Bowling.

Both the Senior Rookie of the Year and Sportsmanship Awards were voted on by Senior Tour players.

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