The 2014 Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions will visit the Detroit area for the first time in the event’s 49-year history when competition begins at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich., on Jan. 18. Qualifying and match play rounds continue through Tuesday, Jan. 21 which will determine the top five players who will advance to the live two-hour, five-player stepladder finals telecast on ESPN Sunday, Jan. 26 at noon ET.
PBA Tournament of Champions makes first visit to Detroit: The Tournament of Champions will make its first visit to Detroit at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park. The tournament was first held in Indianapolis in 1962 and was not held again until 1965 when it moved to its longtime home in Akron, Ohio. Since 1965, the Tournament of Champions has also been held in Lake Zurich, Ill. (1995, ’96, 2000); Reno, Nev. (1997); Overland Park, Kan. (1998, ’99); Uncasville, Conn. (2002, ‘03, ‘05, ‘06 and ‘07); Las Vegas (2008, ’09, ’10, ’11 and ’12), and Indianapolis (2013).
Joe Joseph won the inaugural Tournament of Champions at Play Bowl in Indianapolis with a two-game 480 pinfall total. Billy Golembiewski was second with 416 pins and Hall of Famer Carmen Salvino finished third with 409 in the two-game elimination final. Joseph won a $15,000 share of the $50,000 prize fund.
Pete Weber tries for his 11th major and third TOC title: PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber won the 2013 Tournament of Champions to tie Earl Anthony for most PBA major titles (10) and became the only player to win PBA’s Triple Crown (Tournament of Champions, U.S. Open and World Championship) twice. At age 50, Weber also became the oldest player to win the title and moved into a tie for third with Norm Duke on the all-time Tour titles list with 37 wins.
A win would also make Weber the third three-time champion, joining fellow Hall of Famers Mike Durbin and Jason Couch. Only Couch has successfully defended a TOC title with an unprecedented three consecutive titles in 1999, 2000 and 2002.
Walter Ray Williams Jr. still trying for a TOC title: Walter Ray Williams Jr. has accomplished nearly everything there is to accomplish in professional bowling except winning the Tournament of Champions. A TOC title would make the all-time titles leader (47) the third player in history to complete the PBA “Grand Slam” (titles in the Tournament of Champions, U.S. Open, PBA World Championship and USBC Masters). Mike Aulby and Norm Duke are the only players who have completed the Grand Slam.
Mika Koivuniemi heads list of Michigan players entered: 13-time PBA Tour champion Mika Koivuniemi of Hartland, Mich. will be trying for his second consecutive Tour win and second Tournament of Champions title having won the event in 2011. Koivuniemi won the recent Brunswick Ballmaster tournament in his native Finland for his 13th Tour title.
A tournament for champions only: the 2014 Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions will include an exclusive field of PBA champions. In order to enter, a player must be a PBA member who has won a PBA Tour, PBA Regional, PBA50 Tour or Regional, or PBA Women’s Series title.
Carmen Salvino to set another record: Chicago’s Carmen Salvino, a founding member of the PBA back in 1958, will improve upon his record as the oldest player ever to bowl in a PBA Tour event when he competes in Detroit at the age of 80. Salvino, who hit his milestone birthday on Nov. 23, has never won the TOC, but had his career-best finish of third in the inaugural event in 1962 – 52 years ago. His 29 T0C appearances is a record.
An historic event for women: Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., made sports history in 2010 by becoming the first woman ever to win a PBA Tour event. Kulick defeated top qualifier Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, 265-195, in the title match after defeating two-time PBA Player of the Year Mika Koivuniemi in the semifinal round, 227-223. Also competing are PBA regional titlists Missy Parkin and Liz Johnson.
11TOC past winners are entered: Past TOC champions entered are Sean Rash (2012), Mika Koivuniemi (2011) Kelly Kulick (2010), Patrick Allen (2009), Chris Barnes (2006), Norm Duke (1994), Bryan Goebel (1998), Michael Haugen Jr. (2008), Tommy Jones (2007), and Pete Weber (1987 and 2013); Johnny Petraglia (1974).
International field: Seven countries are represented in the TOC field – Australia, Colombia, Denmark, England, Finland, Venezuela and the U.S.
PBA League matches to complete TOC week: TOC week will include a series of 2014 PBA League elimination matches, all conducted Jan. 25-27 for delayed telecast on ESPN. The eight PBA League teams will feature a unique singles/doubles/trios/five-player Baker team competition pitting cities against each other in head-to-head elimination matches.
Pro-ams and tickets: Pro-am entries and television tickets for the Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions and PBA League quarterfinal and semifinal rounds at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich., Jan. 25-27, also are available on pba.com. Click on the “tickets” link for complete details. Tickets for all days of competition will be available at Thunderbowl Lanes. For additional information contact Thunderbowl Lanes at (313) 928-4688.