by DLayman April 10, 2013 03:11

This debate is one that the fans of any sport continue to have ad nauseam. Ironically, the argument comes up as one of the greats adds another trophy or accomplishment to their storied careers. As you know, Pete Weber won his 2nd ever TOC when he defeated Jason Belmonte to win this year's Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions. As I watched the telecast and how the TV pair was breaking down, I honestly couldn't see anyone having a better chance to win than Belmo. Call me crazy, but any telecast with both Belmo and Osku on it is going to end up being a contest of who can strike from the furthest point left on the lane. When reigning PBA Player of the Year Sean Rash seemed to be running out of room to the left in the semifinal match against Belmo, it seemed as if PDW would've been doomed to suffer the same outcome.

But come on, we are talking about PDW bowling for a major title. And after watching him dismantle Belmo, it only further cemented in my mind that he is beyond a shadow of a doubt the Greatest Of All Time.

One could make the same arguments for the late Earl Anthony, Walter Ray Williams Jr. and a handful of other great bowlers through the years. And while the two men I just mentioned may possess more accomplishments on their resumes, none of them have overcome what PDW has. He has had to battle things in his personal life that have destroyed the lives of many athletes. Yet he has persevered. He also had a father who not only could hold his own in this debate, but was also the greatest ambassador our sport has ever had in Dick Weber. No player in the history of our sport, or many others, has had a greater shadow to overcome to establish their own legacy to rival or exceed what the other has accomplished. Pete Weber has done this. He sits tied for 3rd most victories in tour history, tied for most major victories, and has the most regional titles in PBA history. No name is more synonymous with greatness in bowling than the Weber name.

Forget the fact that he has never won a Player of the Year award. In all reality there are many years the voters kept him from having that honor. When its all said and done he will have the best title of all...and that's the greatest bowler ever.

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PBA League Finals on ESPN Feature Fast-Paced Format - CLICK FOR DETAILS

by Jason Thomas February 7, 2013 09:33


This Sunday at 1pm ET on ESPN, competition in the PBA League will resume with Round 2. The show marks the second installment of the historic team competition, and also features a new format that will be used over the next four rounds of PBA League competition. Here is how it works:


The upcoming PBA League telecasts will be expanded to two hours (hooray, more bowling!), and will feature three distinct segments.

The first part of the PBA League telecasts will consist of an exciting new "Clash Round", featuring 11 different players. Each team will have a specific number of players representing their teams (determined by final qualifying position - the higher the team finished in the standings, the more players they get in the Clash Round). The format is a one-ball roll-off where each player will throw a shot, with the lowest scorer (or scorers in the event of a tie) eliminated. The last remaining player's team will gain a spot in the baker-format team stepladder finals, and will join the three teams who qualified through the preliminary qualifying rounds (all of those rounds are currently available to watch on demand on XTRA FRAME). 


Three baker-format team matches will determine team points earned for that week's telecast. The points earned over the five rounds of the PBA League will determine the four finalists for the Elias Cup, which will crown the PBA's first team champion. Here are the current standings after Round 1:

1, BROOKLYN STyLES (owner Jesse Williams), 18 points.
2, New York City WTT KingPins (owner Billie Jean King), 12.
3, Motown Muscle (owner Jerome Bettis), 9.
4, Dallas Strikers (owner Terrell Owens), 8.
5, Silver Lake Atom Splitters (owner Chris Hardwick), 6.
6, L.A. X (owner Chris Paul), 5.
7, Philadelphia Hitmen (owner Kevin Hart), 3.
8, Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits (owner LaMarr Woodley), 2.

Each PBA League telecast will conclude with the title match between the two finalists for that week's Classic qualifying and match play rounds. Round 2 will feature the Carmen Salvino Classic finalists (D.J. Archer and Andres Gomez), Round 3 the Mark Roth Classic (Michael Haugen Jr. and Scott Norton), Round 4 the Don Carter Classic (Wes Malott and Jason Sterner) and Round 5 the Earl Anthony Players Championship (Sean Rash and Scott Norton). So not only will these shows feature exciting and historic team competition, but they will also crown a PBA champion!


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DONNIE LAYMAN: Top 10 Player Rankings Through WSOB

by DLayman January 11, 2013 04:07

So, after this Sunday's PBA World Championship finals we'll have made it through the first leg of this newer, longer, PBA Tour season - and I have to say the shows have been pretty impressive from both a production and competition point of view. We've seen some new faces making their first appearances on a PBA telecast, some familiar faces, and at least one player who redeemed himself after his first telecast was arguably one of the most bizarre TV matches I've ever seen.

That player is Tom Daugherty, whom you might remember being on the losing end of the most lopsided match ever televised when he lost the semifinal in the 2011 PBA Tournament of Champions to Mika Koivuniemi 299-100. Tom shook that off and won the Bowlers Journal PBA Scorpion Championship by doubling his 100 game to win over Osku Palermaa 200-182.

We had our first bowler from the Middle East qualify for a PBA telecast, when Fawaz Abdulla of Bahrain made the stepladder finals for the PBA WSOB Chameleon Championship. He also may have put on one of the gutsiest performances I've seen in recent years, having to battle gout in his right foot - and the pain that accompanies it. While he fell short of his ultimate goal, he showed his toughness as a competitor and that his game is good enough that he could one day return to fight another day for his first PBA title. Scott Norton came out on top when a stubborn 10-pin left by Jason Belmonte handed him his second PBA tour title, coincidentally on the same Chameleon pattern he won his first title on.

We also had two players return to the winners circle. Bill O'Neill ran the stepladder to bring home the Alka Seltzer Plus Cold Cheetah Championship by defeating top seeded Mike Wolfe in the title match by a score of 243-192. Brad Angelo returned to the winners circle by defeating arguably the hottest bowler on the planet, Mika Koivuniemi, 233-232 in a tightly contested match that saw Mika make an uncharateristic mistake to cost him the win.

All in all, with the exception of O'Neill's dominance over Wolfe in their match, we have seen some rather exciting and tightly contested title matches in this rendition of the Geico PBA World Series of Bowling. Be sure to tune in to catch the World Championship telecast as I can only imagine there will be more excitement coming from that show.

Top 10 Rankings

Ya know, it has been a while since this writer has taken the time to throw this list together. I'm sure that many of the names will be the same (as the cream will always rise to the top). Having said that, here we go...

10. Dan McClelland

Dan qualified 4th overall for the World Championship and always seems to be lurking around the top portion of the field. Dan is one of the young guns who you will be seeing a lot of in the coming years and will find his way to many titles in the future. His first title is just a matter of time.

9. Chris Barnes

I'm shocked to be putting one of the best in the world this far down the list, but after failing to make any of the five telecasts during the WSOB and qualifying 48th, Chris would probably tell you himself his performance was far from what he has grown accustomed to. Chris did, however, win the finals of the 2012 World Bowling Tour beating his roomie Mika. With the Winter Swing approaching, I'm sure he has taken the time to evaluate things and will figure out what he needs to do to return to the top of this list.

8. Tommy Jones

TJ was the 2nd highest qualifier after the four animal pattern qualifying rounds were contested in this year's WSOB and just missed the PBA World Championship finals by an agonizing 9 pins. It's been too long since this superstar has hoisted a trophy, but if history shows us anything its that when he gets hot he wins in bunches and bunches.

7.  Chris Loschetter

Still waiting to take home that elusive first tour title, Chris came out with guns blazing at the WSOB this year. He only made one show in the Alka Seltzer Plus Cold Cheetah Championship and, if it wasn't for those pesky 9 counts he very well could've been the player running through the stepladder to get the win in place of eventual champion Bill O'Neill. He also was the 4th highest qualifier after the animal pattern events, eventually placing 8th in the World Championship. Chris continues to get better and better, and while his string of consectutive tournaments entered without a victory is still going, don't expect that to last for too much longer. One might say you could compare his career to that of Jack Jurek, who has long been a solid player on tour but took quite a while to get that first title.

6. Scott Norton

Let's be realistic, being a left hander on tour these days hasn't been as "beneficial" as it may have been in years past - for many reasons. Norton was the top left handed qualifier during the World Championship qualifying rounds and is on a short list of left handers to have won more than one title over the last few years. He did his part in forcing Belmonte to strike in the tenth to beat him, and the emotion that poured out of him after Belmo's 10-pin stood was a memorable sight to see. By winning again, Norton has cemented himself as a force to be reckoned with out on tour, and I'm sure that we'll be seeing a lot more of him in the future.

5. Mike Fagan

The Argyle Assassin had a solid WSOB, and made the TV finals for the WSOB Viper Championship, losing his match to Mika Koivuniemi. I'm sure when the season comes closer to the end, Mike's name will be back in the discussion for this year's Player of the Year race, because he just always seems to be consistently near the top when the tournament is on the line.

4. Bill O'Neill

One might say last season was a disappointment for The Real Deal, even though he did finish in the top 8 on the PBA points list. He quickly put his name back up towards the top of this list with his win in the Alka Seltzer Plus Cold Cheetah Championship. It sure does seem that if he has the chance to get locked in during a stepladder TV final, he usually finds a way to win.

3. Mika Koivuniemi

Mika has been nothing but dominant in recent months, winning across the globe in the World Bowling Tour and WTBA events. He recently won in Qatar which was his 10th PBA title, but also the 19th different country he has won in. The Big Finn is going to continue to make noise throughout the year as the PBA continues to travel the globe.

2. Jason Belmonte

Scary as it is to realize this, Belmo keeps getting better and better. He was a 10-pin away from winning the Chameleon Championship title, and also finished 3rd in the Scorpion. He's also locked in to the title match for the first major of the season when the World Championship telecast takes place Sunday. He seems determined to keep his name in the hat for this year's POY race, but like Ric Flair once said, "To be the man you have to beat the man." And the man right now is...

1. Sean Rash

The Man. Sean may not have left the WSOB with a title again this year, but continues to show that he is simply the best player in the world at this time. His rivalry with Belmo brings back memories of years past when you would see Roth and Holman on ABC what seemed like every week. Sean doesn't seem to be slowing down any this season, and looks ready to defend his Player of the Year status til the bitter end.

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MIKE J. LANESIDE: Luci Bonneau Memorial LIVE on Xtra Frame

by Jason Thomas July 17, 2012 04:51

I never had the chance to meet Luci Bonneau, but I wish I had.  Luci lost her courageous battle with breast cancer in 1999 and now, for the 13th time, Luci’s memory and battle live on at Palace Lanes in Houston.

For the first time, bowling fans from around the world will be introduced to "The Luci”.

Xtra Frame, online Bowling Channel, is proud to present LIVE coverage of the Luci Bonneau Memorial Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles benefitting the Stehlin Foundation for Breast Cancer Research at Palace Lanes in Houston, Texas July 20-22.  On the line is an $8,000 first prize and a Regional PBA title for members.

Watch ALL qualifying and match play LIVE on Saturday and Sunday.  Follow the scores, share photos, talk about the action on PBA Facebook and Twitter and in person with all of your bowling friends and fellow fans.

The action at Palace Lanes gets underway with a LIVE FREE Xtra Frame preview Friday July 20 starting at 7 p.m. ET.  Join Xtra Frame’s Mike J. Laneside, “The Bowling Guy” Jason Thomas and The Powerhouse Jackie Bowling for LIVE coverage of the sold-out Luci Bonneau Memorial Pro Am benefitting the Stehlin Foundation for Breast Cancer Research on

Visit the PBA Facebook Fan Page, or follow the PBA on Twitter @PBATour #TheLUCI this week for a link to the FREE LIVE preview show on  The festivities will include tips by PBA pros, player interviews and a preview of the Luci Bonneau Memorial Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles.

The Luci Bonneau Memorial attracts some of the country’s most talented bowlers with an all-star tournament staff including tournament founder Donna Connors with Jim Welch of Sunset Station Strike Zone.

Among the 84 doubles teams scheduled to participate in the Luci will be defending champions and winners of 4 of the last 5 “Lucis”, Shannon Pluhowsky and Tommy Jones.  Also scheduled to compete: Lynda and Chris Barnes, Liz Johnson with PBA Player of the Year and 2012 ESPY winner Sean Rash, Colombians Clara Guerrero and Andres Gomez, Carol Norman and Wes Malott, 2012 U.S. Women’s Open winner Kelly Kulick and Mike Scroggins.

Watch the Luci ProAm LIVE on the Xtra Frame FREE preview on, then subscribe to your online Bowling Channel for LIVE coverage of the Luci Bonneau Memorial Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles Saturday and Sunday.

The Luci Bonneau Memorial Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles will be webcast LIVE in its entirety on’s online Bowling Channel, Xtra Frame, including Saturday’s qualifying rounds and Sunday’s match play competition. Saturday’s schedule includes eight-game qualifying rounds for Squads A and B at 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. ET, with the top 12 doubles teams advancing to round-robin match play Sunday at 10 a.m. ET.

If you can’t be there in person, you can help by spreading the word, watching the coverage on Xtra Frame or by donating, send a check to:

LB Striking Against Breast Cancer
% of Memorial City Bank
820 Gessner Road
Houston, Texas 77024

Bowling world, it is my pleasure to introduce you to “The Luci”.

For a schedule of upcoming Live Xtra Frame coverage in July and August, click here.


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THE BOWLING GUY: Top 10 Stories From 2011-12 PBA Tour Season

by Jason Thomas June 13, 2012 07:05

Now that the 2011-12 PBA Tour season is in the books, and we still have five full months until the start of next season at the World Series of Bowling this November let's take a look back and recall some of the great storylines from the season. Here are my picks for numbers 6-10, with the top five coming at you later this week...


#10 - Blanchard's Fall

While this story may not make newly selected PBA Rookie of the Year Josh Blanchard's list of moments he'd like to remember, the "fall heard 'round the world" garnered a great deal of media attention and gave the young up-and-coming star a fantastic opportunity to educate folks on some of the finer points (You use tight thumbholes? There's oil on the lanes? Pros have interchangeable slide shoes? I never knew!) of our sport. Blanchard handled the attention with great class and used the platform to make a name for himself as one of the Tour's sure-fire future stars. And he bounced back in the very next tournament with a top-four appearance in the season's first Xtra Frame Tour event in Fountain Valley.


#9 - Newell's Gutter Ball

Making his first career "TV" appearance (technically, it wasn't a TV appearance because it was an Xtra Frame only event, but to hear it from Newell, he was every bit as nervous) in the PBA Ricart Ford Open. After telling sideline reporter Jackie Bowling how nervous he was in spite of the fact that there were no ESPN cameras on hand, the man with the mohawk and "Captain America" belt dumped his first shot of the opening match against Dom Barrett straight into the gutter. After telling himself, "Well, it can't get any worse than this!" he calmed down and shot 740 for three games to defeat Barrett, Rhino Page and Ryan Ciminelli for his first career PBA Tour win.


#8 - International Dominance at WSOB

When the Dream Team dominated the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, no one thought the rest of the world would ever catch up to the Americans in the sport of basketball. For a long time, critics and experts thought the same thing of American dominance in the sport of bowling. But with the arrival of a bevy of international stars to the PBA Tour in the past five years, the tide completely shifted in favor of international dominance at this year's World Series of Bowling. International players won every single animal pattern event on the schedule (Stuart Williams of England - Viper, Jason Belmonte of Australia - Chameleon, Dom Barrett of England - Scorpion, Belmonte - Shark) with Finland's Osku Palermaa claiming the PBA World Championship. The dominant performance of the Internationals declared, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the world now stands on equal footing with the Americans at every level of the sport of bowling.


#7 - Shafer's Heartbreak at the World Championship

And speaking of the PBA World Championship, an American who could have ended the run of the international players was Ryan Shafer, who was the heavy emotional favorite going into the final match of the season's first major. With 12 career TV appearances in the majors without a win, many hoped Shafer would shake off the bad luck and post a "W", especially after his emotional reaction to advancing to the final round. But it was not to be, as a late miss on a 3-6-10 leave would cost Shafer the match and his chance to erase all of those past heartbreaks. As always, Shafer handled the loss with class and marched on with another solid performance in the U.S. Open, where he finished 4th. Fans of Shafer can only hope that next time things will be different.


#6 - Belmonte's 300

With as much power as he packs in his two-handed delivery, and with the frequency with which he is making it to the TV finals these days, it was bound to happen eventually - a perfect game on TV for Jason Belmonte. During the second eliminator match of the Mike Aulby Division Finals of the PBA World Championship, Belmonte went on a tear on the Shark pattern (that he had chosen as the high qualifier on the telecast). With laser-like precision and devastating power, Belmonte labelled twelve straight strikes to shoot the 21st televised 300 game in PBA history, earning a $10,000 bonus for his efforts.


Well, there are the first five in our list of the top 10 storylines of the 2011-12 PBA Tour season. I'll be posting the top five later this week. In the meantime, what were some of your favorite stories from this past PBA Tour season?

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