Originally the PBA National Championship, this event was renamed the PBA World Championship in 2002–03.
The PBA World Championship is a PBA members-only event.
Don Carter won the inaugural National Championship in 1960 in Memphis, TN, defeating Ronnie Gaudern.
Hall of Famer Wayne Zahn became the first bowler to win this event twice, defeating Nelson Burton Jr. both times.
Earl Anthony staked his mastery in this event; twice capturing it three straight years (1973–75; 1981–83). His 1983 victory was his 41st title (under PBA rules at the time), a record that would stand until Walter Ray Williams Jr. broke it in 2006–07.
Fellow Hall of Famer Mike Aulby won this event in 1979, the first of his 29 PBA titles. Ironically, he had to defeat Anthony to win.
The following year, Johnny Petraglia won the final of his 14 titles at the Sterling Heights, MI, event. Petraglia became the second bowler to win bowling’s original “Triple Crown” with this victory (after Billy Hardwick).
A memorable 1994 PBA National featured brothers David Traber and Dale Traber squaring off in the final match, with David emerging victorious.
With his runner-up finish in the February 2008 event, Ryan Shafer set a record with his fourth runner-up finish in a PBA major event without a victory. Overall, Shafer has made the TV finals in a PBA major event 10 times and has yet to win.
The event moved from late season to become the season-opening tournament in 2008–09, meaning there were two World Championships during calendar year 2008.
With his victory in the November 2008 World Championship, Norm Duke became the first PBA bowler to win three consecutive majors.
The event was moved again for the 2009–10 season. In a split-format, the qualifying for the championship was held at the PBA World Series of Bowling in early September 2009, and the TV finals aired live from Wichita, KS on December 13, 2009. Jason Belmonte won the 2019 PBA World Championship for his record-setting 11th career major championship, surpassing Earl Anthony and Pete Weber, who each have ten majors. .