After the highest-scoring title match streak in PBA history through the first four tournaments of the 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour season, the natural question is, is the “Million Dollar 300 Bonus” the next milestone on the horizon? Will that historic incentive be collected in Saturday’s final match of the PBA Players Championship, airing live on FS1 from Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl at 5:30 p.m. EST?
It’s a question worth pondering after four consecutive championship matches in which the LOWEST winning score has been 280, bowled by Kris Prather in winning last Sunday’s PBA Tournament of Champions, live on FOX, in which his only flaw was leaving a 10 pin in the second frame of his 280-205 win over top seed Bill O’Neill.
Prior to Prather’s near-perfect winning score, Kyle Troup left the 3-6-7-10 split in the first frame of his 290-269 win over Chris Barnes in the PBA Jonesboro Open title match, and Sean Rash converted a 10 pin in the first frame and threw 10 consecutive before leaving another 10 pin on his final shot in his 289-234 win over top qualifier Ryan Ciminelli in the Oklahoma Open finale.
Of course, Tommy Jones set the season precedent, throwing a 300 game to win the season-opening PBA Hall of Fame Classic.
That means the average score to win a title thus far in 2020 is 289.75.
The million-dollar incentive program, offering a $1 million bonus prize to any player bowling a 300 game in the championship match of one of the following PBA on FOX/FS1 live telecasts, resumes Saturday. On the horizon are the Go Bowling PBA Indianapolis Open at Royal Pin Woodland (Saturday, Feb. 29 at 8:30 p.m. EST on FS1) and PBA World Championship at South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas (Wednesday, March 18 at 8 p.m. EST on FS1).
PBA TOC TELECAST ON FOX REACHES NEARLY 1.5 MILLION VIEWERS
FOX Sports has announced Sunday’s live coverage of the PBA Tournament of Champions finals on FOX was the most-watched non-NFL adjacent telecast since 2010 with 1,464,000 viewers. The “non-NFL adjacent” reference means a standalone telecast that neither preceded or followed an NFL game on FOX.
With that exceptional audience, FOX Sports telecasts (FOX and FS1) are up 29 percent over 2019 and through five events, including the PBA Clash to kick off the season, viewership is up 45 percent over the 2019 season which also were the highest in years.
KRIS PRATHER BECOMES MOST SUCCESSFUL TELEVISION PLAYER IN PBA HISTORY
With his four match wins in the PBA Tournament of Champions stepladder finals, Kris Prather became the most successful player in PBA history in terms of winning percentage for a minimum of 10 television appearances. His TOC performance improved his match record to 17-5 in 13 television appearances for a 77.27 percent success rate, surpassing Jim Pencak who won 73.33% of his TV matches (22-8 in 12 appearances) dating back to the late 1980s.
Tommy Jones, with two wins and one loss in his three matches on TV in 2020, has advanced from 15th on the list to 12th with a 62.20 success percentage in 82 matches bowled in 48 TV appearances (51 wins, 31 losses).
KRIS PRATHER CLAIMS PBA PLAYOFFS POINTS LEAD AFTER TOC WIN
Kris Prather of Plainfield, Ill., the winner of the inaugural PBA Playoffs in 2019, jumped into the 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour points lead after winning the PBA Tournament of Champions Sunday in Fairlawn, Ohio. The TOC was the first major championship of the 2020 season, and a Tier 1 tournament in the PBA’s classification system, awarding 7,500 points to the winner.
With his big win in the fourth of 13 tournaments in the 2020 PBA Playoffs points race, Prather moved past PBA Oklahoma Open winner Sean Rash who led the points standings after the season’s first three tournaments. PBA Jonesboro Open titlist Kyle Troup dropped one spot to third.
Fans can expect another shakeup in the points race after this week’s PBA Players Championship, the second Tier 1 event of the season. Points are awarded according to each tournament is classified in the three-tier points structure. Tier 1 (major championship) tournaments reward winners with 7,500 points. Tier 2 (standard PBA Tour) tournaments award 5,000 points to the winner. A Tier 3 tournament (limited field and/or restricted format) awards 2,500 points to the winner. Points also are awarded to all other players in a declining scale based upon where they finish.
The top 24 in 2020 competition points will qualify to bowl in the PBA Playoffs in April and May. Points standings will be finalized at the conclusion of the USBC Masters on March 29 in Reno, Nev. Below are the top 30 points standings after three events:
2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour Competition Points Standings
(Top 30 after four of 13 events)
1, Kris Prather, 9,985
2, Sean Rash, 9,185
3, Kyle Troup, 8,130
4, Jason Belmonte, 6,245
5, Bill O’Neill, 6,170
6, Tommy Jones, 5,625
7, Anthony Simonsen, 5,605
8, Mitch Hupe, 4,755
9, Chris Barnes, 4,690
10, Darren Tang, 4,675
11, EJ Tackett, 4,415
12, Kyle Sherman, 4,260
13, Tom Daugherty, 4,160
14, Ryan Ciminelli, 4,135
15, AJ Johnson, 3,850
16, Dom Barrett, 3,740
17, Tom Smallwood, 3,310
18, Brad Miller, 3,265
19, Josh Blanchard, 3,220
20, Stuart Williams, 3,070
21, Jesper Svensson, 3,020
22, Andrew Anderson, 2,975
23, Dick Allen, 2,937
24, DJ Archer, 2,880
25, Patrick Hanrahan, 2,745
26, AJ Chapman, 2,530
27, Marshall Kent, 2,430
28, Jakob Butturff, 2,395
29, Osku Palermaa, 2,295
30, Francois Lavoie, 2,102
MATCHROOM SPORT, PBA TEAM UP AGAIN FOR 2020 WEBER CUP
Matchroom Sport and the PBA will again team up for the 2020 BetVictor Weber Cup, a Ryder Cup-style competition that will pit five American PBA stars against five European PBA members in a team, doubles and singles competition for bragging rights and shares of a $75,000 prize fund.
The competition, which was held in the U.S. for the first time in 2019, returns to England in 2020 where it will be contested in Morningside Arena in Leicester, June 5-7.
Team Europe and Team USA will each line-up with five players for the 2020 BetVictor Weber Cup with two members of each team to earn automatic selection via the PBA Tour Points List. New to the program in 2020 will be a competition points qualifying system for two berths on each team using the PBA’s points system for 10 tournaments ending with the USBC Masters in March.
PBA Hall of Famer Chris Barnes will return as captain of the U.S. team while England’s Dom Barrett will again captain the European squad. The captains will select the final two members of their respective teams. The American team won the 2019 Cup at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, 18-14.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with the BetVictor Weber Cup for a second consecutive year and to be giving our PBA players the kind of international exposure they deserve,” said PBA Chief Executive Officer Colie Edison. “The BetVictor Weber Cup—much like the Ryder Cup in golf—is a transatlantic rivalry that ups the ante for the sport and gives our fans even more reason to root for their favorite players.”
PBA PLAYER’S PERSPECTIVE: NORM DUKE REFLECTS ON WINNING TITLE NO. 39
PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke etched his name in PBA history in 2019, becoming the third player in PBA Tour history to win 40 career titles. He began his trek to that milestone with victory No. 39 in the Go Bowling Indianapolis Open. That’s the topic of his PBA Player’s Perspective that will be available on the PBA’s YouTube channel on Tuesday, Feb. 18.
Next up on the Player’s Perspectives schedule for introduction on Tuesdays includes:
• Feb. 25 – Jason Belmonte and Bill O’Neill share insider thoughts about winning the 2018 Mark Roth-Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship.
To view the entire series of PBA Player’s Perspective episodes, visit the PBA’s YouTube channel and click on the PBA Player’s Perspective play list. A wide range of Player’s Perspectives currently reside in the archives on YouTube. Among the most recent are:
• Jakob Butturff’s 2019 USBC Masters win (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cuYcXxfXXs).
• EJ Tackett’s 2017 DHC PBA Japan Invitational victory. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91yoFd7nd8g).
• Kris Prather’s 2019 PBA Scorpion Championship win (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aVe_n8uCOM).
• Bill O’Neill’s 2019 PBA Hall of Fame Classic victory that made him title-eligible for future PBA HOF consideration (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeHXCYxWH4o).
• Jakob Butturff’s 2019 PBA Oklahoma Open win (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOsC36SxxxA&list=).
• Sean Rash’s 2012 PBA TOC victory (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkzuCw4Cpqs).
• Jason Belmonte’s record-tying 10th PBA major championship in the 2019 PBA Tournament of Champions (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Si3d6oPhBo).
• Anthony Simonsen’s 2019 PBA Players Championship victory (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGLBRvb_T24).
Fans can follow all of the latest video clips and more by enrolling as a subscriber to PBA’s YouTube channel. It’s easy and it’s free. Visit YouTube.com/PBABowling and click on the “subscribe” button.
PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: ROOKIE WINS FIRST TITLE IN FLORIDA
New PBA member Anthony Marino of Henrico, Va., defeated Matt Gasn of Clarksville, Tenn., 435-398, in a two-game match to win the PBA Break Point Alley Challenge in Tavares, Fla., for his first PBA title and a $2,000 first prize Sunday.
In the PBA50 portion of the PBA South Region doubleheader, non-member Doug Nairn of DeBary, Fla., defeated Joe Scarborough of Charlotte, N.C., 424-335, in the final match to collect the $1,500 top prize. Nairn’s win doesn’t include a title, however, because he was not a PBA member at the time he won.
• Regional competition over the Feb. 21-23 weekend includes the PBA50 Dave Edwards Toyota South Open at Paradise Lanes in Spartanburg, S.C., and a pair of tournaments at South Point in Las Vegas – the Southpoint West Challenge for non-titlists and a Southpoint Member/Non-Member Doubles Tournament.
• Closing out the February regional calendar over the Feb. 28-March 1 “leap year” weekend will be the PBA Plaza Lanes Central/Midwest Open in Crawfordsville, Ind.
• For complete PBA Regional schedules including rules and entry information, visit pba.com, open the “schedules” tab and click on PBA Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area. Whether you are a competitor or a fan, you can follow “live scoring” for all PBA Regional events on pba.com (easily accessible for Apple and Android device users using the PBA app).
• Sherri Herndon Troup, wife of PBA Tour champion Guppy Troup and mother of PBA Tour titlist Kyle Troup, died on Sunday, Feb. 9, at the family’s home in Taylorsville, N.C., after a lengthy battle with bone cancer. She was 56. She is survived by her husband of 29 years, sons Kyle and Tyler, her father Frank Herndon, and brother Bryan Herndon and his wife, Cindy.
A Celebration of Life service was held on Friday at the Taylorsville Presbyterian Church. Memorials may be made to Taylorsville Presbyterian Church, PO Box 507, Taylorsville, NC 28681. Condolences may be sent to www.adamsfunerals.com.
• PBA Southwest Region competitor Thomas (Gid) Rash (at right in photo at left) reports that his surgery to donate a kidney to childhood friend Clay Copeland (left) Wednesday in Fort Worth, Texas, was a success. Both parties are now on the road to recovery.
• The PBA has learned of the death of retired Ebonite Vice President of Marketing Bob Reid, who would have turned 70 in March. No further details were immediately available.
• In his second television appearance of the 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour season Sunday in the PBA Tournament of Champions, Australia’s Jason Belmonte threw six strikes in a 252-179 loss to Kris Prather. Adding to his pledge to donate $50 per strike to his “2HandsHelpingAustralia” fundraiser in the wake of his home country’s devastating wildfires, Belmonte has now donated was for $650 for 13 strikes in two TV matches this season.