SEATTLE – The 48th edition of the Professional Bowlers Association Tournament of Champions will return to its traditional roots in March of 2013 when it will feature an exclusive field featuring 48 PBA Tour champions plus any previous TOC winners who elect to participate.
The Tournament of Champions will be held at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis, March 26-31, concluding with a live five-player stepladder final airing on ESPN.
“Since its inception in 1962, the PBA Tournament of Champions has gone through several adaptations given the circumstances of the day and has maintained its unique appeal. But for this year and moving forward we have concluded that the simple variables that made the TOC the PBA’s signature event should be restored,” said PBA Commissioner Tom Clark.
“The two most important variables include returning the Tournament of Champions to an elite field – allowing the drama of trying to qualify to unfold – and utilizing a classic PBA tournament format of 48 games with all entrants starting on equal footing.”
PBA Hall of Famer Johnny Petraglia, who won the 1971 Firestone Tournament of Champions in Akron, Ohio, in his first step toward completing the PBA Triple Crown, is pleased with the return to an exclusive field.
“This is wonderful news,” Petraglia said. “I’m so happy. I’m a past champion and if I’m allowed to bowl, I’ll go even if I don’t think I have a chance to win.”
Newly-inducted PBA Hall of Famer Jason Couch, the only player to win the TOC three consecutive times, also likes the decision.
“I loved the old way when we had the bubble list every week,” Couch said. “It was great to watch on television, unless you were the guy on the bubble. I can certainly see myself coming out of retirement to bowl in it.”
The 2013 TOC will feature a core field of 48 players. To make up that field, precedence goes to PBA national champions who are Touring 1 or 2 players (those who bowled in at least 60 percent of PBA Tour events last year). For the upcoming season, 46 PBA Tour champions fall into that category. Because there are 46, the remaining places on the roster will be filled by the most current title winners who did not attain “touring player” status last season. The current list (see below) may change during the 2012-13 season. Any new champion will bump the last eligible player – Robert Smith is currently on the “bubble” – off the eligibility list.
Additionally, all former TOC champions have a lifetime invitation to compete. Any past champions who currently are not Touring Players (see below) who elect to enter would increase the field to more than 48.
The 2013 Tournament of Champions will get underway on Wednesday, March 27, with two eight-game qualifying rounds. After a third eight-game round on Thursday, the top 24 players will advance to eight-game match play rounds Thursday evening and Friday. The top five after 48 games advance to Sunday’s ESPN finals. A pro-am program and the PBA Hall of Fame induction dinner will highlight Saturday’s schedule.
First prize in the TOC will be $50,000. All players will cash. Last place will pay $1,450.
The Tournament of Champions has provided many of the most memorable moments in PBA history – the PBA’s first nationally-televised 300 by Jack Biondolillo in 1967, Don Johnson’s emotional 299 in the title match against Dick Ritger in 1970, Kelly Kulick’s historic victory for women in 2010, Mika Koivuniemi’s 299 on his way to a record $250,000 prize in 2011 are among many others.
“The PBA Tournament of Champions has always provided electric moments,” Clark said. “In 2013, we expect more of that kind of drama: 48 champions, 48 games and live nationally-televised finals with history riding on every ball. It’s going to be a great way to conclude the winter segment of our 2012-13 schedule.”
All qualifying and match play rounds will feature live coverage on PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel.
2013 PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS ELIGIBILITY LIST
(with most recent title; as of Aug. 1, 2012)
1, Sean Rash, Tournament of Champions, April 2012
2, Norm Duke, Dick Weber Playoffs, April 2012
3, Mike Fagan, Brunswick Euro Challenge, March 2012
4, Osku Palermaa, Kuwait Open, March 2012
5, Pete Weber, U.S. Open, February 2012
6, Scott Newell, Ricart Ford Open, February 2012
7, Eugene McCune, Cheetah Open, January 2012
8, Jason Belmonte, PBA Elite Players, November 2011
9, Andres Gomez, Salvino Classic, November 2011
10, Wes Malott, PBA Doubles, November 2011
11, Dom Barrett, Scorpion Open, November 2011
12, Stuart Williams, Viper Open, November 2011
13, Dick Allen, Dick Weber Playoffs, April 2011
14, Jason Couch, Plastic Ball Championship, March 2011
15, Tom Hess, USBC Masters, February 2011
16, Ryan Ciminelli, Earl Anthony Memorial, January 2011
17, Mika Koivuniemi, Tournament of Champions, January 2011
18, Chris Barnes, PBA World Championship, January 2011
19, Bill O'Neill, Viper Championship, November 2010
20, Scott Norton, Chameleon Championship, November 2010
21, Tommy Jones, Japan Cup, April 2010
22, Brian Kretzer, Match Play Championship, March 2010
23, Mike Scroggins, Don Johnson Eliminator, March 2010
24, Walter Ray Williams Jr., USBC Masters, February 2010
25, Kelly Kulick, Tournament of Champions, January 2010
26, Anthony LaCaze, Earl Anthony Memorial, January 2010
27, Tom Smallwood, PBA World Championship, December 2009
28, Jack Jurek, Shark Championship, August 2009
29, Mike DeVaney, Scorpion Championship, August 2009
30, Rhino Page, Viper Championship, August 2009
31, Patrick Allen, Japan Cup, April 2009
32, John Nolen, USBC Masters, February 2009
33, Parker Bohn III, Cheetah Championship, December 2008
34, Michael Machuga, Chameleon Championship, November 2008
35, Mike Wolfe, Ultimate Scoring Championship, November 2008
36, Brad Angelo, Viper Championship, November 2008
37, Michael Haugen Jr., Tournament of Champions, January 2008
38, Danny Wiseman, PBA Doubles, January 2008
39, Steve Jaros, Tournament of Champions, April 2005
40, Amleto Monacelli, Jackson Hewitt Open, February 2005
41, Ryan Shafer, Empire State Open, November 2003
42, Lonnie Waliczek, Odor-Eaters Open, March 2003
43, Bryon Smith, USBC Masters, January 2003
44, Kurt Pilon, Peoria Open, September 2001
45, Dave Wodka, Greater Detroit Open, October 1999
46, Chris Warren, Florida Open, February 1992
47, Brian Voss, PBA Mixed Doubles, February 2010
48, Robert Smith, Windy City Classic, November 2007
ELIGIBLE PBA TOC PAST CHAMPIONS
Patrick Healey Jr., Bahrain (2003)
Bryan Goebel, Shawnee, Kan. (1998)
John Gant, Elkhorn, Neb. (1997)
Dave D’Entremont, Middleburg Heights, Ohio (1996)
Mike Aulby, Carmel, Ind. (1995)
George Branham III, Indianapolis (1993)
Marc McDowell, Madison, Wis. (1992)
David Ozio, Beaumont, Texas (1991)
Dave Ferraro, Kingston, N.Y. (1990)
Del Ballard Jr., Keller, Texas (1989)
Mark Williams, Beaumont, Texas (1985, 1988)
Marshall Holman, Medford, Ore. (1976, 1986)
Mike Durbin, Trophy Club, Texas (1972, 1982, 1984)
Joe Berardi, Wellington, Fla. (1983)
Steve Cook, Granite Bay, Calif. (1981)
Wayne Webb, Columbus, Ohio (1980)
George Pappas, Charlotte, N.C. (1979)
Mike Berlin, Muscatine, Iowa (1977)
Dave Davis, Murphy, N.C. (1968, 1975)
Jim Godman, Lorain, Ohio (1969, 1973)
Johnny Petraglia, Jackson, N.J. (1971)
Jim Stefanich, Joliet, Ill. (1967)
Wayne Zahn, Tempe, Ariz. (1966)
Billy Hardwick, Memphis, Tenn. (1965)