Except for a handful of live events, the PBA Tour has become a studio show, like Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy.
Las Vegas was the site for the PBA’s World Series of Bowling in November, a series of tournaments that were taped for a series that opened last Sunday on ESPN.
In January, the Detroit area will be the site for the PBA’s Winter Series, another week or so of tournaments that will feed the Sunday ESPN bowling package.
This week, the PBA announced that it will conduct its Summer Swing in the Milwaukee area in late May.
The Summer Swing will include two-day tournaments in Waukesha, Milwaukee and Wauwatosa, Wis. – three tournaments that will produce a five-player stepladder final for television showing later. The three tournaments will serve as qualifiers for a fourth event.
For now the tournaments are being called Summer Classics I, II and III. Each will offer a $50,000 prize fund. Classic IV will pay $100,000 in prize money. All four winners will earn berths in the 2014 PBA Tournament of Champions. Finals of the four tournaments will be taped on June 1 and 2.
It’s been five years since the PBA has held competitions in the Milwaukee area, which was once home of the USBC before the move from Greendale, Wis., to Arlington, Texas, three years ago.
“Milwaukee has been the home to some of the most important events in bowling history,” PBA Commissioner Tom Clark said, “and we hope the PBA Summer Swing will add to that legacy. It’s a great bowling community with great bowling fans, and we couldn’t be happier to be coming back to town.”
The last event in Milwaukee was the 2007 USBC Masters. Milwaukee has long been an annual stop on the PBA Tour since 1966.
The tournament field will be limited to 192 players.
Jurek a senior in ‘13
Some newly-eligible big name bowlers should spike interest in the PBA Senior Tour, now called the PBA50 Tour.
Jack Jurek of Lackawanna is one of several pros who will become eligible to compete in 2013.
Also eligible will be PBA Hall of Famers Pete Weber, Parker Bohn III and Randy Pederson as well as Tour champions Chris Warren and David Traber.
All-time PBA Tour title champion Walter Ray Williams was a rookie on the Senior Tour last season.
The PBA50 Tour will begin next April 14 in Tampa, Fla. and run until August. None of the events will be staged in the Northeast.
Closest to Buffalo will be in Kettering, Ohio, in the Dayton area.
The International Training and Research Center in Arlington, Texas will hold a ITRC Super Senior Classic for bowlers 60 and older Oct. 30-Nov. 1.
Entrants must be at least 60 by Oct. 30, 2013, and must have competed in either the 2013 USBC Senior Masters or Senior Queens.
• Sunday’s PBA Tour event on ESPN (1 p.m.) will be the Alka Seltzer Plus Cold PBA Cheetah Championship from the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
The opening match will have Bill O’Neill of Langhorne, Pa., facing Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio. The winner will face regional star Jeff Roche of Dearborn, Mich. The semifinal winner will face Mike Wolfe of New Albany, Ind. in the title match.
Wolfe won the PBA Tour Etonic Classic at AMF Thruway Lanes in November of 2007 when he defeated Walter Ray Williams, 256-215, in the title match after edging Chris Barnes, 236-235 in the semifinals.
• Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga lost to Missy Parkin, 238-190, in the championship finals of the women’s World Bowling Tour as part of last week’s ESPN show.
It was a part of the PBA World Series of Bowling which was held last month in Las Vegas. Johnson defeated Kelly Kulick, 267-260, in the semifinal match. In the final, however, Liz left the 4-6-7 split in the second frame and the 4-6 in the fourth and never could recover.