ARLINGTON, Texas - The U. S. Open traditionally has been known for its challenging lane conditions and test of versatility, and a new select field and format changes in 2017 are designed to enhance the event's integrity and prestige.
The 2017 U.S. Open will be held at the 40-lane Flamingo Bowl in Liverpool, New York, from Oct. 25-Nov. 1.
Competitors again will bowl 24 games of qualifying over three days, but the number of competition lanes will be limited to just 24, so all bowlers will visit the same lanes and see them the same amount of times during qualifying, while each experiencing the three phases of the oil pattern - fresh, burn and double-burn.
"Returning to a select field where an athlete has to qualify brings a higher level of prestige to the event, and the potential to use smaller centers means we can take this great tournament to more places," United States Bowling Congress Executive Director Chad Murphy said. "Additional changes, featuring a limit to the total number of lanes being used and the introduction of separate practice pairs, will further reduce outside factors from influencing the event, which should also be a good thing."
Squad and lane draws will be random, and entrants will not practice on the competition lanes prior to bowling for score each day. Instead, the center's remaining 16 lanes will serve as a practice range, allowing bowlers to warm up prior to moving to their starting lanes for each round.
Due to using 24 competition lanes, the 2017 U.S. Open will feature a limited field, primarily by invitation, of 144 of the best bowlers in the world. Players have earned invitations based on their performances on the lanes in 2016.
Among the qualifiers will be the money leaders from the Professional Bowlers Association Tour and top performers at a variety of USBC and international events, including the World Bowling Tour, U.S. Amateur Championships, World Bowling Zone Championships, USBC Masters, USBC Open Championships, Intercollegiate Singles Championships sectional qualifiers and Junior Gold Championships.
Additional spots will be awarded to the Team USA men and Junior Team USA boys, past U.S. Open winners, PBA regional leaders and special tournament-management invitees. A qualifier, with a maximum of 80 entries will be held on-site prior to the U.S. Open's official practice and used to fill the 144-player field.
Anyone planning on running a local qualifier/win-a-spot still can do so but would be buying a spot into the on-site qualifier, not directly into the U.S. Open. The cost to enter the qualifier is $500 and bowlers should enter early, as spots are limited.
The proprietor or tournament operator then must call the U.S. Open staff to change the entry to the winner's name. If the bowler does not advance to the U.S. Open field, $250 would be refunded.
The tournament's official practice day also will allow competitors to experience each phase of the oil pattern. The lanes will be oiled three times, with each squad getting 40 minutes of practice on each.
As previously introduced, bowlers again will be limited to eight bowling balls, and they will not be permitted to change the surfaces once competition begins.
Invitees will have until June 1 to accept the invitation, before the spot is offered to the next eligible competitor. Bowlers still are responsible for paying the entry fee. All unclaimed spots will be filled from the on-site qualifier.
A complete list of the 144 eligible bowlers, along with the tournament rules, can be found at BOWL.com/USOpen.
The 2017 event will feature a prize fund of nearly $175,000, with the winner taking home $30,000 and the coveted green jacket.
The U.S. Open is jointly funded by the International Bowling Campus' USBC and Bowling Proprietors' Association of America.