Breaking down the Player of the Year race

by Bob Johnson 0

Going into the final week of the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour’s 2010-11 regular season, three bowlers remain in the hunt for Player of the Year honors: Walter Ray Williams Jr., Bill O’Neill and Mike Scroggins.

A special points list — which awards points based solely on championship round (TV) appearances — determines the Player of the Year, and entering this week’s Lumber Liquidators Marathon Open in Baltimore, Williams and O’Neill were tied for first place with 56 points, followed by Scroggins with 48.

At stake on this Sunday’s telecast will be 16 points for the winner, eight points for the runner-up, four points for the third-place finisher, two points for the fourth-place finisher and one point for the fifth-place finisher.

Should Scroggins finish second and neither Williams nor O’Neill make the telecast, there would be a three-way tie atop the Player of the Year points list.

Any tie would be broken by the tour’s main points list, which determines player exemptions from season to season. Williams leads that list with 214,981 points, followed by O’Neill with 201,519. Scroggins is in fifth place with 173,546.

However, with 21,714 points going to the runner-up in the Marathon Open, Scroggins would still trail both Williams and O’Neill. Thus, the only way for Scroggins to earn Player of the Year honors is for him to win this week’s tournament and for both O’Neill and Williams Jr. to finish no better than third.

If Scroggins doesn’t win and neither Williams nor O’Neill makes the show, Williams would be the Player of the Year. Sixth place (the highest place available off the show) is worth 14,143 points this week and 125th place is worth 1,030 — a difference of 13,113 points. Because of player withdrawals, Williams, who leads leads O’Neill by 13,462 points, can finish no lower than 125th — and isn’t likely to finish that low in a 133-player field, barring an injury that would force him to withdraw. As a result, O’Neill cannot be named Player of the Year via the POY tiebreaker.

For O’Neill to become Player of the Year, Scroggins cannot win the title, and O’Neill would have to qualify for the telecast — and, should both O’Neill and Williams make the telecast, O’Neill would have to finish higher.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.