Woodland Bowl, the host for some of the most memorable championships in Professional Bowlers Association history, will once again step into the spotlight early in 2015 when the 50th anniversary PBA Tournament of Champions returns to the city where it was born.
The newly-renovated Woodland Bowl will host the milestone Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions Monday, Feb. 11 through Sunday, Feb. 15, when ESPN will televise the finals live at 1 p.m. ET. First prize will be $50,000. All qualifying and match play rounds will be covered live on PBA’s subscription-based online bowling channel, Xtra Frame.
Throughout its history, Woodland Bowl has hosted 30 PBA Tour events, including four U.S. Opens, two PBA World Championships, two PBA Touring Players Championships and, most recently, the 2013 PBA Tournament of Champions, which was won in historic fashion by PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber.
Weber also won the 1991 U.S. Open and 1992 PBA Touring Players Championships at Woodland.
“I told (Woodland Bowl general manager) Jim Doty, what a great place to break Earl’s record,” Weber said, referring to the fact that he’s currently tied with PBA legend Earl Anthony with 10 PBA major titles. “I feel comfortable when I walk in the door because I know I’m going to bowl well.”
Weber will have opportunities to break the majors record in the PBA World Championship later this year in Las Vegas or the United States Bowling Congress Masters the week prior to the Tournament of Champions, but if he doesn’t win either of those events, he’ll come to Indianapolis with a lot of confidence.
“When I heard the news that we’re going back to Woodland, I told myself I know I can win there. You always want to do something Earl hasn’t done, so winning my 11th major there would be really cool.”
Weber tied Anthony for most PBA majors when he defeated Australia’s Jason Belmonte, 224-179, to win the 2013 Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions, becoming the oldest player ever to win at the TOC at age 50 and becoming the only player in PBA history to complete the PBA Triple Crown (TOC, U.S. Open and PBA World Championship) twice. Belmonte will return to Indianapolis as defending TOC champion after winning the 2014 title in Allen Park, Mich.
The return of the TOC to Indianapolis is significant because the tournament originated at Play Bowl in 1962 in Indianapolis and Indianapolis was the home to title-sponsor Barbasol when it was invented as the first commercial shaving cream in 1919.
“We’re very happy to continue our long-standing partnership with the PBA,” said Barbasol Director of Media Relations Dean Bring. “Barbasol has a rich legacy of sports sponsorship and to be aligned with the PBA’s signature event is a great fit for both of our organizations.”
Tournament of Champions week will begin with PBA Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on Tuesday, Feb. 10. The PBA will announce additional details regarding the hall of fame soon.
A capacity field of 150 champions will begin competition on Wednesday, Feb. 11, with eight-game qualifying rounds at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Every PBA member in good standing who has ever won a PBA title – PBA Tour, PBA50 Tour, PBA International Tour, PBA Regional or PBA Women’s Series – will be eligible to participate.
After a third qualifying round Thursday morning, the top 24 players will advance to eight-game round-robin match play rounds Thursday and Friday to determine the five stepladder finalists.
Saturday’s schedule will feature three pro-am squads for Indianapolis area grassroots men, women, youth and senior league bowlers.
In addition to live coverage of the finals on ESPN, the Tournament of Champions will be seen around the world on Xtra Frame from the start of qualifying through match play, plus pre- and post-finals special shows. Xtra Frame subscriptions are available for $64.99 for a full year or $7.99 for one month. To subscribe, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame link.
BARBASOL PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)
Tuesday, Feb. 10 1 p.m. – Official practice session
6 p.m. – PBA Hall of Fame ceremonies and dinner
Wednesday, Feb. 11 10 a.m. – 8 games qualifying, all players 5 p.m. – 8 games qualifying, all players
Thursday, Feb. 12 10 a.m. – 8 games qualifying, all players Top 24 after 24 games advance to round-robin match play
5 p.m. – Top 24, 8 games round-robin match play
Friday, Feb. 13 10 a.m. – Top 24, 8 games round-robin match play 5 p.m. – Top 24, 8 games round-robin match play Top five after 48 games advance to stepladder finals
Saturday, Feb. 14 9:30 a.m., 3:30 and 6 p.m. – Pro-Am squads
Sunday, Feb. 15 1 p.m. – Top five, ESPN stepladder finals (live)