Bowling’s Team USA program has finalized both the men’s and women’s rosters for the combined men’s and women’s 2017 World Bowling World Championships, which will be held Nov. 24-Dec. 4 at South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas. The event previously had been scheduled to be held in Kuwait City in December but had to be relocated due to unforeseen delays with the construction of the Kuwait Bowling Center, which now will host the 2021 event.
On the women’s side, five of the six gold medalists will be returning after winning the world title at the 2015 World Championships in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, including Stefanie Johnson, Danielle McEwan, Kelly Kulick, Shannon O’Keefe and Shannon Pluhowsky. Joining that group will be first-timer and PWBA Tour champion, Josie Barnes.
Team USA veteran and recently elected PBA Hall of Famer Chris Barnes will lead a men’s squad including Marshall Kent, Tommy Jones, A.J. Johnson, Chris Via and left-hander Jakob Butturff. The men last won team gold in 2010 in Munich, Germany, after having gone back-to-back in 2006 in Busan, Korea, and 2008 in Bangkok, Thailand. The 2006 medal was the men’s team’s first world title in 35 years.
They fell short in 2013, when Finland bagged the men’s team gold medal in Las Vegas, and in 2014, when Korea claimed men’s team gold in Abu Dhabi.
Barnes told Bowl.com’s Matt Cannizzaro, "I think what happened the last two times will keep us more focused and motivated for better results this year. We won three in a row then came up short, so we've worked even harder to be ready.”
The women, who won team gold for the first time in 24 years at the 2011 event in Hong Kong but fell short at the last combined men’s and women’s World Championships when Korea held them off in Las Vegas in 2013, sound no less determined than the men.
"Things didn't exactly go as planned last time we were in this position [in 2013], so everyone is extra motivated,” she told Cannizzaro.
Aside from the prestigious team event, the tournament also will award medals in singles, doubles, trios, all-events and Masters. The first three events on that list will feature six-game qualifying blocks followed by a semifinal round comprising the top four and a championship match between the two semifinal winners. All-events winners will be determined based on players’ cumulative total across 24 games of qualifying through the singles, doubles, trios and team events.
The top 24 all-events finishers qualify to bowl the Masters portion of the event, with the top eight players earning a bye to the second round. Players nine through 24 then bowl head-to-head, best-of-three matches in a format pitting 24 vs. 9, 23 vs. 10, and so on, with all winners advancing to the second round.
The top eight players then enter the field and the top four players emerge after another round of best-of-three matches in which top seeds again are pitted against the lowest seeds remaining in the field. The semifinal and final rounds feature single-game elimination matches that will determine the players’ position on the medal stand.
For more on the World Championships, visit http://2017wc.worldbowling.org.