Del Ballard Jr., a 13-time titlist and PBA Hall of Fame member, is back on the PBA Tour.
Only this time, he's not bowling. He has been contracted by Ebonite International to represent the company's four bowling ball brands — Ebonite, Hammer, Columbia 300 and Track — during the final four tournaments of the tour's 2009-10 season.
Ballard has been in Columbus, Ohio, this week for the Etonic Don Johnson Eliminator. From there, he'll move on to Norwich, Conn., for the Go RVing Match Play Championship; West Babylon, N.Y., for the GEICO Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship; and Baltimore for the Lumber Liquidators Marathon Open.
Ballard was one of the United States Bowling Congress employees who was laid off recently as a result of USBC's budget crunch.
On tour, he'll serve in a number of roles for Ebonite's staff players: coach, mentor, psychologist, company representative and salesman. When wearing the latter hat, he encourages players who are not signed to a ball company contract to give Ebonite-manufactured equipment a try.
It's not the first time that Ballard has hit the road for Ebonite. He was the company tour rep from 1998 to 2001.