ARLINGTON, Texas - With COVID-19 still impacting event operations, the United States Bowling Congress has decided to adjust the competition locations for the 2021 USBC Masters and U.S. Open.
The two events, both considered majors on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour, now will be held in consecutive weeks at the 78-lane National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada, allowing competitors planning to bowl in both tournaments to make just one trip, rather than journey to two destinations at different times.
The Masters will be held first, taking place on its original dates from March 29-April 4, now with room for an additional 55 competitors. The field had been limited to 245 entries, but the move to the NBS allows for a capacity of 300 entries.
The U.S. Open will follow, with the 108-competitor field taking to the iconic lanes April 4-11.
Qualifying and match play for both tournaments will be livestreamed on BowlTV, before the action shifts to Fox Sports' FS1 as part of the PBA Tour television schedule. The live TV finals of each event will air from 2-4 p.m. Eastern on April 4 and April 11, respectively.
Prior to the move, the U.S. Open was scheduled to be held at The Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley in Green Bay, Wisconsin, from Feb. 21-28, and the Masters was slated to return to the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
"We are committed to running these events in 2021," USBC Executive Director Chad Murphy said. "By moving the tournaments to Reno and back in the calendar, we are better positioned to receive approval from health officials to conduct the events, while also adding additional lanes for more competitors."
The Masters traditionally attracts hundreds of bowlers from all over the world and has sold out for the last seven years. The 2019 event at the Gold Coast Bowling Center, won by left-hander Jakob Butturff, featured 450 competitors.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions and best-practice recommendations, however, the Masters field in 2021 initially had to be limited. The event sold out in just a few days, and the waiting list quickly grew to more than 150 eager competitors. USBC will continue to monitor the restrictions and social-distancing recommendations in Nevada and expand the field again, if appropriate.
Masters bowlers will join Butturff on the lanes at the NBS for 15 games of qualifying, before the top 63, plus Butturff, advance to the double-elimination match-play portion of the event.
The 2021 U.S. Open will be a collaborative effort between USBC and the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America, featuring a limited field of the world's best bowlers, most of whom earned their spots in the event based on their recent on-lane performances. The list includes leaders on the PBA Tour points list and top performers at USBC events and PBA majors.
The U.S. Open format features qualifying across multiple oil patterns and round-robin match play, before the top five competitors advance to the TV stepladder, based on their 56-game pinfall totals.
Bowlers who did not receive invitations to compete in the 2021 event can earn spots through an on-site pre-tournament qualifier, which will take place April 4.
The 2020 U.S. Open was held in Lincoln, Nebraska, in February and won by Australia's Jason Belmonte for the 12th of his record 13 major titles.
For more information about the U.S. Open and USBC Masters, visit BOWL.com/Tournaments.