PBA Barbasol Tournament of Champions Begins Wednesday in Indy

by Bob Johnson 0

Could there be a Cinderella story in the making this week in Indianapolis?

Indy area native Ronnie Russell waited until the last possible event, but ended a 10-year quest to win his first PBA Tour title Sunday in Munich, Germany, and now is preparing to bowl in the PBA’s signature event — the Barbasol Tournament of Champions — for the first time.

Russell’s 224-210 victory over Sweden’s James Gruffman in the championship match of the Brunswick Euro Challenge qualified him for the exclusive field of 48 PBA Tour champions and five past TOC winners who will begin competition in the 2013 Tournament of Champions today at Woodland Bowl on Indianapolis’ north side.

While Woodland has hosted almost every PBA Tour major championship over the years, it is hosting the TOC for the first time.

The only previous time that the Tournament of Champions was held in Indianapolis was in 1962 — the first-ever TOC. That tournament, won by the late PBA Hall of Famer Joe Joseph, was held at Play Bowl, a center that no longer exists.

The 2013 TOC begins with eight-round qualifying squads for all players this morning and this evening. After a third eight-game qualifying round Thursday morning, the top 24 players, based on 24-game totals, will advance to round-robin match play.

Match play rounds will be held Thursday evening, as well as Friday morning and evening.

After a total of 48 games, the top five players will advance to Sunday’s live ESPN stepladder finals, beginning at 2:30 p.m. Eastern.

At stake is a $50,000 first-place prize and the PBA’s third major championship of the 2012-13 season.

As part of Tournament of Champions week, the PBA will host its Hall of Fame induction ceremonies Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Indianapolis Marriott North, where Doug Kent and Danny Wiseman will join the ranks of the PBA’s all-time greatest players.

All qualifying and match play rounds of the Tournament of Champions — as well as the PBA Hall of Fame induction ceremonies — will be covered live, exclusively on PBA’s online bowling channel, Xtra Frame. For subscription information, visit pba.com.

Following Sunday’s live TOC finals, the PBA will conduct its inaugural PBA League Elias Cup finals at 6 p.m. The four teams that earned the most points during a five-round qualifying series in Detroit in January — the New York City WTT KingPins, led by franchise player Pete Weber and owned by Billie Jean King; the Motown Muscle, led by Mike Fagan and owned by Jerome Bettis; the Brooklyn Styles, led by Sean Rash and owned by Jesse Williams; and the Dallas Strikers, led by Norm Duke and owned by Terrell Owens — will bowl for the first Elias Cup title and a team prize of $76,000.

The Elias Cup finals will air on ESPN on Sunday, April 7, at 1 p.m. Eastern.

BJI’s Lyle Zikes and Dennis Bergendorf are in Indianapolis to cover all the action, and their on-the-scene, behind-the-scenes feature stories will appear in the May issue of Bowlers Journal International.


(Top 48 in order of eligibility, based upon most current title, plus past TOC champions who have accepted invitations to participate, as of March 17)

1. Ronnie Russell, Indianapolis, Brunswick Euro Challenge

2. Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 2013 Kuwait Open

3. Jason Belmonte, Australia, 2013 USBC Masters

4. Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif., 2013 Earl Anthony PBA Players Championship

5. Jason Sterner, McDonough, Ga., 2013 Don Carter Classic

6. Michael Haugen Jr., Carefree, Ariz., 2013 Mark Roth Classic

7. Andres Gomez, Colombia, 2013 Carmen Salvino Classic

8. Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 2013 International Bowling Championship 2013 supported by DHC

9. Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 2013 Qatar Open

10. Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 2012 PBA World Championship

11. Tom Daugherty, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 2012 Bowlers Journal Scorpion Championship

12. Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 2012 Alka Seltzer Plus Cold Cheetah Championship

13. Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 2012 Vienna Open

14. Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 2012 XF PBA Dick Weber Playoffs

15. Mike Fagan, Dallas, 2012 Brunswick Euro Challenge

16. Osku Palermaa, Finland, 2012 Kuwait Open

17. Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 2012 U.S. Open

18. Scott Newell, Daytona Beach, Fla., 2012 XF Ricart Ford Open

19. Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 2012 PBA XF Cheetah Open

20. Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 2011 Mark Roth-Marshall Holman PBA Doubles

21. Dom Barrett, England, 2011 Scorpion Open

22. Stuart Williams, England, 2011 Bayer Viper Open

23. Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 2011 Dick Weber PBA Playoffs

24. Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 2011 Bayer USBC Masters

25. Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 2011 One A Day Earl Anthony Memorial Classic

26. Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, 2010 Go RVing Match Play Championship

27. Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 2010 Etonic Don Johnson Eliminator

28. Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 2010 USBC Masters

29. Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 2010 PBA Tournament of Champions

30. Anthony LaCaze, Melrose Park, Ill., 2010 Earl Anthony Memorial Classic

31. Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 2009 PBA World Championship

32. Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., 2009 Shark Championship

33. Mike DeVaney, San Diego, 2009 Scorpion Championship

34. Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla., 2009 Viper Championship

35. Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 2009 Dydo Japan Cup

36. Michael Machuga, Erie, Pa., 2008 Chameleon Championship

37. Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 2008 Ultimate Scoring Championship

38. Danny Wiseman, Baltimore, 2008 PBA Exempt Doubles Classic

39. Steve Jaros, Yorkville, Ill., 2005 PBA Dexter Tournament of Champions

40. Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 2005 Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Open

41. Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 2003 Empire State Open

42. Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 2003 Odor-Eaters Open

43. Bryon Smith, Roseburg, Ore., 2003 ABC Masters

44. Kurt Pilon, Warren, Mich., 2001 Peoria Open

45. Dave Wodka, Henderson, Nev., 1999 Greater Detroit Open

46. Chris Warren, Grants Pass, Ore., 1992 Florida Open

47. Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla., 2011 Plastic Ball Championship

48. Doug Kent, Newark, N.Y., 2007 Denny's World Championship

49. George Branham III, Indianapolis, 1993 Firestone Tournament of Champions

50. Bryan Goebel, Shawnee, Kan., 1998 Brunswick World Tournament of Champions

51. Johnny Petraglia, Jackson, N.J., 1971 Firestone Tournament of Champions

52. Wayne Webb, Columbus, Ohio, 1980 Firestone Tournament of Champions

53. Mark Williams, Beaumont, Texas, 1988 Firestone Tournament of Champions


Tuesday, March 26

• 1-3 p.m. — Official practice session

Wednesday, March 27

• 10 a.m. — 8 qualifying games, all players

• 5 p.m. — 8 qualifying games, all players

Thursday, March 28

• 10 a.m. – 8 qualifying games, all players

(Field cut to the top 24 players for round robin match play)

• 5 p.m. — Top 24, 8 games round robin match play

Friday, March 29

• 10 a.m. — Top 24, 8 games round robin match play

• 5 p.m. – Top 24, 8 games round robin match play

(Field cut to top 5 for ESPN-televised stepladder finals)

Saturday, March 30

• 9:30 a.m., 12 noon and 2:30 p.m. — Pro-am Squads

• 7 p.m. — PBA Hall of Fame induction ceremonies and dinner

Sunday, March 31

• 3 p.m. — ESPN five-player stepladder finals (live)

• 6 p.m. — PBA League Elias Cup finals (taped)

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.

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