POY goes down to 1 game

by Bob Johnson 0

No matter what happens in the first three matches in the stepladder finals of the PBA's Lumber Liquidators Marathon Open tomorrow on ESPN, the Player of the Year race for the 2009-10 season will be decided in the championship match.

And just for a little historic spice, two famous bowlers named Weber could play roles in the outcome.

The first Weber: Today's final seven-game block before the cut to the top five was rolled on the Dick Weber pattern. During the round, Mike Scroggins vaulted into first place and will be the top seed tomorrow. If he wins, he will gain enough points to be named Player of the Year. If he loses, Walter Ray Williams Jr. -- who missed the cut by 33 pins and finished sixth -- will garner that honor.

The second Weber: Seeded second for the finals is Williams' greatest rival on the tour, Pete Weber. In major championships through the years, Williams has owned PDW. Now, Weber is in a position to help Williams add to his legend with another Player of the Year award.

To advance to the championship match, Weber would have to get past Chris Barnes, Brad Angelo or Wes Malott. Angelo will meet Malott in the opening match Sunday, with the winner advancing to take on Barnes. The winner of that match then will move on to meet Weber.

Had Williams survived the TV cut, he could have determined his own fate by winning enough matches to guarantee a second-place finish. If Scroggins were to win the tournament and Williams were to finish second, Williams would still have more Player of the Year points than Scroggins.

Instead, Williams will be on the outside looking in, depending on whichever bowler advances to the championship match to defeat Scroggins.

To read about the various Player of the Year scenarios entering the Marathon Open, see the Pro Bowling section. For a look at the 53-game standings, visit pba.com.

And whatever you do, don't miss Sunday's telecast on ESPN, when the Player of the Year race will be decided in a single game. The telecast is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Eastern.

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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