BY BOB JOHNSON, EDITOR
“In today’s sports world, an organization such as the PBA must use outside-the-box thinking just to be noticed,” said PBA executive Clark Thomas, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “In order to gain media attention and attract new corporate sponsors, we are making changes to a number of our policies and tournaments.”
Among the changes outlined by Thomas — again, speaking on the condition of anonymity:
* The Professional Bowlers Assn. henceforth will be open only to amateur bowlers. “The megabuck tournaments have had great success with this restriction, so we thought we’d give it a try for the 2010-11 season,” Thomas said.
* The PBA Tournament of Champions will be open to all PBA members. “This should greatly increase participation,” Thomas theorized.
* The Cheetah Championship will be conducted on the Viper lane pattern. “Everyone will be expecting the Cheetah Championship to use the Cheetah pattern,” Thomas said. “There’s nothing surprising or newsworthy about that. But to use the Viper pattern — in a word, that’s innovative.”
* The Motor City Open will be conducted in Cleveland. “We understand this will cause some confusion,” Thomas admitted, “so for the bowlers who show up in Detroit, we have planned a special Xtra Frame satellite tournament.”
* The Red, White and Blue Open will be held in Green Bay, and will be co-sponsored by Red Bull energy drinks, White Hen convenience stores and the Blue Cross-Blue Shield health insurance company. Noted Thomas: “There’s a possibility that we will change the name of the tournament to the Red, White, Blue and Blue Open, pending finalization of the sponsorship contracts. In any case, by moving the tournament to Green Bay, it promises to be a colorful event.”
* The PBA World Championship will be renamed the PBA Universal Championship, and will be sponsored by Universal Studios. Stars of top Universal Studios movies and television programs are expected to compete in the accompanying Pro-Am, including the star of “Green Zone,” Matt Damon. “We are also trying to get actors from ‘Green Zone’ to participate in the Red, White, Blue and Blue Open’s Pro-Am,” Thomas said. “If we’re successful in that regard, we will re-name that tournament the Red, White, Blue, Blue and Green Open.”
* The Marathon Open will consist of just one game, with the final standings based on each player’s one-game total. “We should be able to complete the tournament in about 20 minutes,” said Thomas, “which means we’ll save a lot on production and travel costs, and bowlers will save wear and tear on their bodies.”
* The Japan Cup, held in Tokyo or Yokohama since its inception, will move to Poughkeepsee. “We have to be mindful of our budget, and this is another move that will save the PBA thousands of dollars,” Thomas concluded.