Wes Malott is One Game Away From World Championship Title

by Gianmarc Manzione 0

PBA: Tournament of ChampionsAfter earning top qualifier honors for the season-ending Professional Bowlers Association World Championship, Wes Malott is one game away from winning his 10th career PBA Tour title, his second PBA major and eligibility for the PBA Hall of Fame someday in his future.

The 38-year-old Malott paced the240-player field in October’s GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VI at South Point Bowling Center, averaging 229 over 52 games of qualifying and match play, conducted on five different lane conditions, to earn the top qualifying spot by 118 pins over Mike Fagan of Fort Worth, Texas.

“My mindset was to not let the pressure off,” Malott said. “I wanted to approach it like I was battling to make the finals rather than leading going into them. In a long format like we had for the World Championship things can change quickly.”

The nine-time Tour winner will wait as fellow finalists Fagan, Ronnie Russell, Stuart Williams and Todd Book do battle in the preliminary stepladder matches at South Point’s new 60-lane Bowling Plaza. The live ESPN stepladder finals will begin on Sunday, Jan. 11 at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT).

The finals will mark the second time Malott has experienced a World Championship in which there has been a break between the preliminary rounds of the tournament and the TV finals. In the 2009 World Championship, Malott also was top qualifier in August at Thunderbowl Lanes in suburban Detroit, but finished second to Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Michigan, losing in the championship match, 244-228, in December in Wichita, Kansas.

“Some people have said that it could be a disadvantage to have a two-month layoff and then bowl one game for the title, but I don’t look at it that way,” Malott said. “Obviously in the last World Championship, it wasn’t the outcome I wanted. But bowling on a live show there will be a lot more energy for me to feed off. I look forward to using that to my advantage. Plus, after bowling all week at the World Series under very difficult conditions, I was kind of looking forward to a break.”

Now fully recovered after undergoing knee surgery in 2013, Malott made a successful return from rehab by winning the 2013 U.S. Open title in Columbus, Ohio, for his first major title.

“Everything has been going pretty well,” Malott said of his recovery. “Don’t get me wrong; there have been a few setbacks along the way, but nothing overly serious. Any setbacks I’ve had I’ve recovered from pretty quickly.”

If Malott wins the World Championship, his 10th PBA Tour title will qualify him for PBA Hall of Fame consideration after his 20th year of PBA membership (2015 will be his 14th year of PBA competition).

“Ten titles? Yeah, maybe it’s in the back of my mind, but it’s not a big thing at this point,” Malott said. “It’s not like I’m going for the most PBA titles or anything. If my career ended today, I’d be very happy. I’m very grateful and fortunate to be where I’m at, and I’m still living the dream.”

During the World Championship match play rounds, Fagan chased Malott throughout the 24-game marathon, but could never quite catch up. Russell, who qualified for his third WSOB VI television final, finished 16 pins behind Fagan. Book will make his second television appearance in eight years as a mostly part-time touring player and will try for his first title. Williams made a dramatic surge in match play, jumping from seventh to fifth in the position round match to capture the final stepladder berth. The English player is trying for his second PBA Tour title.

As the third and final major of the season the World Championship (formerly called the PBA National Championship from 1960-2001) the tournament has distinguished itself as one of the premier showcases for the world’s best bowling talent. The late PBA Hall of Famer Earl Anthony holds the record for most World Championship wins with six.

For Malott video highlights click on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uB-Yy7UsaVw

PBA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS
South Point Bowling Plaza, Las Vegas, Nev., Sunday, Jan. 11 (live on ESPN, 1 p.m. ET)

FAST FACTS ABOUT WES MALOTT
1. My all-time favorite movie?
Green Mile
2. Favorite food or meal? Being from Texas it would be BBQ
3. My all-time favorite TV show? Sports or DIY shows
4. Favorite musical group? Garth Brooks
5. Most memorable bowling moment? Winning my second title the week my oldest son was in hospital all week. All he wanted was to see his father bowl, so I had to make the show. I topped it off by winning.
6. Most coveted bowling accomplishment? Winning the 2013 U.S. Open for my first major
7.  What is your favorite thing to do or place to go on vacation? I hope we get to go to Hawaii one day
8. Hobbies/interests other than bowling? Anything sports related but especially baseball
9. College degrees or other certifications? No college degree, but I can't stress enough how important having a college degree is
10.  What is your favorite sports team? Texas Longhorns
11. My all-time sports/bowling hero? Tiger Woods
12.  My most cherished accomplishment outside of bowling? Helping my oldest son Jordan's baseball team develop and not only become better players but better in life
13. The No. 1 item on my bowling “bucket list”? I have checked a lot off and am very fortunate but now it has to be getting that 10th title to be eligible for the PBA Hall of Fame
14. The No. 1 item on my personal (non-bowling) “bucket list”? Eventually one day to have my own bowling center and continue to help bowlers of all ages get better at the sport that has been so good to me
15. Are you accomplished in any other sports? Good at a lot of sports but not great at any other than bowling

After earning top qualifier honors for the season-ending Professional Bowlers Association World Championship, Wes Malott is one game away from winning his 10th career PBA Tour title, his second PBA major and eligibility for the PBA Hall of Fame someday in his future.

The 38-year-old Malott paced the240-player field in October’s GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VI at South Point Bowling Center, averaging 229 over 52 games of qualifying and match play, conducted on five different lane conditions, to earn the top qualifying spot by 118 pins over Mike Fagan of Fort Worth, Texas.

“My mindset was to not let the pressure off,” Malott said. “I wanted to approach it like I was battling to make the finals rather than leading going into them. In a long format like we had for the World Championship things can change quickly.”

The nine-time Tour winner will wait as fellow finalists Fagan, Ronnie Russell, Stuart Williams and Todd Book do battle in the preliminary stepladder matches at South Point’s new 60-lane Bowling Plaza. The live ESPN stepladder finals will begin on Sunday, Jan. 11 at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT).

The finals will mark the second time Malott has experienced a World Championship in which there has been a break between the preliminary rounds of the tournament and the TV finals. In the 2009 World Championship, Malott also was top qualifier in August at Thunderbowl Lanes in suburban Detroit, but finished second to Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Michigan, losing in the championship match, 244-228, in December in Wichita, Kansas.

“Some people have said that it could be a disadvantage to have a two-month layoff and then bowl one game for the title, but I don’t look at it that way,” Malott said. “Obviously in the last World Championship, it wasn’t the outcome I wanted. But bowling on a live show there will be a lot more energy for me to feed off. I look forward to using that to my advantage. Plus, after bowling all week at the World Series under very difficult conditions, I was kind of looking forward to a break.”

Now fully recovered after undergoing knee surgery in 2013, Malott made a successful return from rehab by winning the 2013 U.S. Open title in Columbus, Ohio, for his first major title.

“Everything has been going pretty well,” Malott said of his recovery. “Don’t get me wrong; there have been a few setbacks along the way, but nothing overly serious. Any setbacks I’ve had I’ve recovered from pretty quickly.”

If Malott wins the World Championship, his 10th PBA Tour title will qualify him for PBA Hall of Fame consideration after his 20th year of PBA membership (2015 will be his 14th year of PBA competition).

“Ten titles? Yeah, maybe it’s in the back of my mind, but it’s not a big thing at this point,” Malott said. “It’s not like I’m going for the most PBA titles or anything. If my career ended today, I’d be very happy. I’m very grateful and fortunate to be where I’m at, and I’m still living the dream.”

During the World Championship match play rounds, Fagan chased Malott throughout the 24-game marathon, but could never quite catch up. Russell, who qualified for his third WSOB VI television final, finished 16 pins behind Fagan. Book will make his second television appearance in eight years as a mostly part-time touring player and will try for his first title. Williams made a dramatic surge in match play, jumping from seventh to fifth in the position round match to capture the final stepladder berth. The English player is trying for his second PBA Tour title.

As the third and final major of the season the World Championship (formerly called the PBA National Championship from 1960-2001) the tournament has distinguished itself as one of the premier showcases for the world’s best bowling talent. The late PBA Hall of Famer Earl Anthony holds the record for most World Championship wins with six.

For Malott video highlights click on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uB-Yy7UsaVw

PBA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS
South Point Bowling Plaza, Las Vegas, Nev., Sunday, Jan. 11 (live on ESPN, 1 p.m. ET)

FAST FACTS ABOUT WES MALOTT
1. My all-time favorite movie?
Green Mile
2. Favorite food or meal? Being from Texas it would be BBQ
3. My all-time favorite TV show? Sports or DIY shows
4. Favorite musical group? Garth Brooks
5. Most memorable bowling moment? Winning my second title the week my oldest son was in hospital all week. All he wanted was to see his father bowl, so I had to make the show. I topped it off by winning.
6. Most coveted bowling accomplishment? Winning the 2013 U.S. Open for my first major
7.  What is your favorite thing to do or place to go on vacation? I hope we get to go to Hawaii one day
8. Hobbies/interests other than bowling? Anything sports related but especially baseball
9. College degrees or other certifications? No college degree, but I can't stress enough how important having a college degree is
10.  What is your favorite sports team? Texas Longhorns
11. My all-time sports/bowling hero? Tiger Woods
12.  My most cherished accomplishment outside of bowling? Helping my oldest son Jordan's baseball team develop and not only become better players but better in life
13. The No. 1 item on my bowling “bucket list”? I have checked a lot off and am very fortunate but now it has to be getting that 10th title to be eligible for the PBA Hall of Fame
14. The No. 1 item on my personal (non-bowling) “bucket list”? Eventually one day to have my own bowling center and continue to help bowlers of all ages get better at the sport that has been so good to me
15. Are you accomplished in any other sports? Good at a lot of sports but not great at any other than bowling

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