The 2021 PBA Tour season, the 62nd season of play for the U.S. Professional Bowlers Association's ten-pin bowling tour, began on January 14 with the Regional Portions of the PBA Players Championship. The season has included 14 singles title events and two doubles title events.
|2021 PBA Tour season|
|League||Professional Bowlers Association|
|Duration||January 14 – August 22|
The 2021 season has featured three televised perfect 300 games, the 30th, 31st and 32nd in PBA Tour history. The first was accomplished by Chris Via (February 7, PBA Players Championship East Region finals) and the second by Sam Cooley (May 16, PBA Tour Playoffs). Via then rolled his second 300 game of the season on June 27 at the PBA Tour Finals, joining Sean Rash and François Lavoie as the only players in history with two televised 300 games in PBA Tour title events.
This season has also seen the fourth-ever 7–10 split conversion in a televised PBA Tour event (and first since 1991), accomplished by 18-year old rookie Anthony Neuer in the semifinal match of the U.S. Open.
The PBA announced it would open the 2021 season with a revamped and expanded PBA Players Championship that opens up the event to a broader portion of the PBA membership. Five Regional events (West, Southwest, Central, South and East) were hosted first. After 28 qualifying games (7 games on each of four different oil patterns), each Region held its own stepladder finals broadcast on FS1. The five Regional winners then competed in the tournament finals held in Jupiter, Florida on February 21, which was broadcast live on Fox. The Regional concept was introduced, in part, due to travel restrictions that have resulted from the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, and will allow most PBA professionals to compete in safe events closer to home. In addition, the 2021 PBA Players Championship featured a $1 million prize fund, with a PBA record-tying $250,000 first place prize.
The PBA Tournament of Champions took place February 23–28, also in Jupiter, Florida (following the conclusion of the PBA Players Championship finals in the same location). The PBA then moved to Tampa, Florida for World Series of Bowling (WSOB) XII. WSOB XII featured three animal oil pattern title events (Cheetah, Chameleon, Scorpion), with these three tournaments serving as initial qualifying for the PBA World Championship major. WSOB XII also included the PBA Roth-Holman Doubles Championship. The PBA World Championship finals aired on Saturday afternoon, March 13 on Fox, kicking off five consecutive days of broadcasts. The Roth-Holman Doubles, Cheetah Championship, Chameleon Championship and Scorpion Championship aired March 14–17 on FS1.
The U.S. Open was originally scheduled to take place in Green Bay, Wisconsin while the USBC Masters was to be held in Las Vegas, Nevada. In December 2020, the USBC announced the two events would be held in back-to-back weeks (March 30 through April 11). Both tournaments were held in Reno, Nevada due to COVID-19 continuing to impact USBC operations.
Following the U.S. Open was the PBA Super Slam on April 18, which saw the five PBA major winners vying for a $100,000 first prize. The third annual PBA Tour Playoffs ran from April 24 through May 16. Previous events featured the top 24 players in points through the first 13 events of the season, but due to only nine events being scheduled before the 2021 Playoffs, this season's tournament started with the top 16 players only.
On April 29, the PBA announced the return of the King of the Lanes event, to be held this season on June 19 & 20 in Portland, Maine. The "last man standing" format will have reigning king Kris Prather returning, with a mix of veteran and current players looking to gain the throne over the five rounds. The challengers include: Chris Barnes, AJ Johnson, Jesper Svensson, Parker Bohn III, Chris Via, Anthony Neuer, Tim Mack, Jason Sterner, Tom Daugherty and François Lavoie. The PBA member event will be preceded by an all-women's event, the PBA King of the Lanes: Empress Edition, on June 15 & 16. (In the 2020 PBA King of the Lanes, two females – Clara Guerrero and Gazmine Mason – participated against an otherwise all-male field.) This marked the first PBA event to have a live audience since February, 2020.
In May, the PBA finalized scheduling for five Summer Tour events, beginning with the Lubbock Sports Open on July 23–25 and concluding with the Chesapeake Open on August 20–22. All events awarded a PBA title, Tier 3 Tour points and a minimum $10,000 winner's share, with a $40,000 bonus pool up for grabs based on combined points over the five stops. The top points earner (Darren Tang) won a $20,000 bonus, with smaller amounts awarded to the second through tenth place finishers.
The events for the 2021 PBA tournament schedule are shown below. Major tournaments are in bold. Career PBA title numbers for winners are shown in parenthesis (#). Winner's share prize money is shown in US dollars ($), except where indicated.
Tour points are awarded for most events. Besides the season-ending Harry Smith PBA Points Winner award, points are one consideration for Player of the Year voting, and also affect eligibility for the PBA Tour Playoffs and PBA Tour Finals (combined with 2020 points). Points for tournaments are awarded differently based on a "tier" system. The tier of each qualifying tournament is shown in the Notes column on the tournament schedule, and is explained below.
- Tier 3: PBA short format or limited field tournaments (2500 points for first, and descending thereafter)
- Tier 2: PBA standard tournaments with a fully open field (double the points of Tier 3 events)
- Tier 1: PBA major tournaments (triple the points of Tier 3 events)
|Event||Airdate||City||Preliminary rounds||Final round||Oil pattern||Winner||Notes|
|PBA Players Championship||West Region Finals: Jan 24 FS1 (220,000 viewers)
Southwest Region Finals: Jan 31 FS1 (287,000 viewers)
Central Region Finals: Feb 6 FS1 (209,000 viewers)
East Region Finals: Feb 7 FS1 (208,000 viewers)
South Region Finals: Feb 14 FS1 (328,000 viewers)
Championship Finals: Feb 21 Fox
|Phoenix, AZ; Garland, TX; Milwaukee, WI; Richmond, VA; Tampa, FL; Jupiter, FL||Jan 14–17 (all regions)||Live||Qualifying: Viper 36, Bear 41, Chameleon 39, Shark 48
Regional & tournament finals: Don Carter 39
|Kyle Troup, USA (7)||Open PBA members-only event (Tier 1). PBA major. Five Regional winners (Anthony Simonsen, François Lavoie, Tom Smallwood, Kyle Troup, Dick Allen) compete on February 21 for a $250,000 top prize.|
|Kia PBA Tournament of Champions||Feb 28 Fox (865,000 viewers)||Jupiter, FL||Feb 23–26
(PTQ: Feb 22)
|Live||Don Johnson 40||François Lavoie, Canada (5)||Invitational event (Tier 1), limited to 64 PBA titlists. PBA major. PBA Tour champions fill up to 58 entries. PBA players with Regional titles only bowl in the PTQ to fill a minimum of 6 entries. $100,000 top prize.|
|PBA Guaranteed Rate World Championship||Mar 13 Fox (456,000 viewers)||Tampa, FL||Mar 7–11||Live||Qualifying: Cheetah 33, Chameleon 39, Scorpion 42
Cashers round thru finals: Earl Anthony 43
|Tom Daugherty, USA (3)||Open event for WSOB XII participants (Tier 1). PBA major. Top 30 players based on combined Cheetah, Chameleon and Scorpion qualifying pinfall advance to cashers round. $100,000 top prize.|
|PBA WSOB XII Roth-Holman Doubles Championship||Mar 14 FS1 (254,000 viewers)||Tampa, FL||Mar 7–9, 12||Live||Qualifying: Cheetah 33, Chameleon 39, Scorpion 42
Match Play & Finals: Mark Roth 42 (left lane)
Marshall Holman 37 (right lane)
|Andrew Anderson, USA (3) & Kris Prather, USA (4)||Open event-limited field (Tier 3). Top 16 teams based on combined Cheetah, Chameleon and Scorpion qualifying pinfall advance to match play on March 12. $30,000 top prize.|
|PBA WSOB XII Cheetah Championship||Mar 15 FS1||Tampa, FL||Mar 7, 15||Live||Cheetah 33||Sam Cooley, Australia (1)||Open event-short format (Tier 3). $30,000 top prize.|
|PBA WSOB XII Chameleon Championship||Mar 16 FS1||Tampa, FL||Mar 8, 16||Live||Chameleon 39||Shawn Maldonado, USA (1)||Open event-short format (Tier 3). $30,000 top prize.|
|PBA WSOB XII Scorpion Championship||Mar 17 FS1||Tampa, FL||Mar 9, 17||Live||Scorpion 42||Tom Daugherty, USA (4)||Open event-short format (Tier 3). $30,000 top prize.|
|USBC Masters||Apr 4 FS1 (249,000 viewers)||Reno, NV||Mar 30–Apr 3||Live||USBC custom (40 ft.)||Thomas Larsen, Denmark (3)||Open event (Tier 1). PBA major. $30,000 top prize.|
|77th U.S. Open||Apr 11 FS1 (465,000 viewers)||Reno, NV||Apr 6–10 (PTQ: Apr 4)||Live||U.S. Open (4 custom patterns)||Chris Via, USA (1)||Open event (Tier 1). PBA major. $30,000 top prize.|
|Guaranteed Rate PBA Super Slam||Apr 18 Fox (593,000 viewers)||Annandale, VA||N/A||Live||Mike Aulby 39||François Lavoie, Canada||Non-title event for winners of all 2021 majors. $100,000 top prize.|
|Kia PBA Tour Playoffs||Round of 16: Apr 24–25 FS1 (227,000 viewers/224,000 viewers)
May 1 FS1 (viewers–NA) & May 2 FS1 (406,000 viewers)
Quarterfinals: May 9 FS1 (345,000 viewers) & May 10 FS1 (187,000 viewers)
Semifinals: May 15 FS1
Finals: May 16 Fox
|Milford, CT||Live||Live||Carmen Salvino 44||Kyle Troup, USA (8)||Invitational title event. Starting field includes top 16 players in 2021 season points through the U.S. Open. $100,000 top prize.|
|PBA King of the Lanes||Jun 19–20 FS1||Portland, ME||Live||Live||Mark Roth 42||Final King: Jason Sterner
Top Casher: Parker Bohn III ($25,000)
|Non-title invitational event. Defending King: Kris Prather. Each round pays $10,000 to the King match winner, $5,000 for second, $3,000 for third.|
|PBA Tour Finals||Jun 26–27 CBS Sports||Allen Park, MI||Live||Live||Marshall Holman 38 & Johnny Petraglia 46||Anthony Simonsen, USA (8)||Invitational title event. Starting field includes Top 8 players in Tour points since start of 2020 season. $30,000 top prize.|
|PBA Strike Derby||Jul 11 FS1||Portland, ME||N/A||Jun 18||Mark Roth 42||Andrew Anderson, USA||Non-title invitational event. 12 player starting field. $25,000 top prize.|
|PBA Lubbock Sports Open||Jul 25 FloBowling||Lubbock, TX||Jul 23–24||Live||Carmen Salvino 44||Shawn Maldonado, USA (2)||Open event. Tier 3-short format. $15,000 top prize.|
|PBA-PWBA Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles (a.k.a. The Luci)||Aug 1 FloBowling||Houston, TX||Jul 29–31||Live||Custom Kegel design||E. J. Tackett, USA (14) & Danielle McEwan, USA||Open PBA and PWBA title event. Tier 3-limited field. $20,000 top prize.|
|PBA FloBowling Jonesboro Open||Aug 8 FloBowling||Jonesboro, AR||Aug 6–7||Live||Marshall Holman 38||Matt Russo, USA (1)||Open event. Tier 3-short format. $10,000 top prize.|
|PBA FloBowling Bowlerstore.com Classic||Aug 15 FloBowling||Coldwater, OH||Aug 13–14||Live||Bear 41||Darren Tang, USA (1)||Open event. Tier 3-short format. $10,000 top prize.|
|PBA FloBowling Chesapeake Open||Aug 22 FloBowling||Chesapeake, VA||Aug 20–21||Live||Wolf 32||Sean Rash, USA (17)||Open event. Tier 3-short format. $10,000 top prize.|
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