U.S. Open (bowling)
The U.S. Open is one of the five major tournaments in the Professional Bowlers Association. Despite its status as a PBA Tour major, the tournament is open to qualifying amateurs as well as PBA members. The U.S. Open is considered one of the most difficult tournaments to bowl in today, due to its long format (56 games from opening qualifying through the match play rounds; 64 games if a player from the pre-tournament qualifier makes it through) and demanding oil pattern, which differs from most oil patterns the PBA employs.
With the exception of 1997 and 2014, the U.S. Open has been held in some form every year since 1942. Prior to 1971, this event was known as the BPAA All-Star. Andy Varipapa is notable for winning back-to-back BPAA All-Star titles in 1947 and 1948, the second coming at age 57, which makes him this tournament's oldest winner. BPAA All-Star winners in the PBA era (1959–1970) were initially not credited with PBA titles for their victories. A rule change in 2008, however, retroactively awarded titles to the winners if they were PBA members at the time of their victories. Because the 1959 BPAA All-Star occurred before the PBA's debut, Harry Smith (1960) is considered the first PBA titlist in a BPAA All-Star event.
The first modern-day U.S. Open tournament in the PBA took place in 1971 and was won by Mike Limongello. With five wins, Pete Weber holds the most U.S. Open trophies of all time, one more than his father, Dick Weber, and Don Carter. Pete Weber is also the only player to win a U.S. Open title in four different decades (1988, 1991, 2004, 2007 and 2012). The last player to successfully defend a U.S. Open title was Dave Husted, who won the event in 1995 and 1996.
Unable to find viable sponsorship, the U.S. Open was canceled for 2014, amid speculation that the tournament may not return at all. However, the USBC and BPAA later reached a three-year agreement that brought the tournament back for 2015, 2016 and 2017. The USBC and BPAA secured Bowlmor AMF, at the time the largest operator of bowling centers in the world, as the title sponsor for 2015. The 2015 tournament took place November 2–8 in Garland, Texas.
Beginning in 2017 with the U.S. Open held at Flamingo Bowl in Liverpool, New York, the tournament instituted a partial invitational field for the first time. Among those invited are top money leaders among PBA members, top performers from a variety of USBC events, members of Team USA and Junior Team USA, winners of the past ten U.S. Opens, the last three winners from each of the PBA's other major championships, and winners of the current year PBA Regional Tour U.S. Open qualifier tournaments. The "open" portion of the tournament is actually a pre-tournament qualifier (PTQ) with a maximum of 80 entries. Top finishers from the eight-game PTQ then join all those who accepted invitations to round out the starting field of 144 players. The 2018 event had 116 invitational entries and only 28 open spots available via the PTQ. In 2019, only 91 invitees entered the tournament, so 53 open spots were filled from the PTQ.
In 2020, the starting field is only 108 players. After the starting field is determined, players bowl 24 qualifying games in three 8-game blocks on three different lane conditions. The top 36 in pinfall advance to the cashers round for 8 more games. The top 24 players after the cashers round then bowl 24 round-robin, head-to-head match play games, all on the same 41-foot pattern. In the match play round, players are awarded actual pinfall plus 30 bonus pins for every match won (15 bonus pins each in the case of a tie). The top five after the match play round advance to the televised championship finals, which is on the same oil pattern as match play.
The 2021 U.S. Open was held at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada on April 6 through April 11, with a pre-tournament qualifier (PTQ) on April 4. The tournament had a starting field of 108 players (65 direct entries and 43 open entries from the PTQ) and a total prize fund of $159,650. A five-player stepladder finals format was used. Chris Via won from the #1 seed position, topping #2 seed Jakob Butturff in the final match. This was Via's first PBA Tour title and first major championship. For Butturff, it was his third runner-up finish in a U.S. Open. The finals also featured the PBA Tour's fourth-ever televised 7–10 split conversion (and first since 1991), accomplished by 18-year old rookie Anthony Neuer in the semifinal match.
|Match #1||Match #2||Match #3||Title match|
|2||Jakob Butturff||257||2||Jakob Butturff||213|
|3||Anthony Neuer||236||3||Anthony Neuer||203|
|4||Jason Sterner||256||5||Cristian Azcona||200|
- Prize Pool:
U.S. Open championsEdit
BPAA All-Star championsEdit
- 1942 – John Crimmons
- 1943 – Connie Schwoegler
- 1944 – Ned Day
- 1945 – Buddy Bomar
- 1946 – Joe Wilman
- 1947 – Andy Varipapa
- 1948 – Andy Varipapa
- 1949 – Connie Schwoegler
- 1950 – Junie McMahon
- 1951 – Dick Hoover
- 1952 – Junie McMahon
- 1953 – Don Carter
- 1954 – Don Carter
- 1955 – Steve Nagy
- 1956 – Bill Lilliard
- 1957 – Don Carter
- 1958 – Don Carter
- 1959 – Billy Welu
- 1960 – Harry Smith
- 1961 – Bill Tucker
- 1962 – Dick Weber
- 1963 – Dick Weber
- 1964 – Bob Strampe Sr.
- 1965 – Dick Weber
- 1966 – Dick Weber
- 1967 – Les Schissler
- 1968 - Jim Stefanich
- 1969 – Billy Hardwick
- 1970 – Bobby Cooper
U.S. Open oil patternEdit
The U.S. Open featured what PBA.com describes as "the toughest lane oil design in all of bowling." The pattern is considered "flat," meaning equal amounts of oil are applied to every lane board. (A typical lane condition allows more oil in the middle section of lane boards, and lesser amounts on the outer boards.)
Many claim the oil pattern was responsible for the lack of left-handed winners in this tournament, because there isn't enough ball traffic on the left side to create a "track area." When Mike Scroggins won the 2009 event in North Brunswick, New Jersey, he became the first left-hander in 20 years (Mike Aulby, 1989) to earn a U.S. Open title. Aulby's win was on an oil pattern where oil was applied more heavily on the outer boards (that is, those closest to the gutters), to the point where the outer parts of the lanes were effectively unplayable. In all, left-handers accounted for six victories (McGrath , Moser , Petraglia , Cook , Aulby , and Scroggins ) and nine runner-up finishes (Anthony [1973, 1979, 1980], Davis , Devers , Bohn , Couch , Allen , Scroggins ) at the U.S. Open since 1971. It was also the only major title that left-hander and 43-time titlist Earl Anthony never won in his career, though he did finish runner-up three times. In recent years, lefties Ryan Ciminelli (2015) and Rhino Page (2017) have won U.S. Opens.
- "65th Denny's U.S. Open". PBA.com. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
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- Vint, Bill. "Pete Weber Wins Record Fifth U.S. Open to Surpass Father Dick Weber and Don Carter." Article at www.pba.com on February 26, 2012. 
- Richgels, Jeff (May 3, 2014). "BPAA cancels U.S. Opens for 2015".
- Wiseman, Lucas (May 9, 2014). "USBC, BPAA reach agreement to bring back U.S. Open". Retrieved June 30, 2014.
- "Bowlmor AMF becomes title sponsor for 2015 Bowling's U.S. Opens". bowlingdigital.com. December 12, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
- "Central New York Bowling: Syracuse to host three upcoming national events". March 2, 2017. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
- Cannizzaro, Matt (March 1, 2017). "2017 U.S. OPEN TO FEATURE SELECT FIELD, IMPROVED PATTERN INTEGRITY". bowl.com. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
- Schneider, Jerry (October 22, 2018). "Rhino Page Set to Defend U.S. Open Title; Final Major of Season Could Have Impact on POY and PBA Clash Races". PBA.com. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
- "2019 U.S. Open PTQ". PBA.com. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
- "2019 U.S. Open Tournament Information". Bowl.com. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
- "2021 U.S. Open Prize Fund" (PDF). Bowl.com. Retrieved April 12, 2021.
- Cannizzaro, Matt (April 11, 2021). "Chris Via Wins 2021 U.S. Open". Bowl.com. Retrieved April 12, 2021.
- Pedersen, Randy. Transcript of 4/5/2009 U.S. Open broadcast on ESPN.