Pete Weber (bowler)
Peter David Weber (born August 21, 1962) is an American retired bowler in the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) and a member of the PBA and USBC Halls of Fame. Weber was one of the sport's most active players and is known for his maverick, chirpy and rebellious personality. He is also known for being incredibly versatile, with his high backswing and the side rotation he puts on the bowling ball helping him control numerous oil conditions. Weber is featured in the ten-pin bowling sports documentary A League of Ordinary Gentlemen. He has won 37 titles on the PBA Tour (fourth all-time), including ten major championships (tied for second all-time), and another 13 titles (five majors) on the PBA50 Tour. He is one of only three bowlers in history (with Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Earl Anthony) to have earned at least 50 combined titles between the PBA Tour and PBA50 Tour. Weber and Williams Jr. are the only two bowlers to have amassed at least 100 total PBA titles, with PBA Regional events added (48 PBA Regional Tour, four PBA50 Regional Tour).
|Birth name||Peter David Weber|
|Born||August 21, 1962|
St. Ann, Missouri
|Height||5 ft 7 in (170 cm)|
|Achievements and titles|
|World finals||1 European Bowling Tour|
|Regional finals||48 PBA Regional Tour|
4 PBA50 Regional Tour
|National finals||37 PBA Tour (10 majors)|
13 PBA50 Tour (5 majors)
2x PBA50 Player of the Year
Weber has won bowling's U.S. Open a record five times, and is the only player in history to win each event of the PBA's triple crown (U.S. Open, PBA World Championship and PBA Tournament of Champions) at least twice in a career. Pete has also won the PBA Senior U.S. Open twice, and is a two-time PBA50 Player of the Year.
Weber grew up in Florissant, Missouri and as the son of bowling superstar Dick Weber, was introduced to the sport at the age of two. At the age of 15, Weber was already winning local bowling tournaments against adult players, and won his first PBA Regional Tour event (as a non-member) at age 16. With the help of his father, Pete was able to become a PBA member at the age of 17 (the former policy required a minimum age of 18). In 1979, Weber bowled in his first event on the professional circuit and participated in 20 tour events during the 1980 season, making one televised finals appearance. Weber won Rookie of the Year honors in 1980. By 1982, he had won his first PBA title, winning two that season. By the time he was 24 years old, he had already reached the 10-title plateau (becoming the youngest player in PBA history to attain that mark). At age 26, he narrowly won the PBA National Championship over Dave Ferraro, giving him all three jewels of the PBA's "triple crown" (achieved by winning the U.S. Open, Tournament of Champions and PBA National Championship).
Weber and his father, Dick, were the first father-and-son combination to ever both earn a title on the PBA Tour. The feat has since been matched three times, by Don/Jimmy Johnson (1990), Don/Eugene McCune (2002) and Guppy/Kyle Troup (2015).
Weber was the youngest player to reach 10 PBA titles, accomplishing the feat in 1987 at age 24 years, 247 days. He reached the 20-title plateau in 1993, before going on the longest winless streak in his professional career between 1994 and 1996. In the 2003–04 season, Weber won two titles, including his 30th title and his third U.S. Open, and earned a career-high $206,217. On December 4, 2005, Weber overcame a year of trying times both personally and professionally by clinching what was, perhaps, the most emotional title of his career at the 2005 Bowlersparadise.com Classic at Stardust Bowl in Hammond, Indiana. This marked the first television appearance for Weber in 666 days, and it was his first title after the death of his father on February 13, 2005. Weber honored his father after the victory by looking into the ESPN cameras and pointing at the "DW" patch on his sleeve.
Overall, Weber has won 37 PBA Tour events, including ten major titles (tied with Earl Anthony for the second most majors all-time). His 37th tour win on March 31, 2013 came at age 50 in the Tournament of Champions. His 37 wins place him fourth on the all-time PBA tour titles list, behind only Walter Ray Williams, Jr. (47), Earl Anthony (43) and Norm Duke (40). Weber's 35th Tour win at the end of the 2009-10 season against Mike Scroggins at the 2010 Marathon Open in the title match ensured Walter Ray Williams Jr. his record 7th Player of the Year award, as well as making Williams (then age 50) the oldest ever to win that award. Had Weber lost the title match, Scroggins would have been named Player of the Year for that season.
Weber has rolled 85 perfect 300 games in PBA competition through 2018. His five U.S. Open titles are the most of any bowler in PBA history. He also had a runner-up finish in the 1987 U.S. Open. Weber is one of six PBA players to have earned the career PBA Triple Crown. Upon winning the 2013 Tournament of Champions title, he became the first bowler to win all three jewels of the Triple Crown at least twice in a career (five U.S. Open titles, two PBA World Championship titles, and two wins in the Tournament of Champions). He is also the oldest winner of the U.S. Open (49) and Tournament of Champions (50). The Tournament of Champions win at age 50 years, 222 days made him the oldest player to win a PBA Tour major title of any kind. His other major win was in the Touring Players Championship, which has only recently become a PBA major again. The only major that has eluded him is the USBC Masters.
Along with Mike Aulby, Norm Duke, and Walter Ray Williams Jr., Pete is one of only four bowlers to have won at least one standard PBA Tour title in four different decades (1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s). However, a feat that sets him apart from his contemporaries is that he's won a U.S. Open title in the same four consecutive decades, specifically in 1988, 1991, 2004, 2007, and 2012.
Weber joined his father in the PBA Hall of Fame in 1998, and he became a member of the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame in 2002. His career PBA Tour earnings of over $4 million (through the 2019 season) place him second all-time, behind only all-time titles leader Walter Ray Williams, Jr. Weber and Williams are the only two PBA bowlers to have topped the $4 million mark in career earnings. Weber owns 48 PBA Regional titles, the most all-time, in addition to four PBA50 Regional titles.
Weber was ranked 4th on the PBA's 2008 list of "50 Greatest Players of the Last 50 Years," one place behind his father.
At age 58, Weber participated in World Series of Bowling XII and made the Round of 16 match play at the 2021 PBA Scorpion Championship. Prior to match play on March 17, he announced that this would be his last event on the national PBA Tour. Pete will continue to bowl on the PBA50 Tour and in Regional events. As he completed his bowling that day, Weber said to the FloBowling cameras:
"It's been an honor and a privilege to be part of the Professional Bowlers Association for 41 years. I appreciate all the fans I have, who hate me or love me. You watched. That's all you could do."
Over his 41-year PBA Tour career, Weber made the final match 67 times, going 37–30 in those matches, and made the top five 152 times (second all-time).
Weber joined the PBA50 Tour (formerly PBA Senior Tour) in 2013. His first title on that tour was a major: the 2013 USBC Senior Masters, which he won on June 14. He also won the last PBA50 Tour tournament of the season on his 51st birthday and earned Rookie of the Year honors.
Weber won a second PBA50 major title, his fourth PBA50 title overall, at the Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open on June 5, 2015. The win made Pete the second player in history, after Norm Duke, to win the U.S. Open on both the standard PBA Tour and the PBA50 Tour. Weber was named the PBA50 Player of the Year for the 2015 season, after dominating in the earnings, average and competition points categories. It was his first PBA Player of the Year win of any kind.
On May 10, 2016, Weber won the BVL Johnny Petraglia Open on the PBA50 Tour for his third consecutive title in the 2016 season, and seventh PBA50 title overall. He joined fellow PBA Hall of Famer Tom Baker as the only players to ever win three consecutive PBA50 Tour events. In the next PBA50 Tour stop, Weber successfully defended his 2015 PBA Senior U.S. Open crown, and became the only bowler to win four consecutive PBA50 Tour events. Although the winning streak was stopped in the next tournament, Weber made history again later in the season. His victory at the 2016 USBC Senior Masters on June 26 made him the first bowler ever to win five titles in a single PBA50 Tour season. Weber's unprecedented PBA50 season continued on July 28, when he won his sixth title of 2016 in the PBA50 South Shore Open. Despite missing the last three events of the 2016 season due to a hip injury, Weber easily won his second consecutive PBA50 Player of the Year award with 457,200 points – more than 200,000 above the next closest player (Amleto Monacelli with 241,680 points). Weber also averaged a PBA50 record 237.03 for the season, almost nine pins ahead of second-place Norm Duke (228.31).
In the 2017 PBA50 season finale on August 8, Weber won his 11th PBA50 title, capturing the DeHayes Insurance Group Classic held in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This victory gave Weber 100 total PBA titles (37 PBA Tour, 11 PBA50 Tour, 48 PBA Regional Tour and four PBA50 Regional Tour). Walter Ray Williams Jr. is the only other bowler to reach this total.
On April 29, 2021, Weber won his 12th PBA50 Tour title (and first since 2017) in the Florida Blue Medicare PBA50 National Championship for his fifth PBA50 major. One week later, on May 5, Weber made it back-to-back PBA50 championships, earning his 13th title at the PBA50 Granville Financial Open.
When Pete won his first PBA title in 1982, it was the first time a father (Dick Weber) and son had each captured PBA titles. This has since happened three more times (Don and Jimmy Johnson, Don and Eugene McCune, Guppy and Kyle Troup).
Weber is one of only 13 players in PBA history to start in the 24th and final spot of the match play round and go on to win a tournament. He and Mike Aulby are the only two players to accomplish this feat twice. Weber did so in 1984, and again in 1991.
By the early 1980s, Weber had established himself as one of the best bowlers in the world, but his lifestyle saw numerous long binges of alcohol and cocaine use. In a 1985 Sports Illustrated article, Weber admitted to spending a four-week stretch on tour in a "complete blackout"—staying up for days on end with cocaine, and drinking a fifth of Jack Daniel's every night. Pete estimated he blew through about $150,000 between 1982 and 1984 on cocaine, alcohol and gambling. He once bragged about hitting the lanes one evening and scoring in the high 200s after spending the day drinking full-strength Long Island iced teas. He entered rehab in March 1984, ending what his famous father called "eight years of hell". Though Weber says he never used cocaine again, he fell off the wagon multiple times with drinking.
Despite Weber's talent, he was not popular with his bowling peers and was even denied Player of the Year honors in 1987 despite winning the Tournament of Champions and leading the tour in earnings; the award was instead given to Marshall Holman. By 1989, Weber had won 13 PBA Tour titles and had reached over $1 million (USD) in earnings, but his personal life was plagued with problems. By the mid-1990s, Weber had been through two divorces. He went through a three-season stretch (1994–96) without winning a title, and he failed to make a championship round appearance during the entire 1995 season. At the same time, the PBA Tour itself was in decline and was nearing insolvency.
Weber began a slow turnaround in 1997, for which he gave much of the credit to third wife Tracy. "Tracy is the best thing that ever happened to me," he said. "She keeps me focused and keeps me loose." Weber won two titles in the 1997 season, and established a then-career high in earnings with over $181,000.
In 2000, the PBA Tour was sold to three former Microsoft executives; Weber was not on the tour during this transitional phase, as he was still serving a suspension for "conduct unbecoming a professional" given by the former PBA leadership due to a late 1999 incident at a Bay City, Michigan pro-am related to his drinking problem. The new tour ownership saw Weber's flashiness as a potential tool for marketing the PBA to a new audience. By the 2001–02 season, Weber had his career back on track, winning three titles in all. In one of the three victories, at the Great Lakes Classic in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Weber rolled a nationally televised 299 game, leaving a 4-pin standing on his final shot. In an interview during the season, Weber remarked:
The new PBA has told me to be animated, and I was already animated to begin with. The new PBA likes me, likes my antics. They think that's what's going to sell the PBA.
Weber's attitude on television has given him a reputation as a brash "action bowler," which some critics view as unsportsmanlike. After icing a 289–279 victory in a televised match against Michael Haugen Jr., who was looking for his first PBA win at the 2001 Greater Louisville Open, Weber walked back on the approach toward Haugen and shouted, "He ain't getting his first one against me, no way!" During the 2010 Dick Weber Open he became frustrated over the sound a photographer's camera made while he was bowling, and had verbally told them to refrain from flashing the camera during his approach. In the 2012 U.S. Open finals, he repeatedly confronted a young audience member who he believed was intentionally distracting him on his shots. He eventually won the 2012 event, his unprecedented fifth U.S. Open title, getting a strike on the fill shot of the tenth frame to defeat Mike Fagan by one pin, 215–214. Weber exploded in a burst of rage and excitement:
Gary Thorne, (ESPN announcer): Strike to claim it, a strike to claim it, and... HE GOT IT!
Weber: YES, GOD DAMMIT, YES!!! THAT IS RIGHT, I DID IT! [THAT'S] NUMBER FIVE, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! THAT'S RIGHT! (Turns to audience) WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, I AM! DAMMIT, RIGHT!!
The video footage of Weber's reaction to his win went viral on the Internet  and made the Top 10 on ESPN's "SportsNation 101 Celebration Fails" list. Weber later explained he intended to say, "Who do you think you are rooting against me? I am the man in this tournament!". Weber clarified his comments were directed towards a young heckler who was jeering him throughout the tournament, at times during Weber's approach.
After taking time to cool down, Weber was humble in his post-tournament interview. When the announcer stated that Pete had just passed his father and Don Carter in career U.S. Open titles, Weber replied, "I'll never say I'm better than them. They paved the way for us to be here. It was an honor and a privilege to join them when I won my fourth U.S. Open, and it's even more of an honor to be the first one to win five."
In response to critics, Weber said in a 2016 interview:
I've never cared what other people thought about me. I haven’t changed my attitude, my approach to the game one bit. I'm very emotional out there; nothing I do is planned or rehearsed. When I react, it's a spur-of-the-moment thing. I like to show my emotion, and I think that helps keep me loose. I'm pretty sure if you watch somebody walk up, throw the ball and then go back and sit down over and over, you're not going to want to watch bowling very much.
While there are divided opinions on Pete Weber's PBA legacy, the majority conclude that he had a positive impact on resurrecting the sport's popularity. PBA Commissioner Tom Clark stated that when Weber made the finals telecast, ratings went up. Hall of Famer Norm Duke, who also started on Tour while in his teens, was quoted in 2021 saying, "Pete can reach out through a television, grab you by the neck, turn your head toward him and say. 'Oh no, no, no. You might want to watch this.' And people do. It speaks to his entertainment value." Mike Fagan, who once noted that Pete was alienating the very fans the sport wanted to attract, stated years later, "He has been the most noteworthy person in the sport for 40 years. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. But he made bowling fun again."
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