Don Johnson (bowler)
Don Johnson, a right-handed bowler, joined the PBA tour in 1964. He captured at least one PBA title every season from 1966–1977, on his way to 26 PBA titles in all. That total places him ninth on the all-time titles list.
Johnson was voted PBA Player of the Year in 1971 and 1972. But perhaps his shining moment came in 1970, when he won the prestigious Firestone Tournament of Champions and nearly achieved perfection in the process. In the televised final, he left a single 10-pin on the final ball for a 299 game. Leaving the 10-pin wasn't as famous as Johnson's reaction to it; he dropped on the floor and left his face down for several seconds before getting up to a thunderous ovation (Johnson's wife Mary Anne was shown in the audience, crying by that point).
Johnson won another major title at the 1972 U.S. Open, and was runner-up in the Tournament of Champions three times.
In the 1980s, Johnson made a successful transition from pro bowler to bowling instructor. He taught bowlers from over 20 countries and produced an acclaimed book/video instructional package on the sport. Among his students was 13-time PBA titleist, Hall of Famer and current bowling broadcaster Randy Pedersen.
Johnson was born in Kokomo, Indiana, but spent most of his adult life in Akron, Ohio and Las Vegas, Nevada. On March 2, 2008, a PBA Tour stop in Columbus, Ohio was named in Johnson's honor: the Don Johnson Buckeye State Classic. In 2009, the tournament was renamed the Don Johnson Eliminator Championship.
Awards and recognition
- PBA Player of the Year (1971, 1972)
- Inducted into PBA Hall of Fame (1977)
- Placed #8 in Bowling Magazine's 2000 list of the "20 Best Bowlers of the 20th Century"
- Also placed #8 on the PBA's 2008 list of "50 Greatest Players of the Last 50 Years"
- Transcript of Etonic Don Johnson Eliminator Championship on ESPN, March 7, 2010.
- Article: "The lost legend left us too soon", Bowling Digest, August, 2003.
- Hall of Fame bios at www.PBA.com, official site of the Professional Bowlers Association and Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour
- on YouTube