|Height||5 ft 5 in (165 cm)|
|Dominant hand||Right (stroker delivery)|
|Wins||40 PBA Tour (7 majors)|
5 PBA50 Tour (2 majors)
Norm Duke (born March 25, 1964) is an American professional bowler currently competing on the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Tour and the PBA50 Tour. He has won 40 titles on the PBA Tour, including seven major championships, and another five titles (two of them majors) on the PBA50 Tour. A member of both the PBA and USBC Halls of Fame, Duke is one of only three players in history to reach 40 career PBA Tour titles. He has bowled 73 perfect 300 games in PBA competition, including the 15th televised 300 game in PBA Tour history on January 5, 2003. Duke is a member of the Storm pro staff.
In 1983, not even one year after becoming a professional, Duke won the Cleveland Open in North Olmsted, Ohio, and became the youngest player ever to win a PBA Tour title, at 18 years and 345 days. On that day, Duke started from the No. 5 seed and worked his way up the stepladder, defeating the other four bowlers to take the championship, including a victory over the legendary Earl Anthony in Duke's first-ever televised match. In addition, Duke would not win his second title until 1991, but his career took off from there. He won two titles in the 1993 season, including his first major at the ABC Masters (now known as the USBC Masters).
Norm completed perhaps his best season in 1994, winning five titles including his second career major, at the Tournament of Champions, and also winning PBA Player of the Year honors. He was also the winner of the PBA Player of the Year award in 2000, capturing three titles that year, including his third career major by winning the PBA World Championship. Duke became a member of the USBC Hall of Fame in 2002, and was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame in January 2009.
Duke currently owns 40 PBA Tour titles, including seven majors: one ABC Masters, one PBA Tournament of Champions, two United States Opens, and three PBA World Championships. By virtue of having won each of these four majors, Duke is one of only three bowlers in Tour history to complete the career Grand Slam, along with fellow Hall-of-Famer Mike Aulby and all-time major titles record holder Jason Belmonte. His 38th title on February 15, 2015 put him in sole possession of third-place on the PBA's all-time titles list. Duke's career PBA Tour earnings eclipsed $3 million in the 2011-12 season, making him just the third PBA bowler at the time (along with Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Pete Weber) to surpass the $3 million mark in career prize money. Parker Bohn III has since also joined the $3 million club. Duke's career earnings have now topped $3.6 million (as of 2019). Duke made multiple TV Finals appearances every season from 1990 through 2015. (He made only one TV finals appearance in 2016.) He has won at least two titles in a season nine times, including a career-best five titles in 1994.
The diminutive Duke (he stands 1.65 meters, or 5-foot-5) is known for his exceptional versatility. He is generally thought of as a stroker, either throwing the ball relatively straight or playing a hook shot from the extreme outside of the lane. But he has also shown the ability (especially earlier in his career) to swing the ball out toward the gutter and bring it back like a cranker when necessary. This gives him the advantage of being able to score well on most of the PBA's multiple oil patterns.
The 2007-08 season started slowly for Duke, as he battled illness on top of a series of injuries through the first half. Standing 51st in points and with his Tour exemption in jeopardy, he put together a furious finish by winning two majors in the final five weeks of the season. On February 24, 2008, he won his second career PBA World Championship to lock up a 2008-09 exemption. Then on March 30, he won the U.S. Open and joined Mike Aulby and Billy Hardwick as the only bowlers to ever complete the coveted PBA "Grand Slam," in which a PBA bowler wins the U.S. Open, World Championship, Tournament of Champions, and USBC Masters at least once. He is also one of only six bowlers to complete the PBA career Triple Crown, in which a PBA bowler wins the U.S. Open, Tournament of Champions, and World Championship.
Duke began the 2008-09 season by, again, winning the PBA World Championship. Continuing on his success from the previous season's sweep of the final two majors, he accomplished something never before done by any professional bowler: win three consecutive major tournaments. The streak ended when he failed to make the TV finals for the 2009 Tournament of Champions. On April 5, 2009, Duke narrowly missed an opportunity to become just the fifth bowler to repeat as champion at the U.S. Open. He qualified as the #1 seed, but was upset in the final by Mike Scroggins, 191–173. Duke eventually did win a second U.S. Open on February 27, 2011.
Duke's 37th title on the PBA Tour came in 2012 at the Dick Weber PBA Playoffs. He joined the PBA50 Tour (formerly PBA Senior Tour) in 2014, while continuing to compete in selected events on the standard PBA Tour. His 38th title on the standard PBA Tour came in the 2014 Mark Roth-Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship, where he partnered with Wes Malott for the win.
He captured his 39th PBA title on February 24, 2019 at the PBA Indianapolis Open, defeating Jason Belmonte in the title match. A month shy of his 55th birthday, Duke became the third oldest player to win a standard PBA Tour event, behind John Handegard (57) and Buzz Fazio (winner of two titles at age 56). One week later, he won his 40th PBA Tour title at the PBA Jonesboro Open, becoming the third player in history to win 40 PBA Tour titles (after Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Earl Anthony). It was also the first time in Duke's career that he had ever won PBA titles in back-to-back weeks. A testament to Duke's versatility, both victories were on mixed lane conditions, with the left lane and right lane featuring different lengths and layouts of oil. In 2019, Duke posted the most cashes (20) and match-play appearances (17) on the PBA Tour since his 2005 season, and his highest earnings since 2008.
On his longevity, Duke stated in 2020:
- "Bowling for a living is so different than most people think. It requires a tremendous commitment to excellence as well as a willingness to expose yourself to failure on a constant basis. Add in a myriad of travel delays and time away from the family; just being happy becomes a chore. The players that mentally manage the grind of the Tour and are able to stay in love with the sport are the ones that have the best chance of sustaining a good career. I have been on the PBA Tour for 38 years and I am as committed now as when I started out in 1982."
In 2014, Norm won two PBA50 titles, including the Senior U.S. Open, in his first season on the PBA50 Tour. For his efforts, he won both PBA50 Rookie of the Year and PBA50 Player of the Year honors. He is one of only two PBA50 players (with Tom Baker) to win both awards in the same season. In 2016, he won his third PBA50 title and second PBA50 major at the PBA50 World Championship. He has since won two more standard titles on the PBA50 Tour, in 2017 and 2018.
Awards and recognition
- Two-time U.S. Open winner (2008, 2011) and three-time PBA World Championship winner (2000, 2007–08, 2008–09)
- Two-time PBA Player of the Year (1994, 2000)
- George Young High Average award (1991, 1994, 2005–06, 2006–07)
- Harry Smith PBA Points Leader award (2005–06)
- In his first year on tour (1983), Duke won the tour stop in Cleveland, OH at age 18 years, 345 days, which is still the record for the youngest person to ever capture a PBA title.
- During the 2006-07 Denny's PBA Tour season, Norm broke the tour's average record for a season, averaging 228.47; this record lasted seven years until being topped by Jason Belmonte's 228.81 in the 2012-13 season.
- Inducted into USBC Hall of Fame, 2002
- During qualifying for an April 1996 PBA tournament held in North Brunswick, N.J., Duke bowled three consecutive perfect games (900 total) in two squads.
- 71 career perfect games in PBA events (through mid-2018 season)
- The most recent bowler to win the "Grand Slam" (USBC Masters, PBA World Championship, PBA Tournament of Champions, and the US Open)
- 5x ESPY Award winner for Best Bowler (1995, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2019)
- Ranked 7th on the PBA's 2008 list of "50 Greatest Players of the Last 50 Years"
- First bowler in history to win three Major titles in a row
- Inducted into PBA Hall of Fame on January 24, 2009
- BPAA Dick Weber Bowling Ambassador Award winner, 2012
- PBA50 Rookie of the Year, 2014
- PBA50 Player of the Year, 2014
In the media
- During the 2006-07 Denny's PBA Tour season, Duke served as a guest commentator on ESPN telecasts for events in which he failed to reach the TV Finals alongside Dave Ryan and Randy Pedersen. During events in which he made the TV Finals, Chris Barnes filled in as the third commentator.
Career tour titles
PBA standard titles
Duke had earned 33 PBA standard titles as of June 2019.
- 1983 – Cleveland, Ohio
- 1991 – Parma Heights, Ohio
- 1991 – Tucson, Ariz.
- 1993 – Taylor, Mich.
- 1994 – Lakewood, Calif.
- 1994 – Edmond, Okla.
- 1994 – N. Brunswick, N.J.
- 1994 – Rochester, N.Y.
- 1995 – Portland, Ore.
- 1995 – Cleveland, Ohio
- 1997 – Mississauga, Canada
- 1997 – Windsor Locks, Conn.
- 1998 – Tucson, Ariz.
- 1998 – Rochester, N.Y.
- 1998 – Wichita, Kan.
- 2000 – Dallas, Texas
- 2000 – Tucson, Ariz.
- 2002-03 – Syosset, N.Y.
- 2003-04 – Blue Springs, Mo.
- 2004-05 – Norcross, Ga.
- 2005-06 – Taylor, Mich.
- 2006-07 – Hammond, Ind.
- 2006-07 – West Babylon, N.Y.
- 2006-07 – Indianapolis, Ind.
- 2008-09 – Reno, Nev.
- 2008-09 – Fountain Valley, Calif.
- 2009-10 – Allen Park, Mich., Cheetah Championship
- 2011-12 – Allen Park, Mich., Detroit Open
- 2011-12 – Las Vegas (doubles with Wes Malott)
- 2011-12 – Indianapolis, Ind.
- 2015 – Indianapolis, Ind. (doubles with Wes Malott)
- 2019 – Indianapolis, Ind.
- 2019 – Jonesboro, Ark.
PBA major titles
Duke had earned seven PBA major titles as of June 2019.
- 1993 – USBC Masters, Tulsa, Okla.
- 1994 – Tournament of Champions, Akron, Ohio
- 2000 – PBA National Championship, Toledo, Ohio
- 2008 – Denny’s World Championship, Indianapolis, Ind.
- 2008 – 65th Denny’s U.S. Open, North Brunswick, N.J.
- 2008 – PBA World Championship, Wichita, Kan.
- 2011 – U.S. Open, North Brunswick, N.J.
PBA50 standard titles
Duke had earned three PBA50 standard titles as of June 2019.
- 2014 – The Villages, Fla.
- 2017 – Race City Open
- 2018 – Security Federal Savings Bank Championship
PBA50 major titles
Duke had earned two PBA50 major titles as of June 2019.
- 2014 – Senior U.S. Open
- 2016 – PBA50 World Championship
- Duke is also famed for his "trickshots," with his most notable being his well-renowned "Towel Shot." This is where he can sling a ball wrapped in a towel and consistently throw a strike. In September 2009 (broadcast October 25 on ESPN), Duke won the PBA's special Trick Shot Challenge.
- Wiseman, Lucas (3 March 2019). "Duke Does It Again, Wins Title No. 40". FloBowling.com.
- "PBA profile". Archived from the original on 2019-03-28. Retrieved 2014-01-26.
- "Storm Bowling - Athletes". stormbowling.com. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
- Grossman, Hillard. "Duke gives fans on Merritt Island a glimpse of pro bowling royalty." Article in Florida Today on August 9, 2010. 
- "1994 Tournament of Champions". PBA.
- Schneider, Jerry. "Norm Duke Wins PBA Detroit Open Presented by Track for 35th Career Tour Title." Article at www.pba.com on March 11, 2012. 
- Norm Duke bio at www.pba.com, official site of the PBA Tour
- Vint, Bill (24 February 2019). "Almost 55, Hall of Famer Norm Duke Wins 39th Career Title in Go Bowling! PBA Indianapolis Open". pba.com.
- "Storm Athletes - Norm Duke". stormbowling.com. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
- Schneider, Jerry (August 13, 2014). "W.R. Williams Wins PBA50 Treasure Island Resort & Casino Open; Norm Duke Earns PBA50 Player of the Year". pba.com. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
- Vint, Bill (August 9, 2018). "Michael Haugen Jr. Locks Up PBA50 Player of the Year Honors; Top 12 Still in Question". PBA.com. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
- Australia's Jason Belmonte Named 2012–13 Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year Schneider, Jerry at pba.com on 17 January 2014.
- Vint, Bill (10 July 2019). "Norm Duke Wins Fifth ESPY "Best Bowler" Award". pba.com. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
- "BOWLING INDUSTRY SERVICE AWARDS - Dick Weber Award". BPAA.com. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
- "Norm Duke". PBA.com. Archived from the original on May 19, 2018. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
- "Kulick Wins PBA Women's World Championship, Sullins Takes Senior Title." Article at www.pba.com, October 25, 2009.