U.S. Open (bowling)
The U.S. Open is one of the four major tournaments in the Professional Bowlers Association. Despite its status as a PBA Tour major, the tournament is open to 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) 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.
The first modern-day U.S. Open tournament in the PBA took place in 1971 and was won by Mike Limongello. Prior to 1971, this event was known as the BPAA All-Star. 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. 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.
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, 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. The 2017 U.S. Open will be held in Liverpool, New York.
Current defending champion
The 2016 U.S. Open was held at South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas, Nevada, with qualifying on November 4–8 and the live televised finals on November 9. Francois Lavoie, a Canadian native who bowled collegiately at Wichita State University, won from the #2 seed position, defeating Marshall Kent in the final match to win his first PBA Tour title and first major championship. Lavoie rolled a perfect 300 game in his semifinal match against Shawn Maldonado. It was the 26th televised 300 game in a PBA Tour event, and the first to be rolled in the finals of the U.S. Open.
A five-player stepladder finals format was used.
|Match #1||Match #2||Match #3||Title match|
|2||Francois Lavoie||300||2||Francois Lavoie||228|
|3||Anthony Simonsen||217||4||Shawn Maldonado||211|
|4||Shawn Maldonado||190||4||Shawn Maldonado||238|
- Prize Pool:
- 1. Francois Lavoie, Canada – $30,000+
- 2. Marshall Kent, USA – $15,000
- 3. Shawn Maldonado, USA – $12,000
- 4. Anthony Simonsen, USA – $10,000
- 5. John Szczerbinski, USA – $8,000
+ Lavoie earned a $10,000 bonus for his 300 game in the semifinal match.
U.S. Open champions
BPAA All-Star champions
- 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 pattern
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 titleist Earl Anthony never won in his career, though he did finish runner-up three times.
- "65th Denny's U.S. Open". PBA.com. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
- 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.
- Schneider, Jerry (November 9, 2016). "Canada's Francois Lavoie Rolls Historic 300 on Way to 2016 U.S. Open Win". pba.com. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
- Pedersen, Randy. Transcript of 4/5/2009 U.S. Open broadcast on ESPN.