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Europeans are ready to capture their first PBA title this year at the WSOB XIV

Updated: Apr 8, 2023

The end of this week means the Easter feast with family and the start of the PBA World Series of Bowling XIV.

This year, an annual multi-tournament bowling event will be held from Friday, April 7th, till Sunday, April 23rd, at Bowlero Wauwatosa, near Milwaukee, WI, on the shores of Lake Michigan, which is often referred to as the 'Third Coast' of the United States.

Despite the fact, sandy beaches of Lake Michigan won't be the main attraction next week. 120 bowlers will come to show their best performance on the bowling lanes in this year's PBA World Series of Bowling XIV. Make it nearly 200, taking into account players at the pre-tournament qualifier.

The top 50 PBA players in season points standings for 2022 will be awarded priority registration, along with twenty international invitees who did not place in the top 50 and up to sixteen additional PBA Tour title holders.

The other participants will be from a pre-tournament qualifier (PTQ).

Bowlers at the WSOB XIV will compete on four different oil-patterns with a chance to win four PBA Tour titles. Two weeks separating the first shot of qualifying from the championship round will require perseverance, consistency, and stamina.

The re-made competition of 'The USA against The World' will be the cherry on top, opening with a Tommy Jones vs. Jason Belmonte 'Captain's Match' at Holler House in Milwaukee, home of the oldest certified lanes in the world, which was opened back in 1908. The lanes will be old fashionably oiled by spray gun, with a pin boy setting the pins and above-ground ball return. Both participants and spectators will feel the nostalgic atmosphere of a bygone era. A historic TJ/Belmo Captain's clash will be live-streamed free on the PBA YouTube Channel.

Lanes at Holler House

Knowing the fact that part of the reason for developing the WSOB in 2009, given the U.S. economic recession at the time, was to consolidate multiple tournaments into one location to save on travel and broadcast crew costs, the PBA organization team did a tremendous job turning the WSOB into one of the leading bowling event's in the world, despite COVID-19 restrictions in the past two years.

The involvement of professional players worldwide has been one of the event's driving forces and success stories. Thirty-four international players from twelve countries will participate in this year's field. All eyes of European spectators will point to twenty-five bowlers of the Old Continent trying to capture their first PBA Tour title this year.

Some of the most significant events in the development and history of professional bowling occurred when European competitors won their first PBA championships at the WSOB.

It first happened in 2011, when Osku Palermaa of Finland won his first PBA Tour title at the WSOB II Shark Championship, defeating Dan MacLelland of Canada. Palermaa was the first two-handed player to make it to televised finals and probably the first bowler to lie down on a bowling lane during the final match, creating one of the most iconic captions in bowling history. Finn repeated his success in 2012, winning PBA World Championship (and his first major) at WSOB III against Ryan Shafer.

Osku Palermaa, PBA World Championship 2012

In total, European bowling players have won 10 PBA Tour titles at the WSOB since the WSOB's inception in 2009.

Alongside Osku Palermaa, Dominic Barrett of England and Jesper Svensson of Sweden won the PBA titles at the WSOB twice. Barrett did it in 2011 and 2013, winning the Scorpion Open and PBA World Championship, while Svensson did it in 2015 and 2017, winning Chameleon Championship and Cheetah Championship.

The last time a European player won the PBA title at the WSOB was back in 2020 when Carsten Hansen of Denmark won covid postponed and later concluded the Scorpion Championship.

Carsten Hansen | Picture Source: Professional Bowlers Association

An absolute title rush will start with the Cheetah Qualifying Round kicking off on April 9th-10th. After that, bowlers of WSOB XIV will jump to Scorpion Qualifying Round (April 11th-12th). Lastly, Thursday and Friday will be the qualifying days for Shark Championship (April 13th-14th).

Traditionally, the animal pattern championships have featured ten games of qualifying and bracket match play for the top sixteen leading to stepladder finals for the final four. This year, the PBA made less match play in favor of more qualifying games. After 20 games of each animal oil-pattern - Cheetah, Scorpion, and Shark - qualifications, the top 5 players of each oil-pattern will advance straight to FS1 telecast stepladders.

All qualifying games of the PBA Cheetah, Scorpion, and Shark Championships will carry over to the PBA World Championship. Following PBA Cheetah, Scorpion, and Shark qualifying rounds (60 games), the top 12 players will advance to PBA World Championship Match Play on Thursday, April 20th. Twelve bowlers will then play another two six-game rounds to determine the top 5 players who will advance to the stepladder finals for a chance to win the season's fourth Major.

PBA World Championship Stepladder Finals will be broadcasted on FOX on Sunday, April 23rd.

Cheetah, Scorpion, and Shark Championships winners will earn a $20,000 prize fund and the PBA Tour title. The PBA World Championship winner will be awarded a $100,000 top prize and the PBA Major title.

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