Major Miss By Major Mika Gives Norm Duke The US Open Title
It's the 10th frame of the US Open and Norm Duke has to strike out to make Mika Koivuniemi even show up in his half of the tenth. It didn't matter that Norm had thrown perfect strike shots the entire 2nd half of the game. The 8 pin in the 8th frame decided to stand anyway. So he had to have these three strikes for any chance.
Strike three... you're out?
Mika had just won the Tournament of Champions and $250,000. There's no way he's nervous, right? This is the guy with ice water in his veins. This is the soon to be Player of the Year.
He steps onto the approach, makes his delivery and releases the ball. You could tell he threw this one with a little more gusto than the previous shots. He yells the Finnish word for "Carry!" You can tell he wants this. The ball hits the pocket and the ten pin stands defiantly.
No problem. A single pin spare. Mika is one of the best spare shooters in the world. You can see Norm looked defeated. Something felt strange though as I was watching the deciding spare shot. I just had a feeling he would miss it, though I shrugged it off. He made his approach, released the ball and it dropped into the channel just before it made it to the 10 pin. Game over.
Norm Duke had just won the US Open sitting on the bench. As I watched Mika writhe in agony on the floor, I had never felt so awkward watching a PBA match. I had jumped out of my chair as the ball whiffed the 10 pin and I just stood in shock. I felt great for Norm, but also felt for Mika. That's the worst possible way you could lose the US Open. Worse than a pocket 7-10 to lose. Worse than a stone 8 (*cough*Randy Pedersen*cough*). It took a single pin spare to make Mika look human. We've all missed our fair share of 10 pins in league and Mika is no different. It can happen to anyone at anytime.
I don't look at it as Mika losing the title, but as Norm winning it. Sure Mika had the lead, but Norm executed his shots to perfection when it counted. Mika didn't. This is why Norm Duke is one of the greatest bowlers of all-time. You don't win 34 PBA titles by luck. He earned the US Open title.Dustin Seymour
Norm Duke used the Prodigy to win the US Open!