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2017 PBA Tournament of Champions Recap

By 3/4/2017

In the middle of the Professional Bowlers Association’s “Big February,” was the PBA Tournament of Champions. This tournament has had so many historical moments and is the most prestigious tournament on the tour’s schedule. This is where only the best of the best are invited to compete.

With scores being high in qualifying and match play, the show was built with expectations to be a high scoring affair throughout the stepladder finals. The finals included the reigning PBA Player of the Year E.J. Tackett, Tommy Jones, Dom Barrett, Tom Smallwood and of course Pete Weber. These five can certainly score for days, and this was a show that could not be missed. The first match featured one of the greatest of all-time, Pete Weber, versus Tom Smallwood. Fresh oil on the PBA Tournament of Champions pattern played much differently in the arena setting than it did during qualifying. Pete had gone with a one and one strategy, throwing a Wreck-Em on the left lane and an Alpha Crux on the right. Honestly not a bad strategy, but as the match progressed I thought to myself that it wasn’t the right ball, at least on the left lane, going over/under. Right lane looked good for him until the 10th when the washout would do him in. Smallwood seemed to be completely lost throwing a Radical Fix, but when going to the much stronger Xeno, it would get back with no problem and found a look to get him to match two.

Match two featured Smallwood and number three qualifier Dom Barrett. Dom threw an Ebonite Maverick Pearl and had no problem with ball reaction. Only once did he have an issue when he missed left and had a domino effect Brooklyn. He didn’t have that problem the rest of the match and had a good hit on the 10 pin getting hit by the lazy 6 standing in the gutter. Tom had good ball reaction and caught a couple bad breaks and a chopped spare that eventually did him in.

The next match featured Dom and Tommy Jones, who will go down as one of the greats. Tommy was pretty bold going with urethane playing way right and avoiding everyone’s ball track and creating his own line for himself. Fortunately it paid off as Dom Barrett was able to make good shots but couldn’t trust his ball reaction to the right when he needed to, this is what ultimately cost him the match.

The title fight was set between Tommy Jones and reigning PBA Player of the Year E.J. Tackett. Tommy stuck with his urethane ball on the outside part of the lane, and E.J. would play in with his new Motiv Octane Carbon set to release soon. Needless to say he had the right ball in his hand for the match. There were several shots when he had his chance to really take over but he didn’t trust it right like Dom had done in the previous match and went right through the heart of the head pin. With Tommy missing a 10 pin in the 5th off his front 4 strikes, he needed a mark in the 10th. He made his adjustment left off the high shot in the 9th and left the fatal 1-2-4-10 washout, gifting E.J. Tackett his second major win.

The show featured a young gun in E.J. Tackett, veterans in Tommy Jones and Tom Smallwood, an international all-star in Dom Barrett and one of the true greats of our game, Pete Weber. The PBA season is still young, but in big February, anything can happen. Read about anything and everything bowling related here at, it’s where bowlers go.

Hello everyone and greetings from the Bowling Mecca of the World, also known as Las Vegas! My name is Nick Pollak. I am 18 years old and I’m a two-handed bowler as well as a USBC Bronze level coach. I am thankful to have been invited to join the team to write about the sport I love. I look forward to sharing many articles with you and hope to interact with many of you to get feedback and topic ideas you would like to see.

Did I mention I am a two hander? I wasn't always but that all changed in January of 2015 when my one-handed mechanics became a tremendous liability. For each and every one of my fellow two-handers, it should be noted that we are all different in our styles of approach, rev rate, speed and release. I look forward to sharing my perspective of the sport I love, as a competitive bowler and as a two-hander.


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