Walter Ray Wins Seventh ESPY Award
PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr., who earned a record seventh PBA Player of the Year honor in the 2009-10 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour season, matched that accomplishment by receiving a seventh ESPN “Best Bowler” ESPY award. The 2010 ESPY winners were announced during the 18th annual event, televised Wednesday on ESPN from the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.
ESPN announced ESPY winners in 38 sports categories which were determined through fan voting on espn.com. Williams, who was unable to attend the ceremony because of prior commitments, topped 2010 U.S. Open winner Bill O’Neill of Southampton, Pa., and 2010 Tournament of Champions winner Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., who were the other two nominees for the honor.
“The two things that make this award special are that it’s chosen by the fans and that we are recognized by the sports world in general,” Williams said. “I’m very appreciative of the fans’ support over the years because we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without it. “I thought Kelly might win it because of the great year she had but all three of us were deserving and I’d just like to thank the fans for voting for me.”
Williams extended his record for most “Best Bowler” ESPY's leading Norm Duke in second with five. During the 2009-10 season Williams, who became the oldest ever to win PBA Player of the Year at age 50, won the Motor City Open and his second USBC Masters title to raise his all-time Tour career title total to a record 47. He also claimed a record eighth Harry Smith Point Leader Award and was the season’s top money earner with $152,670.
Williams, who began his full-time Tour career in 1983 and has competed in 724 Tour events, earned his PBA Player of the Year crowns over a 24-year span. His previous Player of the Year honors came in the 1986, ‘93, ‘96, ‘97, ‘98 and 2002-03 seasons.
Kulick, who made sports history by winning the Tournament of Champions to become the first woman to win a PBA Tour tournament, also won the 2009 PBA Women’s World Championship, 2010 USBC Queens and U.S. Women’s Open. O’Neill captured his first two career PBA Tour titles in 2009-10 by winning the U.S. Open and PBA Chameleon Championship.Stars and Stripes Magazinewww.starsandstripesbowling.com