The Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions (TOC) 48th edition returns to the city where the classic was born in 1962.
The TOC, which represents the Tour’s elite because it requires
a PBA Tour title to be eligible to compete, will be conducted March 26-31 at
Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis.
The five-player, two-hour stepladder finals will
be telecast live on ESPN at 2:30 p.m. ET on March 31.
PBA Tournament of Champions originated in Indianapolis in 1962: 51 years later,
the TOC returns to the city where it began. Established to showcase those Tour
players who were PBA Tour champions, the first event was conducted at Play Bowl
and offered an “unheard of” $50,000 prize fund.
Joe Joseph won the inaugural event with a two-game 480 pinfall total, followed
by Billy Golembiewski, 416, and Hall of Famer Carmen Salvino third with 409 in
the two-game elimination final.
Joseph won a $15,000 first prize.
Indianapolis has hosted all of PBA’s most prestigious events: The Tournament of
Champions completes the “triple crown” for Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis as the
home to PBA major championships. It hosted the U.S Open (2010, 1996, 1991, 1990)
Denny’s PBA World Championship in (2008 and 2006) PBA Touring Players
Championship (1992, 1993, 1994).
Indianapolis also hosted the USBC Masters in
the Indiana Convention Center (1974) in addition to the first Tournament of
PBA Hall of Famer Pete
Weber’s last major title came in his memorable one-pin victory over Mike Fagan
(215-214) for a record fifth PBA U.S. Open win in February 2012. Weber will be
trying for his 10th major title which would put him in a tie with the late Earl
Anthony for the most major titles won.
Walter Ray Williams Jr.
has accomplished nearly everything there is to accomplish in professional
bowling except winning the Tournament of Champions. A TOC title would make the
all-time titles leader (47) the third player in history to complete the PBA
“Grand Slam” (titles in the Tournament of Champions, U.S. Open, PBA World
Championship and USBC Masters).
Mike Aulby and Norm Duke are the only players
who have completed the Grand Slam.
Reigning PBA Player of the Year Sean Rash
hopes to become only the second player to defend a TOC title. Rash defeated Ryan
Ciminelli in the championship match in 2012, 239-205, to win his fifth career
title and second major. Only Hall of Famer Jason Couch has successfully defended
a TOC title with an unprecedented three consecutive titles in 1999, 2000 and
Third major of 2012-13 season. There have been two different winners in the two
previous majors this season. Parker Bohn III in the PBA World Championship and
Jason Belmonte in the USBC Masters. (The U.S. Open will be conducted in
Columbus, Ohio, in July).
Kelly Kulick of Union, NJ, made sports history in
2010 by becoming the first woman ever to win a PBA Tour event. Kulick defeated
top qualifier Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, 265-195, in the title match
after defeating two-time PBA Player of the Year Mika Koivuniemi in the semifinal
round, 227-223. Her best finish since her historic win has been seventh.
Indianapolis natives Mike Aulby and George Branham III made their mark in
Tournament of Champions history. In 1993, George Branham III –
the first African-American to win a PBA Tour title – also became the first
African-American to win a "major" title at the 29th TOC at Riviera Lanes in
Fairlawn, Ohio. After leading qualifying, Branham defeated third-seeded Parker
Bohn III, 227-214.
While not bowling this year, in 1995, PBA Hall of Famer Mike Aulby of Carmel,
IN, won the Brunswick World Tournament of Champions at Harper College
Fieldhouse in Palatine, IL, in front of 3,030 fans to complete the PBA’s
Triple Crown (TOC, U.S. Open and PBA National/World Championship) as well as the
Grand Slam (Triple Crown plus USBC Masters). Aulby defeated leading qualifier
Bob Spaulding, 237-232, for the $60,000 first prize and a 20-foot Bayliner boat,
motor and trailer package from Brunswick.
14 Past TOC champions entered are Sean Rash
(2012), Mika Koivuniemi (2011) Kelly Kulick (2010), Patrick Allen (2009), Chris
Barnes (2006), Jason Couch (1999, 2000 and 2002), Mark Williams (1985 and 1988),
Wayne Webb (1980), Norm Duke (1994), Bryan Goebel (1998), Michael Haugen Jr.
(2008), Steve Jaros (2005), Tommy Jones (2007), and Pete Weber (1987).
PBA Hall of Famers in TOC field include: Parker Bohn III,
Norm Duke, Pete Weber, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Amleto Monacelli, Johnny
Petraglia, Jason Couch, Wayne Webb, Mark Williams, Doug Kent and Danny Wiseman.
Kent and Wiseman will be inducted during the 2013 PBA Hall of Fame dinner on
Saturday night, March 30, at the Indianapolis Marriott North.
Six countries are represented in the TOC field – Australia,
Colombia, England, Finland, Venezuela and the U.S.
PBA League Elias Cup finals to complete TOC week. The top four teams will determine the winner of the historic
first season of the five-player team PBA League competition concludes TOC Week at
Woodland Bowl. Teams will bowl a Baker format stepladder final round on Sunday,
March 31 at 6 p.m. ET which will be aired on ESPN at Sunday, April 7 at 1 p.m.