With the Badger, Wolf, Bear and Milwaukee Open titles at stake in the Milwaukee series, a hotly-contested six-man race for PBA Player of the Year honors could quickly change in favor of one of the leading contenders. Or it could move a couple of dark horse candidates into position to challenge for the end-of-season honor.
The Player of the Year will be selected in balloting by the PBA membership and members of the bowling news media at the close of the season. Key criteria most voters use are titles won, competition points, earnings, averages and television finals. Major titles won, or championship round appearances, are commonly factors that will tip the scales if voting is close.
The 2012-13 Player of the Year competition will be based upon overall performance over an expanded 14-month campaign which began with the 2012 PBA World Series of Bowling IV and will conclude on Dec. 31, 2013, as the PBA heads toward a return to a traditional calendar year schedule beginning on Jan. 1, 2014.
Heading into the GEICO PBA Summer Swing, the Player of the Year leaders, in alphabetical order, are:
● Jason Belmonte, Australia: won the 2013 USBC Masters for his only 2012-13 title, leads the PBA Tour in competition points and average (234.97), and ranks third in earnings ($131,586). Finished second in the PBA World Championship and PBA Tournament of Champions, and has three other TV appearances.
● Parker Bohn III, Jackson, NJ: won the 2012 PBA World Championship for his only 2012-13 title, ranks fifth in competition points, and seventh in earnings ($77,688) and average (228.91). He also finished fourth in the USBC Masters.
● Mika Koivuniemi, Finland/Hartland, MI: has won two 2012-13 titles, both on the PBA International Tour (Round1 Japan Cup and Qatar Open), ranks seventh in points, first in earnings ($158,412) and sixth in average (228.99). Koivuniemi also finished fifth in the USBC Masters.
● Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, CA: has won two 2012-13 titles (Chameleon Open and Earl Anthony PBA Players Championship), and ranks fourth in points, fifth in earnings ($87,970) and eighth in average (228.85).
● Sean Rash, Montgomery, IL: reigning PBA Player of the Year’s only title this season is Kuwait Open. He ranks third in points, second in earnings ($145,472) and third in average (232.58), and is tied with Belmonte with five TV appearances, including finishing third in PBA World Championship and PBA Tournament of Champions.
● Pete Weber, St. Ann, MO: won a PBA-record 10th major title in the PBA Tournament of Champions at age 50. Ranks 13th in points, sixth in earnings ($82,306) and fourth in average (229.97).
Heading the “dark horse” list includes Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, SC, a one-time title winner in 2012-13 who ranks sixth in points and fourth in earnings, and non-winner Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, who is second in points and average and eighth in earnings. Other players who have won one title during the 2012-13 season are Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, PA; Brad Angelo, Lockport, NY; Tom Daugherty, Wesley Chapel, FL; Andres Gomez, Colombia; Michael Haugen Jr., Carefree, AZ; Jason Sterner, McDonough, GA, and Ronnie Russell, Marion, IN.
The GEICO PBA Summer Swing begins with the Badger Open May 19-21 at AMF Waukesha, followed by the Wolf Open May 22-24 at AMF West, Bear Open May 26-28 at AMF Bowlero, Milwaukee Open May 29-30 at Bowlero, and two days of CBS Sports Network stepladder finals June 1-2 at Bowlero.
Thus far in 2012-13, the PBA Tour has conducted 16 individual tournaments in the United States and around the world and the extended 14-month season will include 14 more PBA Tour and International Tour events – including the four Milwaukee title events – before it ends.
REMAINING 2013 PBA TOUR EVENTS
May 20-June 2 – GEICO PBA Summer Swing (Badger, Wolf, Bear and Milwaukee Open), AMF Waukesha, AMF West and AMF Bowlero, Milwaukee, Wis.
July 7-13 - It's Daejeon International Open Bowling Tournament, Daejeon, Korea
July 21-27 – U.S. Open, Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl, Columbus Western Bowl, and Holiday Lanes, Columbus, Ohio
Oct. 1-6 – 11th annual Columbia 300 Vienna Open, Plus Bowling Center, Vienna, Austria
Oct. 14-21 – 2013 World Bowling Tour Thailand, Bul-O Paragon, Bangkok, Thailand
Oct. 25-Nov. 3 – PBA World Series of Bowling V (Cheetah, Viper, Chameleon and Scorpion Championships plus PBA World Championship), South Point Bowling Center, Las Vegas
Nov. 28-30 – Round1 Japan Cup, Tokyo Port Bowl, Tokyo, Japan