If the news from yesterday's meeting of exempt players on the PBA Tour is any indication, widespread predictions and my own worries about the PBA's eminent demise may have been premature. Because the news is good. Better than good, actually.
For starters, next year's TOC will feature a staggering, at least for professional bowling, $1 million prize fund and a $250,000 first prize check. Wow! And the tournament will be open, as I've always thought it should be, to ALL previous national title winners and not just to a select few. By golly, it's even open to all past Regional, Senior, and Women's Series titlists. Now THAT'S a true Tournament of Champions. I can't wait to watch it on PBA Xtra Frame!
Other highlights include:
An even bigger and better World Series of Bowling than we saw last year, including a United States vs. the World special competition at the WSOB.
ESPN live broadcasts in HD, with some events, including the U.S. Open and PBA World Championship, being carried live by the ESPN family of channels over a groundbreaking three consecutive days.
A new, season ending six-week series of PBA Playoffs in an elimination format and with its own separate prize fund and a big impact on the PBA Player of the Year race.
A new "Xtra Frame Tour" in which PBA Tour players will compete in at least five separate locations in tournaments using a modified format and covered exclusively by PBA Xtra Frame.
Yes, this and more is the unbelievable news coming from yesterday's meeting in Norwich, Conn, site of this week's national tournament. Click here to read the whole fantastic story.
Of course, the cynically inclined might detect a scent of desperation pervading next year's plans and argue that, even if all of the elements of this wildly ambitious scenario come to fruition, they will be the prodigious but dying gasps of a doomed organization before it fails once and for all and dies for good.
Well, I can be as cynical as anyone, but I'm going to suspend my cynicism for now and let myself revel in the marvelous excitement and hope I feel over this unexpected and amazing news regarding next year's PBA Tour.