Friday, July 1, 2011

Why Weren't the 2011 U.S. Women's Open Finals Shown Live?

I know who won the U.S. Women's Open last night, and I'd love to be able to write about it here today. But I don't want to spoil it for any of you who wish to wait until you watch the show tomorrow to find out. If you read this blog, you probably know already or will know well before the show airs, but I still don't want to risk spoiling it for anyone.

Of course, if this were not a blog about bowling, and I wanted to write about what happened in the finals of the U.S. Women's Open in tennis or golf the morning after, I wouldn't need to wait. It would likely have been shown live on one of the major networks, and sports headlines around the country if not the world would have blared the results minutes afterward.

But, as we all know, that's not how it is with bowling. Bowling is the Rodney Dangerfield of sports. More people do it on some level or other than probably any other sport, but it "don't get no respect" by the media or, it seems, by the public at large.

That being said, I'm puzzled by something. Bowling may not get much respect, but we're still taking here about the U.S. Women's Open. Not only that, but we're talking about a U.S. Women's Open finals held in the grandest venue--Cowboys Stadium--in which ANY bowling tournament, men's or women's, has EVER been held. Not only that, but it attracted the largest field of any U.S. Women's Open ever, almost 300, from 17 countries, and offered the richest prize fund ever. And to top all that off, it offered a monumental $1 million to anyone who shot 300 in the championship match.

It seems to me that the sponsors of this great tournament--the BPAA and Ebonite International--pulled out all the stops to build interest in this wonderful tournament and its stepladder finals and to draw viewers to television coverage of the finals except for the one measure that might have been the most effective. They were unable or unwilling to do whatever it took to have the finals shown live instead of two days after they took place.

Now just how many people do you think are going to spend Saturday afternoon or evening (depending on your time zone) of a Fourth of July weekend watching a women's bowling tournament of which almost everyone who'd be likely to watch already knows the results? And how many people do you think are going to be drawn to watch by the prospect of seeing whether someone wins the $1 million if they already know whether or not someone won it two days go?

Yes, hardcore bowling fans and bloggers like me will watch no matter what. Besides, I have a horse, so to speak, in the race. Leanne Hulsenberg and her husband Gary bowl league and have a pro shop in my home house. Of course, I want this already legendary bowler to win the one women's major that has so far eluded her during her remarkable career. But there apparently aren't too many like me. As I wrote yesterday, even the preponderance of fairly serious bowlers and self-proclaimed bowling fans appear to be afflicted with a chronic case of the ho-hums. So how many of THEM are going to watch the finals on a holiday weekend or even record it to watch it later when they already know who won, what all the scores were, and whether or not the champion shot 300?

I don't want to be overly critical of the BPAA and Ebonite, mind you. After all, if they hadn't stepped in and rescued a tournament that the USBC abandoned after last year, there'd have been no U.S. Women's Open this year or perhaps ever again. I'm grateful to them. And if I'M grateful to them, just imagine how grateful the women are who cashed or who made the finals of the tournament!

And I'll be the first to admit that I don't know anything about securing live television time on ESPN2 or any other network any time of the day or night. Perhaps it was all but impossible to work out logistically or financially. Yet, it seems to me that there had to have been a way to show the grandest women's bowling tournament ever live, and that someone blew it somewhere, somehow in its not happening.

I don't know what the future holds for the U.S. Women's Open. But if it has a future, I hope I get to see the finals of the next one and of all the ones thereafter live on television and to blog here about them immediately thereafter.

On the off chance that you don't know who won the Open but want to know now instead of trying to hold out until you watch it tomorrow, or perhaps you won't or can't watch it tomorrow, you can click here for a recap of the finals. If you want to watch or record the finals tomorrow, they will be shown Saturday, July 2 on ESPN2 in HD at 6 PM Eastern.


  1. In your comment you reference the demise of the PWBA in 2003. Well let's just say that if Ebonite doesn't do a better job of running the U.S. Open tournament, this will demise as well. They had a record turn out this week with 296 bowlers, last year they had 100. If they didn't get the turn out they got this week, the tournament surely would've gone away. Well let me say this, "professional" bowlers that are bowling in this event for one, have a GREAT advantage when competing in these types of tournaments. When you enter the tournament you're limited to 8 ball, but the "professionals have Ball Reps, that are at their beck and call to drill up balls for them at anytime during the competition, when the up and coming bowlers are limited to the 8 balls they have because the Ball Reps who should, (I would think) be there for everyone as they are trying to sell balls for their company, but the truth is they are not there for or interest talking to any one if you're not a "Pro". These guys stand behind the pros during practice ignoring anyone else on the lanes with the "Pro", tell the where to stand and throw the ball they're using and if it's not working, they tell them that they will have another ball drilled up for them immediately. The up and coming person has the odds totally stacked against them when they're competing. To make this an even playing field, there should only be an allowance of 8 balls for a given day,(that are weighed and serial numbers check) as I'm sure you know this is not done. If your ball or balls are not working, you need to make adjustments without help from your Professional husband or Professional Bowler Ball Rep/Reps, with you being the "Pro" should know how to make your adjustments on your own with out other professional help, as this is what the up and coming bowlers have to do when they are competing. Sounds fair to me!!! But is this what happens ummm no!!! I bowled this week and I saw all of the "Pros" being told where to line up and what shot to shoot. With that said, I believe this is why the WPBA went away in 2003 and if they don't watch out, this will go away as well. It's obvious that the up and coming bowlers are set up to fail when this type of thing is going on, just look at who the bowlers are that continue to win these tournaments.
    Take a look at how the cards are stacked against the up and coming bowler compared to the "Pro".

    Up and coming Bowler
    1.Pays $300-400 entry fee
    2.Pays $150 per ball/8 balls
    3.Pays for room and board
    4.Pays for travel
    5.Has to figure out lane
    conditions/make adjustments
    on their own/no help from
    Reps you are not acknowledged
    by them.

    1.Sponsor pays
    2.Sponsor supply balls for free
    3.Sponsor pay for room/board
    4.Sponsor pay for travel
    5.Sponor Reps line them up, tell them what
    adjustments to make when they struggle.

  2. It's obvious who the Tournament or Sponsors want to win these tournaments, and it's blatantly in your face. I guess they think the up and coming will continue to donate to the prize fund for their "Pros" to continue to win with their help. The up and coming made a statement last year and years priors (2003) hoping this year things would change but if it doesn't I'm sure this will be short lived as the women who compete in these tournaments are not STUPID!!! When you have bowlers being lined up and told where to shoot, you don't have a chance because by the time you figure out the shot or make adjustments, it's too late. But if the Pros had to figure things out on there own the field would be more equal but right now it not. There are other people that feel like me, the playing field should be equal. If they have sponsor, so what, but they should be restricted to the maximum amount of balls and allowed no help at all like everyone else and definitely everyone should have their balls check and weighed like they are in Nationals.(WHY AREN'T THEY)hhhmmmm!!! At Nationals a Woman Professional Bowler had a illegal ball and was told the ball couldn't be used unless she had it fixed, she refused to have it fixed and got caught trying to use it any way. I know this is a long post but, just wanted to voice my opinion. So let it be known the up and coming bowlers are talking!!!

  3. Anon, I placed all of your comments in a blogpost yesterday. You can find that post here: