Are We Underrating Jason Belmonte?

By Michael Cousins

Qualifying is done, matchplay has finished, the stage is now set, and Jason Belmonte is once again just one win away from a major title, which would be his fourth Masters title and his eighth major title.

When it comes to Belmonte, we aren’t just watching the best bowler in the world at work, we’re watching one of the greatest ever, in his prime, dominate in a way we haven’t seen in well over a decade.

The last run we’ve seen close to this is that of Walter Ray Williams Jr. Williams went on a tear from 1993-2003, winning thirty-one titles, including five majors, over the course of those ten years. But, one must remember that back then there were many more tournaments for bowlers to compete in, thus allowing Williams to bowl more events and win more tournaments.

Nevertheless, we cannot discredit what Williams accomplished; his run was that of legend. Many believed that we – the bowling community – would never witness a run like that again. But, alas, here we are, in 2017, witnessing the game’s greatest bowler – and it really isn’t close – on a tear of his own.

Belmonte began bowling on tour full time in the 2009-2010 season. In that time, he has won thirteen titles and seven majors (and bowling for his eighth), more majors than that of Williams’ run.

When bowlers are discussing the game’s all-time greats, they regularly name Earl Anthony, Pete Weber, Williams Jr, Norm Duke, etc. but they almost never mention the name of Jason Belmonte. Why is that, you might ask? It is simple: due to his unique and controversial style, we are taking him for granted.

Belmonte is one of the must scrutinized players of all-time. His two-handed delivery is viewed by many as an “unfair advantage.” Every time he wins another tournament, there are always those old school purists instantly ready to discredit his most recent accomplishment.

Fact of the matter is this, whether you like it or not: we are watching one of the greatest to ever do it. This isn’t a matter of opinion. His stats speak for themselves. Stop making excuses about the two-handed delivery. Belmonte has to make quality shots, just like everyone else. He has to make adjustments, just like everyone else. He has to bowl, just like everyone else.

Never have we seen a bowler combine this level of raw power with this level of shot making. Never have we seen a bowler combine his level of physical skill with his level of mental fortitude and discipline. Never have we seen a bowler like Jason Belmonte.

It is far too early to call Belmonte the single greatest bowler in the history of the sport. What has made guys like Weber and Williams so rare and special is that they’ve been able to do it – and do it at a high, high level – for decades. But it isn’t too early to start speculating.

Jason Belmonte is just 33 years of age. He is still in the midst of his prime. And while there are likely not enough tournaments today for him to rival the total titles of Weber, Anthony, or Williams, there is plenty of time for him to put together a resume worthy of comparisons.

It is time we stop complaining. It is time we stop making excuses. It is time we realize that the two-handed game isn’t going anywhere. It is time to accept it, embrace it, and stop criticizing it. It is time we acknowledge Belmonte’s greatness, admire it, appreciate it, and enjoy it while we still can.

2 thoughts on “Are We Underrating Jason Belmonte?

  1. Tom Comparetta says:

    I think Jason is a fantastic talented player probably the best out there right now, comparing him to Walter ray is like comparing Walter ray to Earl, they are all great players BUT there are many great players that are out there that are not getting the media coverage these other players get. If the media bloggers would look at all the players and give everyone the same coverage I think you would find great player in earls time Like Mark Roth, Johnny Petraglia or in walter’s time Norm duke, Pete Weber have accomplished great things just without the media backing.

  2. Marc says:

    Excellent write-up. It’s hard to compare different eras, but he is definitely making the case to be considered among the all-time greats.

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