I’m going to put aside a memoir this month and write an op-ed. I’ve become more and more annoyed with the stepladder finals. When the PBA was formed there was no stepladder, for that matter there wasn’t a stepladder in any other tournament either. When the PBA acquired TV it had to figure out how to have a format that would crown a champion in an hour and a half, and the stepladder was born. Everybody pretty much went along with it because if you were the leader and now had to win the tournament twice, at least there was a bigger prize fund because of TV and there were TV incentives for ball, shoes etc. But now every tournament has a stepladder with no TV and no added incentives.
I just recently watched a state HS tournament for the state singles title. The leader after waiting 3 games got 1 practice frame on each lane and ended up losing the title by 2 pins, and to make matters worse they bowled on a pair that wasn’t used in the tournament. There’s only one other sport that’s like ours. It’s golf… in both sports you’re an individual against the elements with no defense. Team sports and tennis have defense. Olympic sports don’t have a leader. Only Golf and bowling are the same.
So let’s take golf and use the stepladder like they do in bowling. The Masters is coming up this week. So let’s say Dustin Johnson after 4 days and 72 holes is the leader. The officials say, as leader you get to play the 18th hole for the Masters title against the survivor of the 4 golfers 2 thru 5. But you’ll be playing the 18th hole at Atlanta CC not Augusta because we have to use a hole that hasn’t been played on in the tournament.
So they go to Atlanta CC and Dustin plays a golfer who has played the 18 hole,2,3, or 4 times. Dustin gets one or two practice swing off the tee, but doesn’t get to play the entire hole. And the winner of the hole is the Masters Champion. ..Pretty silly isn’t it? This is my solution. The stepladder isn’t going to go away. So when there is no TV and no time restraint… If you have to win the tournament twice, you have to be beat twice!! On TV where there is a time restraint the cameras have to be set up for 4 lanes and the leader gets to choose which pair they want to bowl on.
One final example of how the stepladder affects someone’s career. Marshall Holman’s record in title matches when he was the leader is 9 and 21. Assuming he won 6 times from another position, if there was no stepladder Holman would have 35 titles instead of 20. In my case I have 14 tour titles and 8 Sr tour titles. I’ve lead 35 times and won 4 times from another position. I would have 31 titles instead of 22. On the other side a bowler who will remain nameless had 6 titles before he lead a tournament.
All I’m looking for is fairness, cento anni’…Johnny Petraglia