By Michael Cousins
One of the first blog posts I published here went over the Open Championship’s new changes. These changes, such as keeping the patterns a secret, were made, in part, to bring integrity back to the tournament and the USBC had hoped that this would lead to a more level playing field.
In my blog, I argued that, by them keeping the pattern hidden, it would actually, if anything, benefit the more talented players.
I was met with a certain level of skepticism by many. Some of our readers felt that I was wrong and that these new changes would “level the playing field” and give the average players a chance to make a run of their own this year.
However, my argument was that, given that no one will know the patterns, the better players are going to figure it out and adapt faster and more effectively than the average players. And if you look at the top of the current leaderboards, that is exactly the case.
Atop of virtually every single Regular event, you can find names that are well known throughout the bowling industry. Names that include the likes of Matt Gasn, Adam Barta, Jacob Boresch, Brian Waliczek, and many, many others.
This is by no coincidence.
These bowlers aren’t where they are by chance or happenstance. They are where they are because they are some of the very best amateurs that our sport has to offer.
These vary names would be at the top of the standing sheets – and have in past years – regardless of whether or not the USBC had released the patterns prior to the event. Not because they had access to the patterns. Not because they had access to unlimited bowling balls. Not because of any other variable outside of talent and skill; these guys are good.
I appreciate the USBC attempting to level the playing field. It was worth a try. But it is impossible to level the playing field out there because the field, itself, is not level. And it never will be.
In our sport, like all sports, we have differing talent levels. We have top-tier talent, mid-tier talent, and low-tier talent. And at the USBC Open Championships, they’re all on display. The separate divisions, no doubt, help. But even within the same division, there are different tiers and different levels of talent.
The top-tier talent, by definition, is going to, more often than not, find their way to the top of the leaderboard. There is nothing anyone can do about that. You can keep patterns a secret, you can limit the amount of bowling balls per entrant, but none of it will matter. Talent always rises. It always has, and it always will. Regardless of the format, the variables, or the patterns, good bowlers will bowl good because they are good.