This past weekend, the Proprietor’s Cup came and went. For those of you that do not know what the Proprietor’s Cup is, it is one of the premier, if not the premier, amateur events in the country. Though it is open to members, it is, without question, an amateur event.
The tournament director, Billy Eysoldt, has turned this into one of the biggest spectacles of the amateur bowling season. I remember when the tournament first started, I was hesitant. A “premier” event, being held on a softer condition, didn’t seem, to me, anyways, to make much sense.
I was wrong.
Every year, the tournament has grown and gotten bigger. And this year, first place paid $27,500 dollars.
To call what Billy has done a success is a rounding understatement. This tournament is on the list of virtually every big amateur in the country’s list of tournaments to bowl each year, and, also, on the list of many of the touring pros.
Billy is a forward thinker, always interested in growing the sport and giving competitive bowlers something worthwhile to bowl. And he has succeeded.
I have gotten the opportunity to talk with several of the competitors from this past weekend’s event and every single one of them, even the ones that did not fair as well as they would have liked, spoke highly of the event, virtually all going as far as to say they cannot wait until next year’s event.
Billy has already gotten paid entries into next year’s event, even though we are virtually a full year out. This has to do with several things, in my opinion.
Sure, a large part of it is the prize fund. If you’re a competitive player, it is hard not to bowl a tournament for $27,500.
Another interesting component of this event that, in my opinion, keeps everyone coming back, is the patterns in which Billy uses. For the most part, these are house patterns. And when the conditions are on the softer side, everyone feels like they have a chance. When you’re bowling on 37’ 1:1, I don’t think many like their chances against Jason Belmonte. But when you put something out that is very playable they have the confidence that, on any given day, they can beat anyone. In some ways, I feel like these players believe that it levels the playing field a bit.
But, in my opinion, above all else, they want to support Billy Eysoldt. Every player I talked to that competed this week spoke highly of him, his staff, and his tournament. And each and every one of them are already making arrangements to bowl next year’s event, because they believe in Billy’s vision going forward.
Every tournament I have ever bowled, the tournament director always says that he hopes next year’s event will be even larger. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. But I never really took it with any weight. But, what I have noticed with the Proprietor’s Cup is different. Pretty much every person I spoke to, with the exception of a couple, truly believe that next year’s event is going to be even bigger than this year’s event. Both in terms of participants and prize fund.
I don’t personally know Billy, but after talking to all of these bowlers that bowled his event, I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of the type of person he is and the vision that he has, and I am all for it.
I am so intrigued by his event that I am considering coming out of retirement next year just to bowl his event, and I implore any and all bowlers considering bowling to shoe up and bowl, as well.