Open Championship Rule Change Take 2

By Michael Cousins

In our last article, we went over the new “enhancements” USBC has decided to make to its Open Championships.

The main thing we covered was the new changes to the eligibility rule, and how former Jr. Team/Team USA members and current collegiate players must now adhere to the same eligibility rules as professionals in that specific tournament.

My main issue with these changes pertains to Jr Team USA members and current collegiate players. While I don’t personally like the change to the adult team members either, at least I can understand why they made that change. Again, I disagree with it. But I at least get it, I guess, though I think there should be a “statute of limitations” type of thing, so to speak (5 years after your last appearance, you regain your eligibility).

But when it comes to Jr. Team USA members and collegiate players being classified as “professionals,” essentially, is absurd.

Let’s start with Jr. Team USA. It is absolutely asinine that bowlers that made Jr. Team USA as kids, competing against other kids, can be viewed as “professionals.” I understand that some — many, in fact — go onto the PBA after they’ve aged out and have finished college, but those bowlers already have eligibility restrictions, as they have their PBA cards. The ones that chose NOT to follow that path should not be punished just to be punished. It is nonsensical.

And I understand that many former Jr. Team USA members have had success at the OC. Especially recently. But that does not change the fact that many of them were and are amateurs. And the USBC shouldn’t be able to decide who is and isn’t an amateur.

Now onto the current collegiate bowlers. This rule is even more idiotic than the aforementioned. And, again, I understand that some collegiate bowlers have had success at the OC in recent years. Especially last year. I get that. But why are they being punished for that? And, more importantly, why are they all being put under the same umbrella?

Understand this: not all collegiate bowlers are created equal. In fact, nowadays, many programs have 40-50, heck, even more, bowlers in their programs at a time. And remember that new kids arrive every year, basically. And college programs only bowl 5 kids at a time. They travel anywhere from 6-8-10 bowlers per tournament. So that leaves dozens and dozens of collegiate bowlers each year that will have never bowled a single event.

Now these kids, kids that may or may not bowl a single big collegiate event their entire career, are being punished? Why?

I mean no disrespect here, but there are plenty of collegiate bowlers in the country that are not good enough to even be bowling in the open division, let alone good enough to follow the same eligibility rules as professionals. And to think otherwise is ignorant.

Personally, I’m against all of these rules. I won’t pretend I’m not. I do understand where the adult Team USA ruling came from, and I understand where certain people may even agree with it. But I don’t. And that won’t change. But I cannot see where ANYONE could possibly agree with the Jr. Team and Collegiate rulings. Who does this help? How does the enhance the OC?

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