Bill O’Neill is back? Was he ever truly “gone?”
Over the last three and a half years, I am sure that if you asked O’Neill, himself, he’d be pretty unhappy with his results. By his standards, at least, they haven’t been up to his standards.
And if you ask the casual fan, I am pretty sure they’d say O’Neill has had a disappointing run, if they only went off of TV shows. And I understand why they’d feel that way. But that just isn’t the case. Not. At. All.
Over that same timeframe, I would argue that O’Neill has remained one of the absolute best and most consistent players in the world.
His last singles title came at the 2015 Oklahoma Open. Since that time, he has won three doubles events, though.
In that time, though, O’Neill remained his normal, competitive self. Multiple, multiple times — including at some majors — O’Neill was just a couple breaks away from making the show. He has remained steady, remained consistent, and remained competitive.
He’s every bit as good as he’s ever been. And he showed it just last week with his 2019 Hall of Fame Classic title.
Making shows is hard. Winning is even harder. But O’Neill has been right there. And he finally broke back through.
Casual fans, though, wouldn’t understand. If you don’t follow the tour week in and week out, you don’t see the live scoring results, or watch FLOBOWLING, you may think O’Neill has been in a slump. You may argue he’s been struggling. You may argue that he’s been irrelevant. But you’d be wrong. Very, very wrong.
O’Neill hasn’t gone anywhere, and he isn’t going anywhere soon. He’s going to win many, many more titles in his career because he’s just that good. He’s one of the absolute best in the world, and he always has been and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
And that is just because he’s too good. He’s one of the absolute most talented players in the world.
To the naked eye, his physical game may not “wow” you, per say, but to those that know the game well, his physical game is excellent. His game is simple and compact. His lines are absolutely perfect. His ball roll is excellent. And his touch and feel rival absolutely anyone’s. And he didn’t lost any of that. He never has.
I had a bowler come in on Monday — the day after the show — and said, “Man, I was shocked to see O’Neill back in the winner’s circle.” I responded with “Really? I don’t think any of us around the sport feel the same.”
I proceeded to go into detail explaining to him the very same things I am saying in this blog. And it is all true. Anyone who knows bowling and knows O’Neill new this wasn’t a matter of IF but, rather, a matter of WHEN. He was always going to win again. And he’s going to win a lot, lot more in his career, and probably even this season.
Bill O’Neill isn’t “back.” He was never, ever gone.