U.S. Team brings out the Big Guns to the 2006 Weber Cup



    Three PBA pros to join Mack and Hoffman

    Following on from the ratings success of the Weber Cup's debut live airing on Sky Sports last year, the Weber Cup team event returns to the Barnsley Metrodome this autumn from 20-22 October.

    Styled on golf's Ryder Cup, the Weber Cup features two five man teams representing Europe and the USA doing battle over three days in a series of singles, doubles and team matches to determine the destination of the Weber Cup - named after bowling legend Dick Weber.

    Team Europe's cliff-hanger 18-16 victory last year squared the overall series at three Weber Cups apiece but for 2006 the U.S team has seriously upped the ante with what on paper, looks their strongest team yet.

    Tim Mack comes back from injury to once again captain the team and he brings in World Masters champion PBA star Chris Barnes – the fastest man ever to win a million dollars on the Pro Tour in the US.

    Also from the Professional Bowlers Association Tour are Tommy Jones and Jason Couch. Jones was named 2006 PBA Player of the Year following a momentous season that saw him land the 63rd US Open title.

    The 35 year-old Couch has 13 PBA titles to his name and will be a major asset to Mack's side. Completing the team is Weber Cup veteran Bill Hoffman of Ohio. 'Hoff' has three Weber titles to his name and will be bringing plenty of experience to the lane.

    European captain Tomas Leandersson returns with two changes to team that took victory last year. Back comes one of Europe's most successful ever bowlers, Tore Torgersen of Norway. New to the team is another star of the American pro circuit, Finland's Mika Koivuniemi who has won six titles in a seven-year career in the States.

    2005 winners, Jen Nickel of Germany, the 2005 World Tenpin Masters champion, and Paul Moor, Europe's number one, retain their spots.

    All matches will be played in a single lane arena, which has been specially constructed for the event. Television production will be handled by Sky Sports who will be sure to come up with some new innovative ideas following on from the success of last year.

    European Captain Tomas Leandersson is under no illusions as to the job facing his team, "Sure they have some big guns this year but my team have shown they have what is required to win the Weber Cup.

    "We haven't lost a Weber Cup since 2002 and I believe that we have enough skill, experience and competitiveness to hold off the Americans and make it four wins in a row.

    For Tim Mack, 2006 represents a marvellous chance to stop the rot, "One or two of the guys may be new to the format and the lane but as Chris Barnes showed in winning the Masters, it doesn't take long to adapt.

    "This will be tough alright but I really believe that Team USA have a great chance this year of winning back the Weber Cup."

    USA rallies troops for 2006 Weber Cup

    The annual Europe versus America team challenge, the Weber Cup, will again take place this year at the Barnsley Metrodome, Barnsley, Yorkshire, over the weekend of October 20-22.

    Three days of head-to-head one-game singles, doubles and Baker team matches will again this year be screened live on by Sky Sports. The winning team will be the first to win 18 of the scheduled 35 matches.

    2004PBA15ChrisBarnes.jpg 2004JPNCupTommyJones3.jpg The U.S. team select squad will feature Tim Mack, who is apparently recovered from his shoulder injury. Mack will be joined by three PBA stars: Chris Barnes (left), who won the $200,000 Motel 6 Roll to Riches top prize twice, 3-time Tournament of Champions winner Jason Couch and PBA Player of the Year Tommy Jones (right). Joining those four is two-time U.S. National Amateur champion Bill Hoffman.

    The American team will try to win the trophy for the first time in four years. Currently standing at three wins apiece, the challenge promises to be a tension filled weekend of top flight bowling in the arena atmosphere that promoters Matchroom Sports have created. Team Europe is also supposed to be looking at a PBA star to join their squad, which limits the possible selection to maybe Mika Koivuniemi.

    "The Weber cup has finally gained the worldwide recognition it deserves after 6 years or rivalry, similar to the Ryder Cup in Golf," said TV commentator Cass Edwards. "The Live TV program must surely be the greatest live televised bowling show ever (outside the USA) with three PBA stars making the trip to try to regain the Weber Cup back to the USA."