The Professional Bowlers Association will conduct its first event ever in China when the inaugural PBA China Tiger Cup
is held Nov. 8-11 at the 18-lane Suzhou Tiger Bowling Center in Suzhou about an hour west of Shanghai.
The historic tournament that will conclude the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour schedule was announced on Friday by PBA CEO and Commissioner Tom Clark, and tournament host Frank Zhao, the founder and president of Longmarch Bowling.
PBA.com feature photo: A group of Chinese PBA Pioneer League bowlers with program founder Frank Zhao kneeling in front (white shirt toward center).
The tournament will include eight PBA Tour players who will earn expenses-paid berths based on 2019 USBC Cup points earned during the PBA Summer Tour.
The eight PBA qualifiers will then join 56 PBA members from China, Korean, Japan and other Asian countries for an eight-game qualifying tournament. The top 16 bowlers after eight games will then bowl 16 games of round-robin match play for shares of the $106,000 prize fund. A special USA vs. China team event will conclude the event.
The eight PBA Tour stars will qualify during an eight-event PBA Summer Tour schedule between July 24 and Aug. 31. The Summer Tour events will all be live-streamed on FloBowling.
The tournaments will include the Storm PBA/PWBA Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles in Houston, Texas; the Chesapeake Open in Chesapeake, Va.; the Wilmington Open in Wilmington, N.C.; the Gene Carter’s Pro Shop Open in Middletown, Del.; the Bowlerstore Classic presented by Moxy’s Xtra Pair in Coldwater, Ohio; and the PBA FloBowling PBA Summer Swing that will include the Wolf Open, Bear Open and Aurora Open, all in Aurora, Ill.
“The PBA China Tiger Cup is another major step forward as the PBA continues its efforts to grow the sport around the world, and especially in China’s rapidly growing bowling market,” said Clark.
“The China Cup joins the creation of the PBA World Series of Bowling 10 years ago, a partnership with World Bowling on the World Bowling Tour and forming PBA Japan as examples of the PBA working to expose the sport at its highest level to as many people as possible.”
The PBA China Tiger Cup is the culmination of a relationship between Zhao, the China Bowling Association and the PBA that began with the first contingent of six Chinese bowlers competing in the PBA World Series of Bowling in 2014 in Las Vegas after participating in a “PBA Pioneer League” program originated by Zhao to comply with PBA average requirements.
Since its humble beginning, Zhao has conducted 14 PBA Pioneer League events, resulting in 94 bowlers in China and nearby Pacific Rim countries meeting PBA’s minimum average requirements and applying for PBA membership.
“China has huge potential for bowling,” Zhao said. “In the 1990s, there was a big boom with more than 30,000 lane beds installed in China, but it declined sharply. Thanks to bowling industry efforts recently, we have seen growth again. The PBA China Tiger Cup comes right on time to further stimulate the market.”
The titled sponsor of the event is Tiger Bowling which owns three centers in China. Five years ago, the company created a tournament called the Tiger Bowling Challenge involving “traditional” bowlers vs. “spinners,” referring to the standard “hook” style of bowling widely practiced around the world vs. “spinner” technique popular in several Southeast Asian countries that is characterized by lightweight bowling balls propelled by a flick of the thumb.
In its sixth year, the Tiger Bowling Challenge will include a series of monthly tournaments involving hundreds of bowlers competing simultaneously on the same oiling pattern at 14 centers around China.
“How China bowling develops depends on what we do today, said Mr. Lee, owner of Tiger Bowling along with several IT and investment companies. “Tiger Bowling will unswervingly grow bowling. I believe PBA China Tiger Cup will push the development of bowling in China to its new climax.”
The PBA China Tiger Cup adds a crowning touch to an unprecedented schedule of events for PBA players in 2019 that will include:
- 28 PBA Tour title events;
- An extensive schedule of nationally-televised events on FOX, FS1 and CBS Sports Network;
- An expanded schedule of live-stream coverage by PBA Xtra Frame on FloBowling, the PBA’s new online partner;
- A new PBA Playoffs with a $100,000 payoff to the winner;
- Four major championship tournaments;
- The return of fan and player favorites including the 10th anniversary PBA World Series of Bowling, PBA League Elias Cup, CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational, Mark Roth-Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship, 20th anniversary PBA/PWBA Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles and more.
Over the course of the season, the PBA will conduct events in 24 different cities and five countries, including the United States.
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