The Professional Bowlers Association Senior Tour will be re-named as the PBA50 Tour beginning with the 2013 season, PBA Commissioner Tom Clark announced today from the PBA Senior Decatur Open presented by Brunswick, the concluding tournament of the 2012 Senior Tour season.
“The word ‘senior’ is outdated and the title PBA50 more accurately reflects the vibrancy of the players and our competition in this age group,” Clark said.
The change in name is underscored by the continuing stream of stars to the over-50 circuit.
During the 2012 season alone, players including Lennie Boresch Jr., Mike Edwards, Bob Learn Jr. and Amleto Monacelli immediately won titles in their first year of Senior Tour eligibility. Monacelli, the 2012 Senior U.S. Open winner, and Edwards, the 2012 USBC Senior Masters winner, also remain active – and competitive - on the PBA Tour, along with other 50-plus members.
On the PBA50 Tour eligibility horizon are PBA Hall of Famers Pete Weber (Aug. 21), Parker Bohn III (July 13, 2013) and ESPN analyst Randy Pedersen (turned 50 on May 28). Also on the list of future PBA50 competitors are PBA Tour champions Jack Jurek (April 23), Chris Warren (Aug. 27, 2013), David Traber (Jan. 18) and Robert Lawrence (Sept. 29).
The ultimate example of a player having concurrent success on both Tours came two seasons ago when PBA Hall of Famer and all-time Tour career titles leader Walter Ray Williams Jr. made an immediate impact in the senior ranks, winning in his first tournament and going on to earn Senior Rookie of the Year honors. And during the 2009-10 PBA Tour season, at age 50, Williams became the oldest player in any major sport to earn Player of the Year honors.
This season, at the age of 52, he is the favorite to win his first PBA Senior Player of the Year title to go along with his record seven Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year awards.
The 50-plus program also produced previously-undiscovered talent in years past, when highly-talented bowlers who never had a chance to bowl as PBA Tour players reached the age where they could retire and give PBA-level competition a try. Most prominent among that group are Gene Stus, who earned his place in the PBA Hall of Fame as a senior champion, Bob Glass, a three-time PBA Senior Tour Player of the Year, and two-time Senior Player of the Year Ron Mohr.
“There are plenty of good bowlers who are becoming eligible and successful on the Senior Tour each year," Williams said.
Each tournament on the 2013 PBA50 Tour schedule will include the PBA50 moniker along with sponsor affiliation where applicable.
PBA50 also will apply to PBA Regional events that were previously called senior tournaments. The exceptions will be the PBA Senior U.S. Open and United States Bowling Congress Senior Masters which will retain their present names.
In the effort to reach out to younger bowlers, earlier this year PBA introduced the new PBA24 membership program which invites new players 24 years of age and younger to experience PBA competition for a $49 membership fee.