On the eve of the 2019 USBC Masters, Jason Belmonte has revealed an injury that may hamper his quest to win his third major of the 2019 PBA Tour season.
Belmonte suffered an “unfortunate accident at a youth event over the weekend” to his middle finger on his bowling hand. He still plans to bowl the Masters but will do so without using his middle finger, at least initially. Instead, he will use his ring finger and his pinky finger in the other hole to comply with USBC rules.
In an exchange with FloBowling on Tuesday afternoon, Belmonte explained how the injury happened.
“I had my hand in a ball, and I was giving some of the kids a tip,” Belmonte said. “As I swung the ball back with one hand, one of the fellas was holding his ball, and he had moved a little bit. So, when I swung it back, my finger in the ball got jammed into the ball the young fella was holding. As soon as I did it, it split open and started bleeding and the bruising and swelling came up pretty quick.”
Belmonte said the cut itself isn’t the most significant part of the injury.
“It’s pretty sore, but the cut isn’t the worst part; it’s the bruising and the swelling,” Belmonte said. “I can’t bend it. I’ll put my pinky in the ball so I’m within the rules of using two fingers in a three-holed ball.”
Using his pinky finger is something Belmonte said he has “never done before” and isn’t sure how competitive he will be doing it. One thing for certain, Belmonte said, is he “will have to completely change my strategies this week.”
One thing to keep in mind is Belmonte is not required to use his pinky finger for the entire event. Should his injury improve in the coming days, there’s no reason why he couldn’t go back to throwing it the way he normally does.
Belmonte has won two majors so far this season, the PBA Tournament of Champions and the PBA World Championship. Those two victories put him at 11 career major titles, more than any other player in PBA history. He also won the PBA Chameleon Championship at the 2019 PBA World Series of Bowling last week.
Live coverage on FloBowling of the USBC Masters begins at 11 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday with the first round of qualifying.