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NOTE: The urethane tests have concluded. To watch Jakob Butturff go through the process, click here.
With speculation about the legality of certain urethane bowling balls, the United States Bowling Congress has announced it will test every urethane ball before it is allowed to be used at the U.S. Open this week.
Although there has been no evidence of any balls being illegal, USBC said it will test the hardness of every urethane ball in order to collect field data. Any ball found to be illegal will be banned from competition and confiscated.
“In order to collect field data and govern the U.S. Open, USBC will take an additional step to verify urethane balls used in the event,” USBC said in this document. “The goal is to collect valid data related to a topic where public discussions are continuing, and to ensure all balls used in the competition meet USBC specifications. USBC will publish a report in March with results of the testing. As with all USBC research, manufacturer and player names will not be published in the report.”
At issue is that some think that some urethane balls, specifically the Purple Hammer, are too soft, therefore allowing the balls to hook more than they should with a urethane cover.
It’s important to note that no bowling balls have been deemed illegal at this point and there is no evidence to support the claims. However, USBC’s test will provide clarity on the topic and either confirm or alleviate those concerns.
Players will have to check in all of their urethane equipment with USBC staff, who will take the balls to a secure room for testing. The process could take several hours as the balls must be at a certain temperature before being tested. All balls that are approved after testing will be marked with a mill hole.