Urethane Test Ongoing At U.S. Open, Ryan Details His Experience

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LINCOLN, Neb. – As the U.S. Open got underway with practice on Monday, players continued to deal with the process of every urethane ball being checked by the United States Bowling Congress.

FloBowling has learned that multiple Purple Hammers were initially found to be too soft through USBC’s testing. Several of those balls were retested with the player present and upon further examination were deemed to be legal on the second test.

Other balls underwent a second test and have failed the hardness test again, although the exact number is unknown at this point. FloBowling has elected not to disclose the name of the players affected, however, Jakob Butturff posted on Facebook that he was one of the players impacted.

Butturff said two of his Purple Hammers passed the initial test and a third failed. Upon a second inspection, the ball came up short of the required hardness spec.

“Unfortunately the result didn’t come out to the standard I wanted it to be...,” Butturff posted. “Two purple Hammers were successful but one came back just short. With bowling balls, you have to reach a level of hardness for it to be approved. That level is 68. My second run came out to 67.8.”

One of the Purple Hammers that failed but was then approved on the second test belonged to Kenny Ryan, a rookie last season on the PBA Tour.

In an exclusive interview with FloBowling, Ryan said he thought the process was transparent and believed USBC was doing the best job they could.

“I checked the balls in last night when the (PBA) truck showed up,” Ryan said. “I got a call from (USBC’s) Greg Moore about 10 p.m., it was pretty late last night. He said the ball failed and they were going to do the second test starting at 7 this morning.”

Although the players are not allowed to be present at the initial test, if their ball failed, USBC invited them to witness the second test.

“I was able to go to the undisclosed place and watch the second test happen,” said Ryan, whose Purple Hammer had a serial number that started with 6K. “If it failed, they keep the ball. If it passes, they drill the mill hole, and I was able to use it. Fortunately, that’s what happened.”

Ryan said USBC staff punched the ball 10 times and the hardness rating was based on the average of those punches. The USBC rule for hardness says it must measure at least 68 on a durometer. Ryan said his ball came in at 68.2 during the second test. He said USBC did not disclose what the reading was when the ball initially failed.

At issue is there has been speculation that some urethane bowling balls are too soft and therefore hook more than they are designed to do. Because of that speculation, USBC, as the governing body, elected to test all urethane balls this week before competition.

USBC held a town hall style meeting at 1:45 p.m. Central today at Sun Valley Lanes. FloBowling was prevented from covering the meeting.

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