Column: There's A Different Feel At 2021 PBA Tournament Of Champions

2021 PBA TOC field.PNG

JUPITER, Fla. – Walking through Bowlero Jupiter you recognize nearly every face you see – well maybe every pair of eyes you see – at the 2021 PBA Tournament of Champions. Some are old. Some are new. All are talented.

JOIN NOW to watch the PBA Tournament of Champions live on FloBowling

In the waning months (hopefully) of the coronavirus pandemic, the TOC has a vastly different yet familiar feel. There are no fans. Everyone is wearing masks. But the goal remains the same – to win the title and $100,000 first-place prize.

The small 64-player field is filled with players with something still to prove. Whether it’s winning their first national title like AJ Johnson or Brad Miller or trying to miraculously win a fourth TOC title at age 51 like Jason Couch, hoping to show he can still compete at this level.

It’s the first time this group of players have all been in once place to compete in a national PBA Tour event since this pandemic moved into high gear.

During the World Series of Bowling in March, the world seemingly came to a screeching halt mid-event and sent the players scattering for the safety of their homes. Now, they are simply ready to get back to normal, whatever that is.

Although the 2021 PBA Players Championship offered us an opportunity to watch some of the sport’s brightest stars over the past month, qualifying took place across the country. That felt good but it also felt different.

The TOC offers the unique opportunity for bowling fans at home to watch legends of the game competing with players in their prime and those aspiring to reach the next level.

The field is full of PBA Hall of Famers who will no doubt be dominating the PBA50 Tour in short order this year. Chris Barnes, Parker Bohn III, Couch, Norm Duke, Pete Weber and Walter Ray Williams Jr. are all hoping to add just one more major to their resume.

Then there are the players who we almost expect to make the show at a major like this – Jason Belmonte, Bill O’Neill, EJ Tackett, Sean Rash, Jesper Svensson and Anthony Simonsen to name a few.

In all 47 of the 64 players in the field hold at least one national title. The other 17 players, all of whom advanced through the PTQ on Monday, hold at least one regional or PBA50 title.

Among them is Tim Mack, who for a long time was one of the best bowlers in the entire world as he chose to be a globetrotting amateur instead of joining the PBA Tour. Now, he wants to prove he can win on the PBA Tour. He’ll have his chance this week.

There are so many players with such different reasons for wanting to win. Some are old. Some are new. All are hungry.


Lucas Wiseman is the senior editor of FloBowling. He has covered bowling around the world for more than two decades. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

PBA Bringing Back Regional Players Invitational

PBA_RegPlayersInvitational_PR_021721 (1).jpg

The PBA announce Friday the Regional Players Invitational (RPI) will return for the 2021 season with the finals being held after the first of the year.

Jason Belmonte Now Leads 2021 Kia PBA Tournament Of Champions

Belmonte A Little Salty Despite Leading TOC

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

JUPITER, Fla. – Jason Belmonte posted an 8-4 record in match play Thursday as he moved into the lead at the 2021 Kia PBA Tournament of Champions.

Tom Smallwood Still Leads After First Cut At PBA Tournament Of Champions

2020 PBA Playoffs Semifinals Tom Smallwood.JPG

JUPITER, Fla. – As qualifying came to a close Wednesday night, Tom Smallwood stayed at the top of the standings but his lead on the field was nearly cut in half at the 2021 Kia PBA Tournament of Champions.

Tom Smallwood Crushes First Day At 2021 Kia PBA Tournament Of Champions

2021 PBA Players Central Tom Smallwood.JPG

JUPITER, Fla. – With two rounds of qualifying completed, Tom Smallwood holds the lead by a wide margin at the 2021 Kia PBA Tournament of Champions.

Bungled Entry Keeps Kyle Sherman Out Of 2021 PBA Tournament Of Champions

Sherman.Kyle_2020PBAPlayoffsRoundof2413.JPG

JUPITER, Fla. – PBA champion Kyle Sherman is not competing this week in the 2021 Kia PBA Tournament of Champions after he failed to actually enter the event, FloBowling has learned.

Pattern Breakdown: Why Scores May Soar At 2021 PBA Tournament Of Champions

20210222_162218.jpg

JUPITER, Fla. - The 2021 PBA Tournament of Champions takes place this week as it continues the major swing at Bowlero Jupiter. The pattern these bowlers will be up against is the 2021 PBA Don Johnson 40 pattern. 

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Kyle Troup Reaches New Heights With 2021 PBA Players Championship Win

2021 PBA Players finals Kyle Troup.JPG

JUPITER, Fla. – The ascension of Kyle Troup has reached new heights.

Kyle Troup Earns Top Seed For Sunday's Finals At 2021 PBA Players

Troup: 'You Could Feel The Tension'

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

JUPITER, Fla. – Kyle Troup overcame the pressure of competing for a massive, guaranteed payday Saturday as he earned the top seed for the 2021 PBA Players Championship stepladder finals.

Youth Bowlers To Compete For PBA Junior Title This Weekend

PBA_Jr_FINALS.jpg

A group of youth bowlers from across the country will compete in the finals of the inaugural PBA Junior National Championship this weekend.