Its finally here.
The the greatest event in the world. Possibly the hardest tournament to win, 492 bowlers on the most demanding lane pattern in an unpredictable bowling centre.
Today we had the practice session. 82 lanes, you could bowl anywhere you wanted. The bowling centre is situated in New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA. There are 46 on the higher level and the rest are on a floor only 6 steps lower.
But the differences from the top end to the low end are much greater than the 6 steps it takes to walk down.
Lanes 1-46 play much drier. The ball reads the backend harder and you will find the lanes will break down not only completely different, but much faster.
Lanes 47-82 are so much tighter down lane and there is no real defined hook spot pair to pair. For me the down stairs lanes will be much lower scoring, so sparing will be so important (not that it isn't normally).
The bowling centre was packed today for the Pro-Ams they had. 82 lanes with 5 on a lane for 2 squads. The pro's are constantly being asked for autographs and photos, people are forever saying "Hi, do you remember me, we met 7 years ago", or "Hi, how do you get that spin on your ball". The questions are relentless and the pro's prove that not only are they amazing players, but they respect each and every bowler there with polite and honest answers.
Pro-Ams consist of 3 games, with the pros moving a pair to their right after every 5 frames. Its a long day, especially when you have 10 to a pair.
Im am extremely lucky for 2 reasons this time on my travels. Jason Walsh, one of my great mates from back home has joined me for this trip and Bill O'neil (one of the exempt pro bowlers) is putting us both up at his place for the week.
Billy is a great bowler who is also a great guy. He is young (26) and is one of the rising stars of the PBA tour. Usually when i travel to the states or he travels overseas we hang out as much as we can.
The practice session is done and dusted, tomorrow its for the main event. We are all bowling 'C' squad, so we dont start till late, but at least we can have a little look at how the lanes are playing.
Will let you know how Me, Walshy, Billy and Mike Fagan (another young rising star of the tour who is also staying with Billy) go. Lets hope we all strike alot