Professional Women Bowlers Continue on Their Roll
After losing their tour back in 2003, the professional women bowlers are back for a third straight year. Here is a look at this year’s tour events, and an exclusive interview with women’s pro bowler, Diandra Asbaty.
Comments (63)|38 Liked It
After losing their full time tour in 2003, the women pros have been on a mission to reestablish themselves in the world of pro bowling. So far, it is working. Starting this Sunday, on ESPN, they will make their return to television for a third straight year, with the USBC sponsored Women’s U.S. Open. However, they are not done. Their ultimate goal is to get their full time tour back.
Diandra Asbaty: Top Women’s Pro Bowler
Every bit as competitive, entertaining and exciting as the men, any women bowler can wow you at any given moment in any given event. Fans love to watch the lady pros because most of them can relate to their style and technique. Besides that, they are fierce competitors who are downright fun to watch. They go out week after week not only to win but to prove they belong back on the tour full time. Although they are on their way, there is still work to be done, as they try to get the attention of not only more bowling fans, but mainstream sports fans.
Slowly but surely the women have built momentum through a new women’s series of events that has increased three years running. In 2007- 2008, they had four PBA (Professional Bowlers Association), events, plus two USBC (United States Bowling Congress) sponsored tournaments: the U.S. Open and the Queens. Last season, the number of events increased to eight PBA sponsored events and the two mentioned USBC tournaments.
This year, they once again kicked off their season with the U.S. Open, which was held in Las Vegas in early August. From there, they embarked on the new month long World Series of bowling, which included five of their tournaments. All of these were held in Detroit, MI, from early August through the first weekend in September.
After a few months off, there will be two more PBA sponsored Women’s events in January. Then the season will come to a close with one more PBA event and the USBC Queens, both in April.
Like last season, this gives them a total of ten tournaments that include national television exposure on ESPN. Even though the number of events has not increased this year, there have been some significant changes to help bolster the competition and give more women a chance to bowl. Last season, sixteen women took part in the series events. This year there will be twenty. Eight qualified last year with tournament wins, twelve qualified by finishing in the top twelve of this year’s U.S. Open and two more will be added in a qualifying round before each event.
The U.S. Open will be televised over five consecutive Sundays starting at 2 PM EST, September 13th. You will see the top twelve qualifiers battle it out head to head to crown this year’s US. Open Champion.
Then starting on October 25th, you can see the finals of the five PBA Women’s series events held as part of the World Series of Bowling. Here is the television schedule.
- October 25th 1 PM EST: PBA Women’s World Championship
- November 15th 1 PM EST: PBA Women’s Viper Championship
- November 22nd 1 PM: PBA Women’s Chameleon Championship
- November 29th 1PM: PBA Women’s Scorpion Championship
- December 6th 1PM: PBA Women’s Shark Championship
After the World Series of bowling events, the women take some time off, and come back to participate in the annual Don & Paula Carter Mixed Doubles Championship, in Medford Oregon, with the finals being televised on January 10th at 1PM.
One week later they will compete in the PBA Women’s Series Earl Anthony Memorial in Dublin, California. Their championship match will be part of the ESPN television show on January 17th.
Their season finally comes to a close with the PBA Women’s Series Showdown, and the USBC Queens, which will both be held in April. Exact dates and television coverage have yet to be determined. So, stay tuned.
The eighteen women that have already qualified for this year’s series of events are as follows.
2008 Series Champions:Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Jodi Woessner, Liz Johnson, Michelle Feldman, Missy Bellinder, Stefani Nation, Wendy MacPherson
2009 U.S. Open Top Finishers:Amanda Fagan. Aumi Guerra, Clara Guerrero, Diandra Asbaty, Jennifer Petrick, Kelly Kulick, Lynda Barnes, Shalin Zulkifli, Shannon O’Keefe, Shannon Pluhowsky, Tammy Boomershine
If you are a fan of bowling or a sports fan in general, you need to check out the women’s events in ESPN. It is guaranteed that you will not be disappointed. Their competitive spirit and fiery determination are contagious and at times mesmerizing.
The best marketing tool and advertising vehicle to help promote the women pro bowlers are the women themselves. No one can talk about their sport with the kind of passion and desire that truly portrays their love for the sport as they can.
So what about the women bowlers? Who are they? What are they all about? What do they have to say? Here is an exclusive interview with one of the most talented and popular professional bowlers in the world, Diandra Asbaty.
All photos courtesy of Diandra Asbaty
Home: Chicago, IL
Career Highlights and Championships:
- 1999 & 2001 U.S. Amateur Champion
- 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005: Top 10 finisher in USA Bowling National Amateur Championships:
- 2004 & 2007 World Ranking Masters Champion
- 2006 AMF World Cup Champion
- 2007 PBA Women’s Series Great Lakes Classic Champion
- 2008 Qualified for PBA Women’s Series
- 2008 US Open Television Finalist
- 2009 US Open Television Finalist
- 2009 Qualified for PBA Women’s Series
- USBC Silver Certified Coach
- USBC Youth Spokesperson
Diandra is one of the most popular professional bowlers in the world, including the men. She is not only admired for her bowling accomplishments and titles, she is recognized for her passion for the game and for being incredibly fan friendly.
She is one of the most technically sound bowlers you could ever find. Her technique is textbook perfect and can be used as a prototype for teaching and coaching anyone who wants to learn how to bowl or improve their bowling skills. If anyone is looking for a classic, effective, winning style to emulate, they need look no further than Diandra.
Throughout her college, amateur and now professional career she is one of the most decorated women bowlers of the modern era. Her resume of success is long and impressive.
She has traveled the world to not only bowl, but to promote her sport. She has appeared on television shows such as Good Morning America, WGN Morning News, Chicago Tonight News, FOX News, ABC News and NBC News, to spread the word about her sport. She has been interviewed in print by magazines and newspapers like: ESPN Magazine, US Bowler Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, and USA Today. She is a true ambassador for the sport of bowling. She will do just about anything to help make bowling more popular and is always open to new ideas to help accomplish that.
Diandra is a true professional who epitomizes the kind of passion, desire and determination that is admired among her fans and peers. The fire in her eyes while competing can send chills down your spine. Her unflappable composure and focus are the stuff true champions are made of.
To top it all off, Diandra is as down to earth, warm, friendly and genuine as anyone you could ever meet. Success has not gone to her head as she continues to excel in her game and promote her sport as much as she can. She is in tune and in touch with her fans and does everything she can to accommodate them. She will stop what she is doing to give an autograph or take a picture whenever asked. The crowds around her when she is bowling are among the largest on tour including the men. She communicates and touches base regularly with her fans through Facebook and several of her own web sites.
About the 2008-2009 season:
How do you think last year’s events went? I’m just glad there are tournaments for women to bowl. The tournaments were well run and competitive.
Were you pleased with the fan turn out at the events? I was a little surprised that there were not more fans from stop to stop. In some pockets of the United States, bowling is more popular than others. The places that stood out to me, as far as fan attendance goes, were Medford, OR and Detroit, MI. The response to the events was positive. The men don’t mind us out there and the PBA welcomes us to their TV show.
What were your goals for the season? My main goal going into the Women’s Series was to enjoy it, and to make sure other people could tell I love what I do.
What would you have done differently if you could? I didn’t particularly have a great women’s series swing. I would probably focus on my equipment to understand what I could have done better. The lane patterns, oil machine, didn’t match up to my roll.
The word is that the women’s series did pretty well in the television ratings while on ESPN. What do you think of that? Well, I’m pretty sure at least one person flipping through seeing women’s bowling stopped to watch that maybe wouldn’t otherwise.
Did you learn anything from last year regarding where the sport of bowling is, and maybe where it is heading, especially for the women? I learned that it has a lot of great bowlers looking to make a living at what they love to do and what they are best at.
About the upcoming season:
How did you feel about the U.S. Open also serving as the qualifying grounds for the entire PBA Women’s Series? This makes sense. Why not make the US Open the Tour Trials. Everyone interested is there, and we are competing on tough conditions.
What do you think about having the first five women’s PBA events in Detroit all in the course of one month? It makes sense to have all stop in one city to cut down on expenses.
Do you think fans across the country (other than in the Detroit area), who like to see the women bowl live will be disappointed because they will not have that opportunity for the first five series events? No, I think that the women bowling fans out there will be happy to just have women’s bowling on television.
What do you think about allowing two more women to qualify for each event, increasing the number of women allowed to compete to twenty? I think giving more women a chance to compete is great. Since we don’t have a women’s tour, why not allow the opportunity to more women?
About the current state of the sport of bowling:
There is a lot of advertising in the popular bowling journals and web sites, but very little in mainstream sports media. Do you think this should change? If so, how would you go about changing that?When you figure this out, let the PBA, USBC and me know. That’s what they have been trying to do for years. Bowling isn’t the easiest sport to break through mainstream.
If you were asked to make appearances at bowling centers around the country to promote bowling and the women’s series, would you? Most definitely. I’m sure all women bowlers would take the opportunity to promote the women’s series and reach out to those that may not know about it.
We often see men pros like Tommy Jones, Del Ballard, and Chris Barnes helping out the women. Is this something they do on their own? The guys on tour don’t do anything because someone tells them to do it. They genuinely want to help the women. Every experience I have had with them has been positive. I’m honored to bowl next to the best bowlers in the world, and learn so much from them.
How far away would you say the women are to getting their own television contract back and returning to bowling all finals matches on television? Is this a goal right now? I don’t know for sure, but I’d guess that this has been the goal for a long time. These would be questions to ask the PBA.
Who in your mind is the best women’s bowler on tour?Carolyn Dorin-Ballard. She understands what she wants her ball to do and how to get it to do it.
If you could have one one-on-one match for a championship, who would it be against?I had that in 2007 against Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, when I won my first professional title.
More about Diandra:
What other countries have you bowled in?Portugal, Dominican Republic, Australia, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Chile, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, England, to name a few.
What are your proudest moments in bowling? I won my first professional title for my grandma who watched live from her hospital bed. Right after I won, I drove right to her hospital bedside and gave her my trophy. I also held a fundraiser for one of my best high school friends, who had a baby with a very rare syndrome, Cornelia De Lange Syndrome, in 2008. I planned it in a month and raised over $25,000 in one night.
How many 300 games have you bowled in competition? Five
Why should bowling and sports fans watch pro women bowlers? They can relate to our games easier than they can relate to the men professional bowlers. We keep things simpler.
If you had one bowling message to give to current and potential fans, what would it be? There is a lot about bowling that you probably don’t know. The more you know the more intriguing it is. It’s a lot more complicated that most people know.
Diandra has a very successful sportswear clothing line called Kaizen By Diandra. But as she says, “It’s much more than athletic wear. It’s a philosophy.”
You can easily find or contact Diandra at either of her three web sites or on Facebook:
You can find tons of video clips of Diandra on You Tube. Just do a Diandra Asbaty search or to her web site where there are links.
You can catch Diandra on television for the first time this year, Sept 13th on ESPN.