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Our Tournament Team Is Down
We're getting killed when we go to bowling tournaments. For the past year or so, we've settled into a set four-man team which is basically our Friday night's league roster. Up until last year, we were cashing and at least making our entry fees back
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bill Vint | PBA Media Relations
Professional Bowlers Association | 719 Second Avenue, Suite 701 | Seattle, WA 98104
“Thumbless” Mike Miller and Daughter Adrienne to Make History
in $1 Million PBA Tournament of Champions
Quest for $250,000 first prize gets underway Sunday, Jan. 16, at Red Rock Lanes
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Jan. 7, 2011) – After nearly eight years of retirement, Mike Miller of Albuquerque, N.M., will return to Professional Bowlers Association competition in the $1 million PBA Tournament of Champions. One of his competitors – for the first time in PBA Tour history – will be his daughter.
On Monday, Jan. 17 – three days before his 50th birthday – Mike Miller will return to Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour competition for the first time since 2003 when he joins the Elite Field in the $1 million PBA Tournament of Champions at Red Rock Lanes.
On Sunday, Jan. 16, he’ll be in the audience, cheering on his 25-year-old daughter Adrienne Miller as she tries to bowl her way through the Champions Field to join Dad in the Elite Field.
The historic opportunity came their way when the PBA opened eligibility into the 2011 Tournament of Champions to any player who has ever won a PBA title: national, regional, senior or PBA Women’s Series. Mike Miller is not only a three-time PBA Tour winner, but earned Elite Field status because he owns a major title. Adrienne, a three-time collegiate All-American at the University of Nebraska and a former PBA Women’s Series competitor, earned her ticket into the TOC with her victory in a PBA West Regional event in Las Vegas in November.
It has been nearly 20 years since Mike Miller became an “overnight success,” ending his 10-year quest to win a PBA Tour title with a stunning 218-214 victory over Norm Duke in the 1991 PBA National Championship in Toledo, Ohio. At the time, Miller’s surprising victory created a shock wave every bit as damatic as Jason Belmonte’s and Osku Palermaa’s more contemporary PBA Tour victories as two-handed players.
Mike Miller, a journeyman PBA Tour player, turned his career around when he took his thumb out of the ball. His radical “thumbless” delivery created revolutions on a bowling ball he had never before attained. It became a technique hundreds of other bowlers attempted to copy – just like today’s bowlers are trying to master the Belmonte/Palermaa two-handed delivery – to generate more hooking power.
Miller subsequently won two more titles and bowled a nationally-televised 300 game in the 1999 National Bowling Stadium Open in Reno, Nev., before he retired, in part because of chronic wrist problems associated with his unique delivery and in part because it was his time to retire.
The 2011 Tournament of Champions, with its record $1 million prize fund and $250,000 first prize, enticed Miller to return to PBA Tour action. When his daughter also earned an opportunity to bowl in the historic event, the decision to enter was easy.
“The tournament has changed so much from when I was bowling on tour, but having an opportunity to bowl is very nice,” Miller said. “I’ve been having some wrist problems, but I’m sure it’s some muscle problems. I just have to take care of it.
“I haven’t bowled anything in PBA competition since 2003. Hopefully my wrist will get better and I’ll bowl a few more games. I’m still in reasonably good shape; I haven’t let things get away.”
Miller reflected on what it meant to qualify for the Tournament of Champions back in 1991, and what it still means to him.
“It was a huge deal to qualify for the TOC back in my day,” he said. “The first time I bowled it was something I’ll never, ever forget. It was such an awesome event. But with all of the money and effort the PBA is putting into it this year, I’m sure it also will be awesome.
“Obviously that ($250,000 first prize) is a chunk of change,” Miller continued. “I’d love to be in a position to have a shot at it. I have no idea what things will hold for me. I try to keep my options open. If I get on something I like? I know how to win.
“But I have a tremendous amount of respect for players who are at the top of their games. I know what it’s like. I never forgot what Marshall Holman told me after I won for second time, that it’s one thing to get to the top, another to stay there…and how right he was.
“I remember the day I threw my last game on Tour,” Miller said. “I left a ringing 10 pin to miss the cut and I told the guys, I’ll see you later – and I haven’t seen them since. That was it. I chose a different path for my family and my own health, and I’m fine with that.”
Since his retirement, Miller has been involved in the family-run Tenpins and More bowling center in suburban Albuquerque.
“Now that I’m turning 50, I plan to bowl a few PBA Senior Tour events,” he added, “if I can keep up with Walter Ray Williams.”
Bowling in the same event with his daughter is going to be a special treat, Miller said.
“I’m very happy for her. I think she’s a realist as well,” he said. “It’s going to be a little longer road for her (trying to get out of the Champions Field qualifying round), but I’m really proud of her. She’s put in a lot of work. You never know. It happened for Kelly Kulick. Why not my daughter?”
That’s Adrienne Miller’s thought as well. No one in the world expected Kulick to upset a field of 63 male champions in winning the 2010 PBA Tournament of Champions, but she did it.
“I’m so ready. I’m totally pumped,” Adrienne beamed. “It’s really cool to have a chance to bowl with my dad.
“I’ve lost 20 pounds, I’ve been doing yoga, getting in shape, working hard on my bowling,” she said, “and just by getting in shape, I’m bowling a lot better. I’m ready to do it. I want to pull a Kelly Kulick and make the show. Why not? I never thought I’d be able to bowl in the TOC in the first place, so it just goes to show you should never give up.”
Adrienne also notes that people shouldn’t overlook her father, either. He has been nursing his sore wrist, she said, but recently he was at home “moving a couch and his wrist popped. Whatever it was, now everything’s good. He’s been bowling awesome.”
And he’s still not using his thumb.
The PBA Tournament of Champions gets underway with two seven-game qualifying rounds for nearly 100 Champions Field competitors on Sunday and Monday, Jan. 16-17, at Red Rock Lanes. The top half of the Champions Field will then join the Elite Field for qualifying and match play rounds Monday through Friday. The top four after 60 games will advance to the live stepladder finals on ABC Saturday, Jan. 22, at 2:30 p.m. Eastern/11:30 a.m. Pacific.
All of the preliminary round action will be covered live, exclusively on the PBA website's Xtra Frame video streaming service. To subscribe, visit pba.com.
About the PBA
The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) is an organization of more than 3,800 of the best bowlers from 13 countries who compete in Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour, Regional and Senior Tour events. Nearly one million ESPN viewers watch PBA Tour on Sundays during the tour season and thousands watch PBA activities online by using PBA’s video streaming service, Xtra Frame. PBA sponsors include Bayer, Brunswick, Budweiser, GEICO, Golden Corral, Go RVing, Lumber Liquidators, One A Day Men’s 50+ Multivitamin, Pepsi-Cola, Storm Products and the United States Bowling Congress, among others. For more information, log on to the PBA website.
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