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Old Jan 26, 2010, 06:02 PM   #1
bradl
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Kelly Kulick makes Sports History

While everyone has been working themselves up over the Apple Event, and the SOTU Address on Wednesday, many don't realize that a piece of sports history was made on Sunday. Sunday marks the first time in the sport of professional bowling, that a woman has beat a man in a tournament, ending a 52-year barrier in the sport.

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Kulick beats the PBA boys, makes history at Red Rock

Calls milestone victory a 'dream'


By JEFF WOLF
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL


Kelly Kulick used a 15-pound bowling ball to smash a 52-year barrier when she became the first woman to win a PBA Tour tournament.

Kulick, 32, accomplished the milestone Sunday at Red Rock Lanes in the Tournament of Champions, one of four "major" events in the Professional Bowlers Association.

"It's been a dream of mine to win a PBA Tour event, but I couldn't have imagined it would come in the Tournament of Champions," Kulick said moments after defeating Chris Barnes 265-195 in the championship game aired live on ESPN.

"This day will never be forgotten, and my mom was here to see it."

In addition to winning $40,000, the right-hander from Union, N.J., will be assured a spot in PBA Tour event starting fields for two years.

The previous best finish for a woman in a PBA Tour event was Liz Johnson's second-place finish in the 2005 Banquet Open.

Kulick earned a berth in the prestigious event by winning the PBA Women's World Championship in September, the first PBA women's major tournament since the U.S. Bowling Congress began funding two years ago a part-time division for women in the PBA.

She is one of the top woman bowlers in the world and owns two major women's titles: U.S. Bowling Congress Women's Open (2001) and Queens (2007).

Her foray into the male-dominated PBA world began in 2006 when she became the first woman to earn a PBA Tour exemption by finishing sixth in the PBA Tour Trials tournament. Her best efforts in the 2006-07 season were two 22nd-place finishes.

"I'm just happy for the sport of bowling. I hope all of America was watching," said Kulick, who earned a degree in physical and health education from Morehead State in Kentucky where she was a two-time collegiate bowler of the year.

"The pins don't recognize gender. And I probably outweigh Norm Duke by 20 or 30 pounds," she said of the diminutive reigning PBA player of the year.

In the first playoff game, Finland's Mika Koivuniemi eliminated Rhino Page, 255-215. Kulick, the No. 2-seed, then defeated Koivuniemi, 227-223. She started the championship game with four strikes before leaving the 7-10 split in the fifth but rallied for six straight strikes, including one in the ninth to lock up the title.

"When I came back and got a strike after the 7-10 it really calmed me down," she said.

Kulick averaged 250 over her last six games Friday night to climb from sixth place to second after 48 games of qualifying and match play.

"Being in a position where I had to work my way back into the top four took pressure off of me," Kulick said.

She believes that comes from a steady dose of positive thinking from her mother Carol who was on hand Sunday.

"We really try to see the glass as half full rather than half empty," Kulick said. "Whatever was going to happen (Sunday) was going to make me a winner.

"(My mother's) faith and belief in me is amazing. She's always believed I could make a living at this."

Kulick, however, didn't have to make a believer out of Barnes, who had trouble getting his ball to react to the lane conditions. He left a solid 10-pin and an 8-pin, and mustered only one double.

No man on Tour better understands the potential of women bowlers than Barnes. His wife of 10 years, Linda Barnes, is a pro and won the last PBA women's tournament.

"I know how good woman bowlers are," said Barnes, who won the tournament in 2006. "Kelly bowled a fantastic game. She lined up very well on that pair."
If memory serves me right, outside of exhibition matches, this is the first time that a woman has beaten a man in any professional sport (I am not counting wrestling as a professional sport), let alone on national television.

I personally happen to know Kelly, and for her to accomplish this, let alone any woman to do this has been a long time coming. Congratulations to her, and I hope this serves as a wake-up call that with all things being equal, women are just as good as men in any sport.

BL.
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Old Jan 27, 2010, 12:02 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by bradl View Post
If memory serves me right, outside of exhibition matches, this is the first time that a woman has beaten a man in any professional sport (I am not counting wrestling as a professional sport), let alone on national television.
Would the fabled 1973 "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match be considered an exhibition match? Billie Jean King whoop up on Bobby Riggs on national tv.
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 04:22 AM   #3
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Would the fabled 1973 "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match be considered an exhibition match? Billie Jean King whoop up on Bobby Riggs on national tv.
I would think so. Let's put it another way. Did Billie Jean King enter a men's tournament and beat all the men in her path to winning the entire thing?

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Old Jan 28, 2010, 08:19 AM   #4
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did she beat him while playing Flick Bowling on the iPad?

if not, no wonder is this "not news".
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 08:36 AM   #5
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Bowling is not a sport.
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 09:35 AM   #6
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Bowling is not a sport.
Then neither is golf.
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 10:18 AM   #7
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Bowling is not a sport.
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Originally Posted by CorvusCamenarum View Post
Then neither is golf.
I agree with both of these assessments.

I would also add car racing to the list, and it may very well be the most popular of the bunch.

(And for what it's worth, of the three choices mentioned, I'd say bowling is the closest to a real sport.)
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 10:58 AM   #8
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Then neither is golf.

I have no argument with you.
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 11:06 AM   #9
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I'm kind of puzzled that it hasn't happened before. It's not like bowling - even at the pro level - requires so much more body strength that men would have a major advantage.

My best guesses are that not that many women have tried to break into the PBA, and that it might be a stamina issue because of the sheer number of games one has to bowl just to qualify for a tournament. But I'm still surprised.
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 04:10 PM   #10
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Bowling is not a sport.

As an avid bowler of 32 years, I genuinely and vehemently say 'bollocks'.

Just because you don't see it every day or every weekend with some idiots making more on their shoe deal with Nike or Puma doesn't make it anywhere near a sport. BTW: Bowling is the No. 1 participation sport in the United States, with more than 66 million people bowling annually. This number is expected to reach over 100 million this year.

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I'm kind of puzzled that it hasn't happened before. It's not like bowling - even at the pro level - requires so much more body strength that men would have a major advantage.

My best guesses are that not that many women have tried to break into the PBA, and that it might be a stamina issue because of the sheer number of games one has to bowl just to qualify for a tournament. But I'm still surprised.
The PBA didn't allow women to enter their tournaments up until 2005. The women were resigned to forming their own professional tour. That went defunct in 2003. But to answer your question, those bowlers on the PBA who have one a tournament are exempted from having to bowl a pre-qualifying tournament to even make it to the main one. So in 2008, Liz Johnson, who was one of the first women to take a crack at it, had to bowl this pre-qualifying tournament, which was 32 games. She won that. Then the Qualifying round of the main tournament came, which was another 32. That got cut to the top 64 bowlers (Johnson was one of them) which was another 32 games. Then cut to the top 5, which bowl on TV. Johnson qualified 4th. Overall, she placed 2nd in that tournament, after bowling 97 games. The person that eventually won that tournament, Wes Malott, only bowled 65.

Stamina definitely isn't the problem. In Kelly's case, she qualified for this tournament (Tournament of Champions) by winning the Women's Bowling series. Total, she bowled 66 games for this (32 of qualifying, 32 of match play, 2 in the Finals). The women also bowled that many games on their own tour when that was running. Both the men and women do this each week. I'd love to see any of the rest of us here take a crack at that many games over a week, win the lot, and take home a check for $60,000. Even those in the top 24 got paid. And to think that those that play gridiron or basketball have to hope they get drafted to even be able to play.

BL.

Last edited by bradl; Jan 28, 2010 at 04:55 PM.
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 04:41 PM   #11
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Thanks. I hadn't realized that the women's tour went under, or that the number of games was the same.
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 05:46 PM   #12
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wow...nice.
congratulations to her!
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