PBA exempt bowlers get to pick and choose which events to enter without having to go through the Tour Qualifying Round (TQR), making a PBA Tour exemption extremely valuable to the sustainability (and income) of a professional bowler's career. Without an exemption, a bowler must go through the TQR each week, which, putting it simply, is a tournament in itself in which non-exempt bowlers compete to earn any leftover spots in a tournament not yet occupied buy exempt bowlers. Sound complicated? It's more complicated having to do it. That's why bowlers fight every year to earn exemptions.
The longest available exemption is three years, awarded to the bowler who wins the U.S. Open, and each of the other three major championships are worth two-year exemptions. Every other PBA Tour exemption is worth one year. Because of that, every bowler, whether a rookie or a long-time veteran, has to earn his spot every season to make sure he can stay on the PBA Tour and continue earning money.
This year's PBA Tour roster includes the four major champions from the 2010-2011 season (Norm Duke, Chris Barnes, Mika Koivuniemi and Tom Hess), all-time greats like Walter Ray Williams, Jr. and first-year exempt bowlers familiar to us due to their frequent TV appearances last year like Dan MacLelland and Osku Palermaa.
Would you like to join them? There are a number of ways to earn an exemption on the PBA Tour:
- Win a major championship and receive a multi-year exemption (U.S. Open (three years), Tournament of Champions (two years), USBC Masters (two years), PBA World Championship (two years)).
- Win a PBA Tour standard title and receive a one-year exemption.
- Place in the previous season’s World Point Ranking list, minus those who already earned an exemption, up to a maximum of 42 bowlers, and receive a one-year exemption.
- Lead non-exempt members (among bowlers who regularly bowl in the Tour Qualifying Round) on the World Point Ranking list and receive a one-year exemption.
- Finish in the top seven of the previous season’s PBA Regional Players Invitational and receive a one-year exemption.
- Resume a previous exemption after a medical or hardship deferment, the length of which is determined by the specific exemption you're resuming.
- Receive a Golden Parachute exemption from the PBA, awarded to one non-exempt player by PBA leadership each year (Rhino Page this year), worth a one-year exemption.
Here are the PBA Tour exempt bowlers for the 2011-2012 season:
2011-2012 PBA Tour Exempt Bowlers
|Parker Bohn, III||Left|
|Michael Haugen, Jr.||Right|
|Walter Ray Williams, Jr.||Right|