The goal of all pro bowlers is to earn an exemption. You get to choose which events you want to play, and you don’t have to go through the grueling TQR to get in.
There are a number of ways to earn an exemption on the PBA Tour.
- Win a major championship (U.S. Open, Tournament of Champions, USBC Masters, PBA World Championship), which is worth a multi-year exemption.
- Win a PBA Tour standard title.
- Place in the previous season’s World Point Ranking list, minus those who already earned an exemption, up to a maximum of 42 bowlers.
- Lead non-exempt members (among bowlers who regularly bowl in the TQR) on the World Point Ranking list.
- Finish in the top 7 of the previous season’s PBA Regional Players Invitational.
- Resume a previous exemption after a medical or hardship deferment.
- Receive a Golden Parachute exemption from the PBA, awarded to one non-exempt player by PBA leadership.
Your best shot is to get through the TQR enough times that you either win a tournament or rack up the points. Beating Norm Duke for a tournament title is obviously not going to be easy, but becoming a professional athlete never is.
Being a PBA Exempt Bowler
At this point, you can enter any PBA Tour event you want, and are guaranteed a spot in the tournament. However, you have to earn an exemption every year (unless you win a major, in which case you remain exempt for two or three years, depending on the tournament).
Becoming a professional bowler is much more difficult than most people realize, and remaining a professional bowler is likely almost as difficult.
However, if you’re good enough, and you really want it, the possibility is there. Good luck.