by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
Johnny Petraglia had one PBA tournament win under his belt when he was called to serve in the US Army in Viet Nam. Upon returning in 1971, he lit up the PBA tour like a fireworks factory on the Tet Holiday. He won five titles that year, including the Firestone Tournament of Champions. Shoulder length hair and glasses, he looked like a left handed John Eiss of the 70s. Johnny went on to win a total of 14 PBA Titles, got a haircut and a thicker waistline, and went on to add 6 Senior PBA titles to his resume.
But I only found out last week that Mr. Petraglia also authored a scoring system for bowling, and it was used for the first time that I know, at the Women’s PBA Series event aired on ESPN last Sunday. The system is simple, knock down ten pins and your score is the number of balls you had to roll in which to accomplish it. A perfect game score is 10 - over 20 is not too good. I’m not sure I like it, but no one much cares whether I like anything or not anyway. It took me 25 years to get used to the designated hitter. I finally realized that people don’t pay $30-$50 for a ticket to see Bert Blyleven bat, any more than they want to see Dan Gladden pitch, or Phil Cuzzi call fair balls foul.
The Petraglia scoring system reminded me of the modified Stableford scoring that is used once or twice each year on the PGA tour. In that system, you are awarded zero for par, two points for a birdie, five for an eagle, and eight for a double eagle. Points are deducted for bogeys or higher. Double eagles are very rare, but the system creates an interesting risk/reward situation which causes players to shoot for pins on holes where they might lay up at the US Open or Masters. In the Petraglia scoring system, I don’t see the same risk reward feature, because a player is always trying to strike. There could be a small hesitation in shooting at say, a 4-9 split. Do you make sure to get at least one and take your score of three, or shoot to make a two and possible end up with a score of 4 for the frame? But the down side is obvious. A player who rolls a 5 bagger, (sometimes called a Yahtzee), and finishes with 5 spares, receives the same score as an opponent who rolled a dutch 200. I was kidding a few weeks ago when I authored the all-tap tournament, and I think the Petraglia scoring has about the same chance of catching on. Want to make it interesting? Roll one ball per frame, and your score is the cumulative total of the position of pins left. Miss the head pin and leave a 1-2-4, and your score is 7. Bury one in the pocket and leave a stone 8, and your score is 8. Low score wins.