by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
If you have ever taken a Mulligan on the golf course, it’s called cheating. If you say that you have never taken a mulligan, that’s called lying. The Irish used to scavenge golf balls from the ponds and woods on the course, boil them with cabbage, and call it mulligan stew. But we all know that mulligans are forbidden in bowling; Except for one day in Erie, PA in 1996. Bob Learn Jr. began the stepladder with a 300 game, and faced Parker Bohn in match 2. Learn left a ten pin in the second frame and missed it. The officials ruled fan interference and allowed Bob to re shoot the spare. He converted and went on to defeat Parker 280-279. He also went on to win the title and set a four game scoring record in the process. Later the PBA dropped fan interference from the rules, but I always wondered what had happened that was so terrible. The TV announcers did not go into detail, so I figured someone streaked down the right side of the lane, mooned a bowler, sprayed beer all over the front row, or some other dastardly deed.
So when Randy Pederson made a stop at Mermaid Lanes this month, I asked him what happened that day. He told me someone in the front row down the lane moved. Hmmmm. I was a little disappointed with the response but he also explained that event eliminated the fan interference call from the rules. Then he anticipated my next question, because in the Tournament of Champions at the Mohegan Sun a year or two later, Randy himself was victimized in the semi-final match against Norm Duke when a spectator stood up and hollered as Randy hit the foul line in the tenth frame. The result was a shaker seven which cost him the match. Fan interference was no longer in the rules. Randy has thirteen career PBA titles, but was also burned at the 1995 TPC. I don’t remember the city, but Randy was bowling for the title against a senior player, Ernie Schlegel. Needing a strike in the tenth frame, Pederson left the only true tap in bowling, a stone 8 pin. Schlegel’s antics after winning while sitting on the bench would have qualified him for turkey of the year. I couldn’t tell if Randy was impressed that I knew this stuff, or depressed that I brought up bad memories, but I found him to be very personable and professional. He signed an autograph for me and I watched him work with some younger bowlers for awhile. One thing I forgot to mention was his wire to wire victory in the sausage races at Miller Park prior to the 2008 Masters.
I was hoping for a fifty dollar pot game for guys over 50, but Randy seemed to have a slight limp, Greg was too busy, and Jerry Profant had something wrong with his hand.
Oh well, maybe Carmen Salvino will come to town some day. Happy New Year everyone!