by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
Welcome back to the South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas for the final leg of the animal patterns. If you were born between October 24 and November 22, and you believe in Zodiac signs, you are a Scorpio. However, after the despicable character named Scorpio in “Dirty Harry” you are marred for life. So the PBA added an “n” and named their toughest pattern “Scorpion”. A scorpion is a less than friendly critter; a predatory arthropod with a venomous stinger, which I suppose makes it a typical demonstrative name for an oil pattern.
I enjoyed watching the finals on ESPN very much, because it took me back a number of years to the days of Dick Weber, Don Carter, Ray Bluth, Billy Welu, Carmen Salvino, and many other professional bowlers of the 60s era. I was a kid then, and watched these guys on TV. They were using hard rubber bowling balls and for the most part, would hit the third arrow (15 board) straight up, and hopefully hook the ball 2 or 3 boards to hit the pocket. On many of their strikes the five and seven pin did not clear the deck but fell to the left or right. If you have ever heard the term “Dick Weber wall shot” you may know what I am talking about. And if you have ever heard a PBA bowler shout “That’s what I’m talking about” he may be referring to Mr. Weber’s wall shot.
What I am talking about is the way the pros played the 47 foot scorpion pattern. The preliminary match featured Martin Larsen from Sweden, Scott Newell with his Julius Dixon hair style, and Tom Hess, the right handed version of Daron Hansen. Each of these gentlemen were playing fairly deep, around the 20 board, with aggressive bowling equipment in hopes of carrying the pocket hits. Sometimes it worked, but I saw a lot of ten pins. Former Masters champion and sod buster from Urbandale, Iowa, Tom Hess eliminated himself with one of the flattest 8 pins I’ve ever seen on TV, and Martin Larsen overcame a 7th frame 4-9 with a four bagger (not a hambone), to advance to face Michael Haugen. It was a great match and I thought we may have a replay of the Cheetah tournament, when Haugen went through the nose and left a 4-10 to open the tenth frame. Larsen needed a double in the tenth, but after getting the first one, he came up a little high and found himself staring at the Greek church. I am a Greek church veteran, and I can assure you that you do not have to miss by much to leave those ugly five pins, and Michael Haugen ended up with his 4th PBA title. He earned it.