The U.S. Women's Open, a United States Bowling Congress event, will return this fall with five consecutive weeks of telecasts on ESPN, showcasing the world's best women bowlers on national television for the second consecutive year.
The event will take place July 31-Aug. 6 in the Chicago suburb of Romeoville, Ill., at Brunswick Zone XL. All five telecasts will be taped Aug. 5-6 and will air for five consecutive weeks beginning Sunday, Sept. 7 on ESPN at 1 p.m. Eastern.
The PBA Women's Series, presented by USBC, will also return for the 2008-09 Denny's PBA Tour season with at least seven events. The Women's Series field will be primarily determined through the PBA Women's Tour Trials, which uses the qualifying scores from the U.S. Women's Open.
In all, women's bowling will be featured on ESPN for at least 12 weeks between the U.S. Women's Open and Women's Series events.
The U.S. Women's Open, which was won in 2007 by Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., will follow a similar format as it did last year when it returned for the first time in four years. Players will compete in four eight-game blocks of qualifying over four days beginning Aug. 1 before the field is cut to the top 16 who will appear on television.
The first four telecasts will consist of the Round of 16 and quarterfinal matches. The final show, to air on Oct. 5, will feature the semifinals and championship match.
"We were very pleased with the success of the U.S. Women's Open last year and are proud to once again conduct this great event," USBC Chief Operating Officer Kevin Dornberger said. "Showcasing women's bowling at the highest level is important in sustaining our goal of growing the sport."
The U.S. Women's Open, which has an entry fee of $250 and is open to any USBC female member, features the world's best professional and amateur bowlers and was a major on the Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour until that organization folded in 2003.
The Women's Series will again be featured alongside PBA Tour events, and most of the Women's Series stops will consist of a field of 16 players, however, one event will feature 32 players.
The 16-player field is made up of the four winners of last year's Women's Series events (Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Shannon Pluhowsky, Joy Esterson and Diandra Asbaty) as well as 12 players from the Women's Tour Trials. Players who earn spots in the PBA Women's Series must become PBA members.
Players can enter the Women's Tour Trials for an additional $750 and use their qualifying scores from the U.S. Women's Open to determine the top 12 players who advance to the Women's Series.
One Women's Series event will showcase 32 players with the additional 16 spots coming from the final standings of the Women's Tour Trials.
The Women's Series and Tour Trials debuted last year alongside the Denny's PBA Tour and U.S. Women's Open to create the first women's bowling tour since the PWBA ceased operations in 2003.