Clipped From Tampa Bay Times

bsparks243 Member Photo

Clipped by bsparks243

 - His toyir of duty is a D most commipDete After...
His toyir of duty is a D most commipDete After sparkling career, Durbin's ready to quit By MARC TOPKIN St. Patartburg Timat Stiff Wrltf MIAMI Mike Durbin remembers the beginning. beginning. He's enjoyed the middle. And now he recognizes the end. Durbin won the first of his 14 Professional Bowlers Association titles in Tampa in 1967 and collected $5,000. Friday, the 44-year-old 44-year-old 44-year-old 44-year-old 44-year-old was among the spectators at Don Carter's Kendall Lanes. The top 24 bowlers were still shooting for the $27,000 first prize. Durbin was eliminated from the Lite Beer Classic field Thursday, but picked up $1,170 for finishing 33rd. Durbin has been on the tour since 1966, but said he is ready to step aside. "I'm doing everything I can to get off the tour," Durbin DOUIIiny "fid Friday. "I've had enough. mmmmmmm " 8 wor fr someone else, or I'll get a place of my own." Durbin, who also provides commentary for ESPN 's coverage of the summer tour, said he is unsure of what he will do. "My future is still a question mark," Durbin said. "I'll stay in bowling one way or another." Durbin will remain involved with the sport, but said he has had his fill of the touring pro's lifestyle. "I've just gotten tired of the pressure and the travel and being away from home all those weeks," Durbin said. He has a wife and three children in Ohio, and wants to spend more time with them. Durbin ranks among the PBA's top 10 all-time all-time all-time money winners with $711,430, but said, "It's still really hard to make a living on the PBA tour. You have to win to make a living out here. You can't be a .250 hitter." The ball, however, is getting a little easier to hit. BOWLERS ARE competing for more money than ever before. There are television contracts with ABC (winter tour), NBC (fall, currently up for renewal) and ESPN (summer). Commercial sponsors are increasing their contributions. Seagram's Cooler will sponsor the U.S. Open in 1987 for $1 -million. -million. The Miller Brewing Co., which has been involved involved in bowling for 21 years, will stage three pro tournaments for $150,000 each and an amateur event for another $150,000. Add in the company's advertising budget, and Miller's contribution to the sport will exceed $l-million $l-million $l-million this year, said spokesman Bob Bertini. Miller is also offering the Lite Slam, a $l-mil-lion $l-mil-lion $l-mil-lion $l-mil-lion $l-mil-lion bonus to any bowler who wins the three Lite Beer events Miami, Milwaukee and Cleveland. A bowler who wins two of the three gets $50,000. The Firestone Tournament of Champions will offer a $50,000 first-place first-place first-place prize this year, the PBA's largest. And Mike Aulby broke new ground in 1985, winning six titles and becoming the first bowler to win more than $200,000 in one year. With $l-million $l-million $l-million tournaments, $50,000 first prizes and $200,000 winners, one would think bowling is headed for the big time. Durbin is not so sure. "They are big steps," he said, but added, "Pro bowling is still not where it should be, financially, or as far as moving up in the sports world," he said. Chuck Pezzano, a charter member of the PBA and its unofficial historian, said the reason for that perception is that bowling is frequently compared to golf and tennis. Those sports attract crowds counted in tens of thousands, while bowling bowling tournaments may draw just several hundred. Pezzano said a solution would be to build bowling arenas that would hold about 3,000 fans. Durbin is not sure what the answers are. "I really don't know what we could do other than what we are doing now," Durbin said. "We're visible on TV, we're available to sports writers, we're available to the public in pro-ams." pro-ams." pro-ams." One area where bowlers do suffer, he said, is a lack of promotion. He said the PBA should hire an ad agency to work with bowlers. "We need better promotion of our stars," Durbin said. Earl Anthony, who won 41 PBA titles, was virtually an ambassador to the sport when he was

Clipped from
  1. Tampa Bay Times,
  2. 08 Feb 1986, Sat,
  3. Other Editions,
  4. Page 12

bsparks243 Member Photo

Want to comment on this Clipping? Sign up for a free account, or sign in