Ten-pin bowling is a sport that requires skill, precision, and consistency. It is also a sport that has produced many legends who have left their mark on the history of the game. In this article, we will rank the top 10 best bowlers of all time in ten-pin bowling, based on their achievements, records, and impact. We will also highlight some of their best moments and accomplishments that made them stand out among their peers.
10. Billy Hardwick
Billy Hardwick was one of the pioneers of the modern game of ten-pin bowling. He was the first bowler to win the Triple Crown, which consists of the U.S. Open, the PBA National Championship, and the Tournament of Champions.
He achieved this feat between 1963 and 1969. In 1969, he also became the PBA Player of the Year.
Known for his smooth delivery, accuracy, and versatility in different lane conditions, Hardwick won 18 PBA titles in his career.
His remarkable achievements led to his induction into the PBA Hall of Fame in 1977 and the USBC Hall of Fame in 1985.
In 1969, Hardwick set a then-record by winning seven PBA Tour titles, securing his second Player of the Year crown.
9. Don Johnson
Don Johnson was a dominant force in the 1970s, winning 26 PBA titles, including two major championships.
He was the PBA Player of the Year in 1971 and 1972. He was also the first bowler to earn more than $100,000 in a single season, in 1972.
Johnson was known for his powerful strike ball and charismatic personality.
One of the most memorable moments in bowling history was when he left a 10-pin standing on his final shot of the 1970 Tournament of Champions, missing a perfect game by one pin, but still winning the tournament.
His reaction of falling to his knees in disbelief became an iconic image of the sport.
Johnson was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame in 1977 and the USBC Hall of Fame in 1982.
8. Mike Aulby
Mike Aulby, a left-handed bowler prodigy, turned pro at 18 and won his first PBA title at 19.
He went on to win 29 PBA titles, including eight majors, making him one of the most successful bowlers of all time.
He was the second bowler to complete the Triple Crown, and the first bowler to complete the Grand Slam, which adds the Tournament of Champions to the Triple Crown.
He was known for his smooth and consistent style, as well as his ability to adapt to changing lane conditions.
Aulby was named the PBA Player of the Year in 1985 and 1995 and was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame in 1996 and the USBC Hall of Fame in 2001.
7. Dick Weber
Dick Weber was one of the founding members of the PBA and one of the most influential figures in the history of ten-pin bowling.
He was the first superstar of the sport, winning 30 PBA titles, including four majors, and becoming the first bowler to win at least one title in six different decades.
Weber was known for his elegant and graceful style, as well as his sportsmanship and charisma.
He was named the PBA Player of the Year in 1965 and was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame in 1975 and the USBC Hall of Fame in 1970.
Weber’s career is marked by numerous achievements and milestones. He became one of the most frequent winners in individual tournaments held by the PBA.
He won four national individual match game championships. Between 1957 and 1969, he was selected to the first team of the All-American Team ten times.
In an unprecedented span of six decades, he won 26 PBA tournaments and six senior titles.
In a 1999 poll conducted by the Bowling Writers Association, he was honored as the best bowler of the 1960s and the 1900s.
The same year, he was also inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
6. Mark Roth
Mark Roth revolutionized the game of ten-pin bowling with his unprecedented power and hook, becoming the first bowler to use a high-speed, high-revolution approach that generated more pin action and strike potential.
He was also the first bowler to convert the 7-10 split on national television, in 1980.
Roth dominated the PBA Tour from 1975 through 1987, winning 34 PBA titles, including two major championships in 1984.
He was the PBA Player of the Year four times, in 1977, 1978, 1979, and 1984. He holds the PBA record for most single-season victories, with eight titles in 1978.
He was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame in 1987 and the USBC Hall of Fame in 2009.
5. Norm Duke
Norm Duke is considered one of the best bowlers due to his exceptional achievements and contributions to the sport.
Duke has secured over 40 PBA Tour titles, including seven major championships, which is a testament to his remarkable skill and consistency on the lanes.
He is the third bowler to complete the Triple Crown, in 2008, and the second bowler to complete the Grand Slam, in 2011.
Duke is known for his mastery of different bowling techniques, such as stroking, cranking, and lofting, as well as his clutch performance in pressure situations.
He was the PBA Player of the Year in 1994 and 2000 and was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame in 2009.
Some of his notable achievements include winning the PBA Player of the Year award multiple times, with one of his best seasons being in 1994, where he clinched five titles, including a major at the Tournament of Champions.
Duke’s success extends to the PBA50 Tour, where he has also achieved significant milestones, including winning six titles, two of which are majors.
In addition, Duke’s induction into the USBC Hall of Fame in 2002 and the PBA Hall of Fame in 2009 further solidified his status as one of the greatest bowlers in the history of the sport.
4. Jason Belmonte
Jason Belmonte is the current face of ten-pin bowling and the leader of the two-handed revolution.
He is one of the first bowlers to gain media attention for using the two-handed approach style to deliver his shot.
He has won the PBA World Championship four times, in 2013, 2014, 2017, and 2020.
He has won 31 PBA titles, including 15 majors, and is the fourth bowler to complete the Triple Crown, in 2017, and the third bowler to complete the Grand Slam, in 2019.
He is the all-time leader in both USBC Masters and PBA Tournament of Champions titles, winning each event four times.
Belmonte is known for his explosive strike ball and his competitive spirit and has been named PBA Player of the Year seven times in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2020, and 2021.
He was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame in 2020.
3. Earl Anthony
Earl Anthony is widely regarded as one of the greatest bowlers of all time and the best left-handed bowler ever.
He was the first bowler to win 43 PBA titles, including six majors, and the first bowler to earn more than $1 million in lifetime PBA earnings, in 1982.
He won the PBA National Championship six times two Firestone Tournament of Champions titles, and two ABC Masters (now USBC Masters) titles—are the second most all-time, tied with Pete Weber and five behind Jason Belmonte.
He was the PBA Player of the Year six times, in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1981, 1982, and 1983.
Earl Anthony was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame in 1986.
2. Walter Ray Williams Jr
Walter Ray Williams Jr. is the most successful bowler in the history of the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA), holding a record of 47 titles, including eight majors. He is the oldest bowler to win a PBA title and is renowned for his accuracy, consistency, longevity, and versatility. Williams has been named PBA Player of the Year seven times, in 1986, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2003, and 2010. He was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame in 1995.
Some highlights of his illustrious career include winning the PBA World Championship three times.
He has also won two U.S. Open crowns, two ABC/USBC Masters titles, and a Touring Players Championship.
Williams made history by becoming the first player to reach 100 total PBA titles, which include the PBA Tour, PBA Regional Tour, PBA50, and PBA50 Regional.
He has won 60 career regional titles, thereby extending his record for the most all-time.
In 2023, he won his first PBA60 title at the PBA60 Tristan’s T.A.P.S. Memorial Tournament.
1. Pete Weber
Pete Weber is the son of the legendary Dick Weber and the heir to his legacy.
He is known for his charismatic and controversial personality, with a flamboyant and aggressive style that has earned him both fans and foes.
He has won 37 PBA Tour titles, including 10 major championships.
Among the nine players in history to win the PBA’s triple crown (U.S. Open, PBA World Championship, and PBA Tournament of Champions), Weber is the only one to win each of these events at least twice in a career. He has also won the PBA Senior U.S. Open twice.
Weber and Walter Ray Williams Jr. are the only two bowlers to have amassed at least 100 total PBA titles, with PBA Regional events added.
Weber currently has 107 total titles with his 48 PBA Regional Tour and eight PBA50 Regional Tour wins included.