Bowling’s Best of ’88 : Voss Begins New Season at Torrance After Setting Record Last Year

Times Staff Writer

When Brian Voss’ bowling game slumps, he has himself videotaped and heads for the screening room.

“It’s there I and others helping me can detect those slight faults that can be corrected to get me back on track,” said pro bowling’s new king. He earned $225,485 in 1988 for a single-year record in the Professional Bowlers Assn.

The 30-year-old from Seattle is among 160 bowlers who begin the 4-day, $150,000 AC/Delco Classic today at Gable House Bowl in Torrance.

The field includes Hall of Famer Mark Roth of New Jersey; Oregon’s Marshall Holman, winner of bowling’s recent $100,000 shootout; New York’s Joe Berardi, the defending tournament champion, as well as Southern California’s perennial contenders, Mark Baker of Garden Grove and Randy Pedersen of Santa Maria.


A 6-month suspension is keeping U.S. Open champion Pete Weber from the tournament.

Weber had been in the PBA doghouse and on probation “for stating an opinion in a 1987 interview that a majority of pros were using drugs and alcohol,” according to Mike Sands, PBA tour press director. “The statement was called unfounded and damaging by the PBA ethics committee, but withdrawal from a 1988 summer tournament without notifying the tournament director caused the suspension.”

Sands said that the PBA expects Weber to rejoin the tour when the suspension ends March 8.

Voss, a full-time pro, skipped the opening 1989 PBA tournament at Pinole in Northern California last week, but still came up a winner. It was announced that he had been voted 1988 pro bowler of the year in a landslide.

“It’s been a gradual advance to reach where I am today in bowling,” said Voss, the son of an Army career man. “I grew up and was schooled in both Alaska and North Dakota. I was an Army brat. My dad, Dale, owned Anchorage Bowl, and he got me bowling at the age of 6.”

During 4 years in the service, Voss won 2 all-Army bowling championships.

“But it wasn’t until last March, in my fifth year on the tour, that I reached a new personal high level of bowling confidence,” he said. “The spark was winning the National PBA and collecting $100,000 in that month.”

The 5-foot 10-inch, 160-pound Voss won 2 titles, had 3 seconds and as many third-place finishes in 1988. He averaged 217.58 for 1,064 games and earned money in 26 of 29 events, gaining 10 TV finals and winning the PBA performance point title.

A Voss mug shot of portrait quality, framing him with a medium cut of hair, has been used on the cover of bowling magazines and periodicals from coast to coast. That hair is a sensitive subject to Voss.

“One thing is sure this week,” he said. “I won’t be going to a barbershop and a barber that I don’t know. Two years ago, a gal in Florida cut me down to a butch, which I’ve disliked since my childhood in an Army-oriented family. Just after, I made a tournament TV final, felt uncomfortable and bowled as horrible as I looked. Short haircuts, I guess, are my only superstition.”

Corey Groth of La Verne, runner-up to Wichita’s Rick Steelsmith for 1988 PBA rookie of the year, was one of two bowlers who scored perfect games during Monday’s rabbit-squad shooting.

Groth qualified in that preliminary as one of 37 Southern Californians in this 46-game tournament.

Tournament Notes

A Southern Californian has never won at Gable House, according to Mickey Cogan, general manager of the establishment. Past champions: 1977, Earl Anthony; 1978, Mark Roth; 1979, Henry Gonzalez; 1980, Steve Martin; 1981, Tom Baker; 1982, George Pappas; 1983, Jimmie Pritts Jr.; 1984, No tournament at Gable House; 1985, Martin; 1986, Del Warren; 1987, Mats Karlson; 1988, Joe Berardi.

A year ago this time, when Berardi won, he used the press-room phone to tell his pregnant wife in Brooklyn of the victory. She must have gotten excited. “Calm down or you’ll have the baby!” Berardi then yelled long-distance. Soon after Mrs. Berardi did give birth. Twins. Both boys.