Walter Ray Williams Jr. is a name synonymous with success in the world of competitive bowling. Walter’s career began in the mid-1970s when he joined the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA). He is the highest earning male bowler, and PBA member to date.
Professional Bowler and Horseshoe Pitcher
Walter Ray Williams Jr. is an American professional bowler and competitive horseshoes pitcher. Horseshoe pitching? Yes, Horseshoe pitching. Even though he is a member of the USBC and PBA Halls of Fame, he is also a member of the World Horseshoe Pitching Hall of Fame.
A League of Ordinary Gentlemen
Walter Ray Williams Jr was also featured in a documentary about professional bowling. “A League of Ordinary Gentlemen” is a documentary film about ten-pin bowling that was released on DVD on March 21, 2006. The movie was written and directed by Christopher Browne and stars professional bowlers Pete Weber, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Chris Barnes, and Wayne Webb.
Most PBA Earnings
As of June 26, 2022, Williams is the leader of the all-time titles on the PBA50 Tour with 16 wins. He has been named PBA50 Player of the Year three times and has won three majors. Williams has also rolled 110 career perfect 300 games in PBA competition through 2019. He has won 47 PBA Tour titles and over $4.9 million in prize money as of 2019.
Williams is the first person in history to have 100 total PBA titles (combined PBA Tour, Regional Tour, PBA50 Tour, and PBA50 Regional Tour titles). As of April 13, 2021, this number has increased to 119. Williams also holds nine world championships in horseshoes (three junior titles and six men’s titles).
Walter quickly made a name for himself on the PBA Tour, winning his first PBA title in 1976. Walter would go on to win an astounding 47 PBA titles over the course of his career, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest bowlers of all time.
PBA Regional Tour
On December 18, 2016, Williams became the first player in history to reach 100 total PBA titles. The total is now 119 through April 13, 2021. Williams has also won nine world championships in the game of horseshoes (3 junior titles and 6 men’s titles).
PBA Player of the Year
Walter’s accomplishments on the PBA Tour earned him the Player of the Year award a record many many times.
In recent years, Walter has shifted his focus to the PBA50 Tour, where he has continued to find success. As of June 26, 2022, Walter is the leader of the all-time titles on the PBA50 Tour with 16 wins.
PBA Senior Tour
Williams announced in 2010 that he would participate in the PBA Senior Tour (renamed the PBA50 Tour in 2013), but only in a few events because of his other commitments.
In the 2011 PBA Senior season, Williams had a chance to become the only bowler to win both the USBC Masters and Senior USBC Masters. But he again came in second, this time losing to Dale Traber in the finals, 707-695.
Williams won the 2014 USBC Senior Masters and became only the second bowler to win both the USBC Masters and USBC Senior Masters (following Dave Soutar). On June 11, 2017, Williams won his second USBC Senior Masters, becoming the only player in history to win the USBC Masters and USBC Senior Masters twice each.
After the 2020 PBA50 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Williams won the opening event of the 2021 PBA50 Tour season on April 13. With a 708-655 victory over Michael Haugen Jr. in the three-game final at the PBA50 Lightning Strikes Open, Williams held the most PBA50 Tour titles of all time, with 16.
Williams extended the record to 16 by winning the 2022 PBA50 Odessa Open on June 26.
In addition to his success on the PBA Tour and PBA50 Tour, Walter has also found success in horseshoe pitching, winning nine world championships (three junior and six men’s titles).
Walter Ray Williams Jr. is one of the most accomplished bowlers in history. With 47 PBA titles and 16 PBA50 titles, Walter has cemented his legacy as one of the greatest bowlers of all time. Thanks to his success on the PBA Tour, PBA50 Tour, and in horseshoes pitching, Walter has earned the title of “The Greatest Bowler of All Time”.
Walter Ray Williams Jr. is a name synonymous with success in the world of competitive bowling.
Trowbridge was the first bowler in history to make over $2 million in career earnings, accomplishing this in 1997. He also became the first $3 million career winner in 2008 when he won the 2003 U.S. Open. Williams also established a new record for single-season winnings, earning $419,700 during the 2002-03 PBA season. Kyle Troup would break this record in 2021.
In 2007-2008, Williams set the second-highest average in PBA history for a single season. Only Norm Duke’s 2006-2007 average was higher at the time. That record has since been broken by Jason Belmonte’s 228.81 in the 2012-2013 season.
Walter Ray Williams Jr has bowled 110 perfect games in PBA competition. This is second only to the 114 perfect games bowled by Parker Bohn III. When Williams won the 2009 Motor City Open championship, he extended his record of winning at least one PBA Tour title per season to 17 consecutive seasons. This streak ended when Williams failed to win a title in the 2010-11 season.
PBA World Championship Career
With his first standard title in ’86, he wasted no time crushing the competition, Walter won the PBA World Championship an incredible 7 times between 1986 and 2000. Walter’s dominance on the lanes is further illustrated by his record-setting 3 consecutive PBA World Championships from 1999 to 2001.
PBA CAREER STANDARD TITLES (39):
- 1986 – True Value Open, Peoria, IL; Fair Lanes Open, Baltimore, MD; Hammer Open, Edmond, OK
- 1987 – Miller Lite Classic, Miami, FL; Hammer Open, Edmond, OK
- 1991 – Oronamin C Japan Cup, Tokyo, Japan
- 1993 – Flagship City Open, Erie, PA; Columbia 300 Open, San Antonio, TX; Northwest Classic, Kennewick, WA; Oregon Open, Portland, OR; Tucson Open, Tucson, AZ; Greater Grand Rapids Open, Grand Rapids, MI; Paula Carter’s Homestead Classic, Homestead, FL
- 1994 – Showboat Invitational, Las Vegas, NV
- 1995 – Rochester Open, Rochester, NY
- 1996 – Track Snergy Open, Kennewick, WA; Showboat Invitational, Las Vegas, NV; Brunswick Johnny Petraglia Open, North Brunswick, NJ; Rochester Open, Rochester, NY; Greater Harrisburg Open, Mechanicsburg, PA
- 1997 – Columbia 300 Open, Austin, TX; Brunswick Johnny Petraglia Open, North Brunswick, NJ; St. Clair Classic, Fairview Heights, IL
- 1998 – Storm Flagship Open, Erie, PA; Brunswick Johnny Petraglia Open, Coram, NY; Bay City Classic, Bay City, MI; National Finance Championship, Indianapolis, IN
- 1999 – Tuscon Open, Tucson, AZ
- 2000 – Track Canandaigua Open, Canandaigua, NY; Brunswick Johnny Petraglia Open, North Brunswick, NJ
- 2001-02 – PBA Greater Cincinnati Classic, Erlanger, KY
- 2002-03 – PBA Greater Detroit Open, Taylor, MI
- 2003-04 – PBA Earl Anthony Classic, Tacoma, WA
- 2004-05 – Uniroyal Tire Classic Wickliffe, OH
- 2006-07 – DYDO Japan Cup, Tokyo, Japan
- 2007-08 – Motor City Classic, Taylor, MI; Great Lakes Classic, Wyoming, MI
- 2008-09 – Lake County Indiana Golden Anniversary Championship, Lake County, IN
- 2009-10 – Motor City Open, Allen Park, MI
In addition to his PBA titles, Walter has also won numerous other prestigious bowling tournaments, including 10 USBC Masters titles and 2 PBA Tournament of Champions titles. Walter’s success on the lanes has led to him amassing over $4.9 million in career earnings, making him the highest-earning bowler in PBA history.
PBA Hall of Fame
Walter’s accomplishments have earned him a place in both the PBA and USBC Halls of Fame. Walter is also a member of the inaugural class of the World Bowling Writers Hall of Fame. There is no doubt that Walter Ray Williams Jr. is one of the greatest bowlers of all time.
In addition to his PBA titles, Walter has also won numerous other prestigious awards, including 9 PBA player of the year awards. See his full list here:
- PBA Player of the Year (1986, ’93, ’96, ’97, ’98, 2002-03, 2009-10)
- Harry Smith Point Leader Award (1993, ’94, ’96, ’97, ’98, 2002-03, 2007-08, 2009-10)
- George Young High Average Award (1993, ’96, ’97, ’98, 2002-03, 2004-05, 2007-08, 2009-10)
- PBA President (1995-96 and 2001-02)
- PBA Hall of Fame (1995)
- USBC Hall of Fame (2005)
- Ranked second to Earl Anthony on the list of 50 Greatest Players in PBA History (2009)
- 2010 PBA50 Rookie of the Year
- 2012 and 2013 PBA50 Player of the Year
- Seven-time Bowling ESPY Award winner
- 2016 South Region PBA50 Player of the Year
Walter Ray Williams Jr. is one of the most successful and decorated bowlers in history. With over 4.9 million in career earnings, Walter is the highest earning bowler of all time. Walter’s accomplishments have earned him a place in both the PBA and USBC Halls of Fame. There is no doubt that Walter Ray Williams Jr. is one of the greatest bowlers of all time.