By Jim Goodwin on Sep 10, 2019, 9:57:53 AM
This week, we'll look at a player who spent more than 20 years on the PWBA Tour and won 10 titles, including the 1995 U.S. Open.
Cheryl Daniels is also one of several former PWBA champions who now make a living in the pro shop business. Anne Marie Duggan, Lisa Bishop, Carol Norman, Tish Johnson and Cheryl are all great tour bowlers who now teach others and help them with ball selection and drilling.
This week, we get to see Daniels at her best in her best year on tour. In 1989, she won four tournaments and was named runner-up to PWBA Player of the Year behind Robin Romeo, and the '89 Hammer Western Open in Yuma, Arizona, was an event she dominated, and defeated the great Nikki Gianulias for the title. She also won the week before and made four television shows in a six-week span that year.
"I remember 1989 very well," said Daniels when we spoke to her recently. "After a long time on tour, I remember winning my first title in '89 in Florida and thinking 'I hope it is not eight or nine years before I win again' . . . then I won in Denver and Yuma back-to-back. In Denver, I barely made the show in fifth place. I came from over 200 pins behind in the last block and won four matches on TV. Yuma was much nicer being the leader and just having to win one game against Nikki Gianulias. I was really on a roll winning three out of six tournaments that swing."
As mentioned, Romeo was also on a roll in 1989, and appears in the first match, but it was Gianulias that looked like she would climb the ladder for the victory. After defeating Romeo, she won a hard fought match against hall of famer Lorrie Nichols. They tied at 224, but Gianulias advanced in a two-frame roll-off.
In the semifinal, Nikki got by part-time tour player Paula Drake from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. At that time, Drake owned her own pro shop inside River Lanes in Tulsa . . . and I remember her for being involved in historic TV finals in a bowling center I managed in DeSoto, Texas.
In 1987, Drake rolled a 299 game in the TV finals of the DFW Metroplex Open, but she did not win the title. In the title match, Barbara Leicht tossed a 297 to win her fist pro title. Needless to say, it was an exciting day, even though both missed that first ever women's televised 300. It would not come until 10 years later, when Michelle Feldman rolled it in Virginia in 1997.
No description of Cheryl Daniels would be complete without mentioning her love of music. She is an accomplished singer who grew up in Detroit loving Motown music, and she produced two albums of her own, called Dreams and Weekend.
"I am friends with Martha Reeves (Martha and the Vandellas) and they are looking forward to building the new Motown Museum to celebrate 50 years of Motown. We are very excited about that."
Daniels loves bowling, writing and singing original songs, and following sports, especially her Detroit teams . . . and running her Cheryl Daniels Strike Masters Pro Shop.
"This time of year, we are really busy," she said, "but I love it. And the best thing is I have met so many wonderful people while I was on the tour and in my shop."
And she is an accomplished coach who has taught many people how to bowl and how to bowl better, and it just doesn't get any better than that.