By Jim Goodwin on Sep 30, 2019 12:29:32 PM
When it comes time to argue about which woman professional bowler deserves to be called the GOAT . . . Greatest Of All Time, those talking about Wendy Macpherson will have a strong case . . . and when she won the USBC Queens for the third time in 2003, (this week's BowlTV Vault video release) it signaled to the world that the Bowler of the Decade for the 1990s was not done yet . . . far from it.
Macpherson's 2003 Queens victory was her sixth major title on the PWBA Tour, and her 20 overall. One interesting fact about her Queens victories is that she won all three of them in Reno, Nevada.
"I always loved bowling in Reno and felt comfortable there, so I had a lot of confidence at the National Bowling Stadium in 2003 and I liked my chances. The biggest thing I recall about that day was that I was bowling to tie Millie [Ignizio] as the only two to have three Queens titles, and that motivated me to lead the tournament and win the title."
Because the Queens was the first event of the 2003 PWBA season, Wendy and her tour mates had no idea that it would be their last year to compete full time as a professional bowler in the United States. Halfway through the season, the tour ran out of money and closed its doors after 22 seasons. It was an extremely difficult time for everyone involved.
When 2004 rolled around, most of the touring pros chose to get jobs in and out of bowling. A few continued to compete in PBA events against the best male bowlers in the world . . . but Macpherson made a very brave and difficult choice to travel to Japan and join the Japan Professional Bowling Association (JPBA). Many great Japanese women bowlers had competed in the USA in events like the U.S. Open and Queens over the years, and they had a viable tour with substantial prize money available.
So Macpherson competed in Japan from 2004 through 2012, and she had much success, winning 10 additional titles and a couple of majors, bringing her overall title count to 30 for all those considering who the International GOAT might be.
It is likely she would have won more had the JPBA not ruled her and other foreign players ineligible in 2012 after she won the major ABS Open by rolling a 300 game in the televised finals for a $125,000 bonus. Add in her first place check, and Macpherson won $157,000 that day.
She was also the all-time leading money winner on the PWBA Tour with over $1.2 million in prize money, not to mention all the Yen she collected in Japan for eight years.
Wendy Macpherson was a force in women's bowling from an early age. She was a junior star among many in California, rolling her first 300 at age 14. She walked into Gage Bowl in Wichita, Kansas, in 1986 to win the U.S. Women's Open at 18 while still a high school senior in Walnut Creek. She won the Women's Triple Crown at age 22 when she added the Sam's Town Invitational to her Queens and U.S. Open titles.
She was the '86 Rookie of the Year. She earned PWBA Player of the Year four times with 20 titles and six majors in the USA which made her the Bowlers Journal Bowler of the Decade for the 1990s.
In 2013, when she could not compete any longer in Japan, she started looking for a job in her hometown of Las Vegas. She had worked with the High Roller Tournaments part time for many years, and owner Brad Edelman offered her a full-time position as High Roller Promotions Director.
"I didn't know what I was going to do, and it was so nice of Brad to give me this opportunity," said Macpherson. "I absolutely loved my experience in the PWBA and in Japan. It was a phenomenal part of my life and career, and I love working with the High Roller events just as much. It's funny, about half of people who come to our great events like the very successful Military Tournament don't even know that I am a bowler.
"To them, I am just Wendy, and I like that."