At 44, the highest-earning bowler in PBA tour history
($3,151,571) rolls into this weekend's Empire State Open in
Albany with 37 career wins--four shy of Earl Anthony's record.
SI: You graduated from Cal Poly-Pomona with a B.S. in physics.
Ever had a fan come up and say they've read your 60-page college
thesis, The Physics of a Bowling Ball Going Down the Lane?
Williams: I've had a few pro bowlers ask to see it, but most of
them couldn't make heads or tails of it because some of the math
is up there. I haven't had anybody come up to me and and say,
"Wow, I really loved your thesis."
SI: If you end up passing Earl Anthony, would you be comfortable
with people saying you're the greatest bowler of all time?
Williams: I consider Earl Anthony the greatest of all time even
if I do pass him. He did what he did in 14 years [1970-83] on the
tour, and this is my 21st year.
SI: How many bowling balls do you own?
Williams: About 50. I have 20 or 30 at home, and I take 25 with
me on the road.
SI: In addition to bowling, you're a six-time horseshoe-pitching
world champ and a two handicap in golf. Do bowlers get a bad rap
for not being athletes?
Williams: A little bit. What is your definition of an athlete?
Bowling is not physically as demanding as other sports, but it
does have unique physical demands. You need arm, shoulder and
knee strength, and you need to be able to be accurate, which is
something a lot of athletes need.
SI: Can one make a career as a pro horseshoe pitcher?
Williams: That would be difficult. If you won every single
tournament you entered, you might win $6,000 to $8,000 a year.
SI: Give us your review of Kingpin.
Williams: Kingpin, eh? That was the one with Bill Murray. Yeah,
that was pretty realistic. Just make sure you note my sarcasm.
SI: Perhaps the 1988 comedy Sorority Babes in the Slimeball
Bowl-o-Rama is more up your alley?
Williams: I haven't seen that one, but I have heard about it
[laughs]. I'll get to it soon. --Richard Deitsch
For more from Walter Ray Williams Jr., go to si.com/siexclusive.
COLOR PHOTO: JOHN F. MARTIN/AP (WILLIAMS) Packs 25 balls on the road