Q & A: Walter Ray Williams Jr. '84
(Sports Illustrated, Nov. 24, 2003)
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 winsfour shy of Earl Anthony's record.
SI: You graduated from Cal PolyPomona with a B.S. in physics. Ever had a fan come up and say they've read yur 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 of the math is up there. I haven't had anybody come up to me 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 ayear.
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 1998 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.