Thirteen-time Professional Bowlers Association Tour champion Bill O’Neill is unfamiliar with big pay days, and was hoping for another one as he prepared to head to Bowlero Jupiter for the PBA Championship finals Eastern Division Players played in Florida.
“I was supposed to go out at 7:30 this morning,” O’Neill told the Bowlers Journal Sunday afternoon. “I woke up at 4 o’clock, and decided there was no way to get on a plane without taking off. [COVID] test. I went and got a quick test, and it came back positive. “
The news takes O’Neill, who won the top $ 100,000 prize in the 2020 PBA Playoffs, quarantined at home for what he expects to be in about two weeks, and lowers his hopes of he eventually gets a shot at the $ 250,000 prize going to the winner of the finals of the PBA Players Championship on February 21st.
PBA CEO Colie Edison confirmed, “As a result of COVID protocols, Bill O’Neill will not be taking part in Players’ East Divisional Tournaments. Tim Foy will step in and take over Edison declined to comment further at this time.
Tim Foy Jr. was. finished 11 pins off the show with a 6,156 drop over 28 games in the PBA Players East Division qualifier held Jan. 15-17 at Bowlero West End in Richmond, Virginia.
O’Neill said he did not experience COVID – like symptoms until Saturday night, when he experienced cold and congestion. These symptoms prompted his decision to get tested before boarding a flight to Florida.
“I don’t usually sleep in sweatpants and a hoodie,” he said. “But I did last night, and there didn’t seem to be too much.”
He said he was trying not to think about the impact of his situation as it relates to the hopes of the PBA Players Championship.
“The timing is really awful, and I’m just trying to look at it from a more positive perspective, I believe. This pandemic has been terrible for a lot of people, and if this is the best thing. If it happens to me and my family, we’ll be fine. We hope no one in my family caught it. “
As the father of two young children, son Gavin and daughter Avery, O’Neill said quarantine exerts emotional stress.
“It’s sad, because, just once or twice today, it makes me sad when my son comes up and just wants to talk to me, and I’m like, ‘Hey bud, I have to find out.’ That’s very hard to say. ‘But I know I’m doing it to his advantage.’
Even though Christi, O’Neill’s wife, works from home as a first-class teacher, O’Neill said she still had to take a day or two off because Gavin can no longer go to school and can’t for Avery to go to her caregiver getting his father’s diagnosis.
“It puts a strain on everyone, but hopefully it’s a quick week or two and that’s it. Usually, if I had the flu or something, I’d just hang out. -out here and the kids might go to school, you know? They’d like, ‘We don’t have it, so we go.’ Or my dad or my mum would come- spouse or father-in-law involved. Now, you don’t. We can’t come over here at all. “
As for how he caught the virus, O’Neill said, “I don’t know. I mean, the only thing I can think of is that I got it at the Last weekend, but I don’t know much because I mean, I thought I was very diligent with my mask. I never took a mask off all the time. I was in the bowling alley, even for throwing a bullet, but I was in the grocery store once last week, so I believe it ‘s possible there I don’t know. I saw it from anyone in the immediate family. ”
O’Neill said he saw most players with a mask throughout the Bowlero West End event.
“I saw some people drag it down when they were throwing a bullet but then they would put it right back when they came off the line. It seemed to me that everyone was doing their own thing. But I believe with this you never really knew. “
Referring to the PWBA Kickoff Classic, which takes place this week at the International Training Center in Arlington, Texas, under COVID’s strict protocols and procedures that have a similar “bubble” environment. created for the players, O’Neill said, “We would have been cool to make a bubble – type setting like they do for the women; we did it for the Weber Cup when I put a bowl on that in October. last year, and it worked out very well.
“The women seem to be doing well with it in Texas. But I don’t know what’s all behind that. That’s definitely above my pay level. I don’t know what will happen from now on, but I hope that everyone else is good and that no – one else will get this. “
PWBA players were asked to undergo a test before traveling to Arlington, and then again upon arrival.
When FloBowling broke the news of O’Neill ‘s positive text on Twitter, O’Neill retweeted it with the idea, “Expressed that I can’t compete for the Players’ Championship title and 250k. Time is running out but I feel fine at the moment. ”
Andrew Anderson, PBA Player of the Year, offered his condolences.
“Time is the worst thing that could happen. Bill is a major champion and he’s a factor whenever he puts his shoes on. And it’s really good for Bill to get tested. we give Bill our hats to even give that a chance, right? “said Anderson, who owned COVID-19 himself in early November and said he tested negative before traveling to Florida, where he will be bowling the PBA Players Tournament Central Area as the No. 2 seed. “There are some players who just wouldn’t have taken that opportunity. I hope Bill gets better soon and that get it back with us. “
“I get a lot of testing,” Anderson said. “I have a family, I have grandparents who are older. I play it safe. I’ve been tested five or six times already this year. “
Of O’Neill ‘s comments that it is possible that he contracted the virus while bowling at the Eastern Division event a week ago, Anderson said, “We take a chance every time. Someone goes out without the mask on. But I felt a little safer than he already got.I’m worried about it, of course.It ‘s a pandemic, something you need be aware.
“But the protocols that the PBA has put in place, without having a fan, I think that’s good. The archers are doing the best job they can. Are there more high-five people? Probably, but again, it ‘s up to that person, when I step on the path, I pull on a mask. safe up there when I’m not around. But when I’m out of the way, I have a mask on. “
Anderson said he will be happy to compete in all situations – the environment set at recent PBA events or the bubble-like protocols implemented this week on the PWBA side.
“If they decide to put us in a bubble, I will be happier to be in a bubble; if they do not feel the need, it will be so. I leave that I’m going to compete on all sides, “he said. “I think the bubble is safe; the NBA proved that. They did really well, and now, look at the NBA not in a bubble. They have more optimistic issues. We hope a lot of these very healthy athletes and you we are not going to watch too much happen from it.
“But the PWBA is a great example of what you can do, and it’s sad. We have so many players coming from abroad. We have Belmo. You have Jesper. All those boys are coming -in from all over, so I think it’s safer for them if we went into a bubble, but obviously they felt comfortable enough to be here. “
Jason Belmonte gave a color statement at today’s PBA tournament on FS1, and Jesper Svensson is in town for bowling the East Division show as the top seed.
O’Neill, for his part, says he has no idea when he could get back on track with big events on the horizon such as the Champions League at the end of February or the World Bowling Series in March.
“I’m not even sure when I’ll get permission out of the house,” he said. “I take it for at least two weeks, and then hopefully my energy level is back to normal by then. I’ll be able to get a few weeks of exercise in, and then it should for me to be good to go.
“It’s definitely running, and I wish I wasn’t in this position, but what I’ve been following is that the last couple of years have been good for me,” he said. “I’ve been very lucky, so I take a half-glass approach there.”