WHEN Jason Belmonte flies to the United State of America today, his motivation level will probably match his fears.
Belmonte will contest the final event of the Professional Bowlers Association season, the Tournament of Champions (TOC).
The Orange bowler had originally planned to miss the event as it is scheduled for a similar time to the due date of his second child’s birth.
However, Belmonte’s wife, Kimberly, told him to compete in the event which could be history-making for him.
Belmonte is a serious contender to win the PBA Player of the Year and taking out the TOC would only boost his chances to win the award.
The 28-year-old said choosing to go to the US, and possibly miss the birth of his child, was a “very difficult” decision.
“I really wasn’t going to go,” Belmonte said.
“After Norm Duke won the last tournament (PBA Dick Weber Playoff) Kimberly asked me what it meant. I said it made the Player of the Year race really close.
“If I win (the Player of the Year) I’d be the first international bowler to win Player of the Year, I’d be the third bowler to win Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year and I’d be the first two-handed bowler to be Player of the Year. They’re things I would love to do.”
Belmonte said he would never go without his wife’s blessings.
“In terms of pressure, I could win the Tournament of Champions, the Player of the Year but miss the birth of my child. That’s been weighing me down mentally,” he explained.
“Luckily I have the most amazing wife who is so supportive. It’s nice to know Kim is saying that but I can’t forget what’s at stake.
“My biggest fear is landing, turning on my phone and seeing all the messages (about the baby arriving) and knowing I only had to wait another 14 hours. My second biggest fear is failing and missing the birth of my child.”
This is why Belmonte plans to make this trip worthwhile.
The TOC is one of four majors on the PBA tour and Belmonte has a good record in them this season.
He has finished in the top 10 in the other three, including third in the US Open.
Working in Belmonte’s favour is he moves straight into the round of 36 at the TOC because he won the Pepsi PBA Elite Players Championship, the Chameleon Open and GEICO Shark Open in the World Series of Bowling.
The 36 will bowl 18 games before being cut to 18 players who will roll another 18 games of matchplay.
Following this the top four will move into the internationally televised stepladder finals.
Belmonte flew out today and will start bowling in Las Vegas at 4am on Friday (AEST).