Novi — Cheryl Daniels is more businesswoman than bowler.
A Hall of Fame bowler and trailblazer who mostly went unnoticed during her career because women’s bowling never received the acclaim and fortunes of other sports, Daniels has a thriving pro shop inside the Novi Bowling Center and is a gifted singer who has released two CDs.
While the days of touring are over for Daniels, who got her start at the WY-7 Lanes on Wyoming and Seven Mile as a 3-year old, will dust off her bowling shoes on occasion — like this weekend’s PWBA Detroit Open at the Super Bowl in Canton.
“I am keeping busy,” said Daniels, the first African-American woman to win the United States Women’s Open in 1995.
Daniels, who has been in semi-retirement for 12 years, is hoping this weekend’s event will help revive the women’s game.
The Tour has been given new life with a three-year commitment from the USBC and Bowling Proprietors Association of America. Each event — the Detroit Open is part of an eight-city tour that concludes with the PWBA Championship on Sept 10-13 — has a $60,000 purse, with $10,000 to the winner. Each of the 16 finalists receives a minimum of $1,200.
“There are a lot of young girls in college who are very promising,” Daniels said. “It has been good getting the Tour back. Hopefully, it is permanent this time.”
Daniels also believes a key to keeping the Tour running is attracting major sponsors outside the game, like McDonald’s, Nike or Ford Motor Co.
Most sponsors are bowling centers and bowling equipment companies.
“The pots have been pretty small; that has always been the problem with women’s bowling,” Daniels said. “Look at tennis and golf. They have sponsors that don’t have anything to do with their sports. ... You have huge participation in bowling but it never translated in corporate profit.
“If we can get the big companies, it would help.”
It has been a long road for Daniels, named to the Detroit Women’s Bowling Association and Michigan Women’s Bowling Association Halls of Fame and named athlete of the year in 1981 by the Coalition of 100 Black Women.
Today, she is more likely to be curled up with pen and paper, dabbling in music, or working the front counter of her pro shop
“I am going up against girls half my age,” Daniels said. “I doubt I will be going out there full time against the 20-somethings out there. I used to be pumped up about tournaments. I still enjoy it but it is not my main thing. It is not like it used to be.”
WPBA Detroit Open
Today-Sunday, Super Bowl in Canton
8-9 a.m: Practice session for all tournament bowlers
11 a.m.: Qualifying Round 1
4 p.m.: Qualifying Round 2
8 p.m.: Pro-am
8:30 a.m.: Top 16 round-robin
1:30 p.m.: Top 16 round-robin
6:30 p.m.: Stepladder finals
8:30 p.m.: Pro-am
10 a.m.: Youth clinic