Mark Roth and Marshall Holman combined to win 56 Professional Bowlers Association titles during their hall of fame careers, so the fact that neither won in Milwaukee is something of an anomaly.
Both, however, had close calls.
Holman lost to hometown hero Fred Jaskie of Greendale, 208-158, in the final of the 1978 Miller High Life Open before a packed house at the old Red Carpet Celebrity Lanes. Three hundred fans were turned away at the door.
"I went from averaging 250 the first three games (of the stepladder finals) to shooting 150, much to the pleasure of the partisan crowd," said Holman, who also finished second in the 1985 Lite Beer Championship.
Roth lost to Don Genalo, 214-209, in the final of the 1986 Lite Beer Championship and also finished second in the 1980 Miller High Life Open.
"Against Genalo, I needed a double (in the 10th frame to win) and left a 9-pin," Roth said. "I went strike, solid 9."
How could he remember that nearly 30 years later?
"Certain things," Roth said, "you don't forget."
Roth and Holman may not have conquered Milwaukee, but their names are on the marquee this week at AMF Bowlero in Wauwatosa.
Qualifying for the Mark Roth / Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship is set for Tuesday through Friday. The top bowlers in the world also will qualify concurrently for the PBA Players Championship.
The stepladder finals for both tournaments will be held in conjunction with the Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions in Indianapolis, Feb. 10-15.
Taping the stepladder finals during the Tournament of Champions, instead of in Milwaukee, allows the PBA to save money on television production costs.
Qualifying for the Players and the Roth / Holman will be held Tuesday and Wednesday. Players will bowl two rounds totaling 12 games, with the top 24 individuals and the top 12 doubles teams advancing to round-robin match play.
The Players Championship finalists will bowl three eight-game match play rounds Wednesday and Thursday, with the top five after a total of 36 games advancing to the stepladder finals in Indianapolis.
For the Roth / Holman Doubles Championship, PBA members will form their own doubles teams and will use their composite 12-game qualifying totals to determine the 12 teams advancing to the match-play finals.
The finalists then will bowl two six-game, Baker format match play rounds Friday. After a composite total of 36 qualifying and Baker games, the top five teams will advance to the stepladder finals.
ESPN will air the Players Championship finals Feb. 22 and the Roth / Holman Doubles Championship finals March 1.
Roth, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Holman, of Medford, Ore., were dominant bowlers in their day, with the hard-cranking Roth winning 34 titles and the flamboyant Holman winning 22.
In 2009, as part of the PBA's 50th anniversary, both were named to the tour's all-time top 50 list, with Roth in the No. 5 spot and Holman coming in at No. 9.
They were fierce rivals, meeting head-to-head on television 10 times. Each won five of those meetings. But they set aside their rivalry to win PBA doubles titles together in 1977, 1979 and 1984.
Besides the fact that they were great bowlers individually, what made them such an effective team?
"Mark was just raw power and I was raw emotion," Holman said. "It worked well, looking back on those days. Everybody wanted to watch Mark bowl because he just ripped the cover off the ball. I was entertaining to watch because nobody knew what I was going to do next, including me."
These days, Roth and Holman rarely pick up a bowling ball.
Roth, 63, suffered a stroke in 2009 that left him partially paralyzed on his left side.
"I try (to bowl), but my left leg isn't as strong as it should be," the four-time PBA player of the year said. "I had one good game and that was last February. I shot 240. I can't generate enough speed."
This is a busy time of year for the 60-year-old Holman, but not because of bowling. He owns two Liberty Tax Service franchises in Medford.
"I'm one of the lucky, lucky, lucky bowlers who has a post-tour business that is as productive as my bowling business was," he said.
Roth and Holman won't be in Milwaukee this week, but they'll be watching from afar.
"It's a great honor to have our names on the tournament," Holman said. "And I'm a bowling fan. I truly am. I'm very fortunate to have made a good living throwing bowling balls 100 years ago and I just want it to keep going."