In years past the USBC announced the exact oil pattern for the Open Championships in advance of the tournament but in recent years they have abandoned that practice.
Additionally the USBC has been putting out two different oil patterns for the tournament, one pattern for team events and another pattern for doubles/singles. This is in contrast to using the same tournament condition for both the team event and the doubles/singles events that was common just a decade ago.
Last year the 2019 USBC Open Championships oil pattern was released in July after the tournament ended on July 8th and I expect this year’s 2020 oil patterns to be released for analysis at the conclusion of the event in July as well.
I discussed my expectations for last year’s pattern before the tournament ever began on this page a full year ago and I wanted to touch on that again today because my guesses as to how the pattern would play were very accurate.
Last year I guessed the pattern would be:
► Flat: I guessed it would be under 2:1 ratio and it was 1.98:1
► Wide short oil taper: I guessed the oil taper would be wide and short and it was – oil taper spanned boards 5-14 and was only 17-feet long which provides multiple zones of play
► Moderately high volume of oil between 26-28 mL: It ended up being 27.5 mL right in-line with my expectations
► A Mid-Length pattern between 38-41 feet: The pattern came in at the low end of my expectations at 38 feet
How to Play the 2020 USBC Open Championships Team Pattern
Overall it’s hard to change any of the expectations again because their is no historical evidence to support deviation from these points.
The Open Championships plays host to over 50,000 bowlers every year so it has to be a hard condition that doesn’t favor any particular bowler or style of bowler so it will probably continue to be middle length between 38-41 feet with moderately high oil volume to prevent burn conditions and will be shaped to accommodate many different zones of play.
With any tough higher volume shot that is flat or close to it it is always best to play up the boards as a team to burn up a hook spot down lane. Then as the lanes transition you move in and use the hook spot as your “bumper”.
The trick is to preserve as much oil to the inside of your breakpoint as possible so as to allow your ball to hold to the inside when you make your move to open up the lanes with your feet in game 2.
As it is a team event, you can work together and make the shot playable if everyone chooses to play the same zone and break the pattern down together.
Here is the graph for the 2019 nationals team event. I would expect something similar this year for the 2020 Nationals team event with only subtle changes to the shape, oil taper, and length.
This year as bowling commences I’ll try to update this post with videos of teams attacking the pattern together to see if we can glean any extra information. I’ll also try to update this post with thoughts from bowlers during the event or from bowlers who have attended the official practice sessions on site.
You can see the following pages for more tournament information as it’s published:
► 2020 National Practice Session Information (in editing)