Tuesday, May 25, 2004 | 8:38 a.m.
Harry "Goose" Golden, a fixture in pro bowling for four decades, who helped make the Showboat Professional Bowlers Association event one of the highlights of the tour, died May 11 in Las Vegas after a lengthy illness. He was 79.
Services for Golden, a Las Vegas resident for 14 years who was enshrined in the PBA Hall of Fame in 1983 as a top bowling administrator, were earlier today at Davis Funeral Home. Interment was to follow in the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City.
During Golden's 29 years as PBA tournament director, the Las Vegas Showboat Invitational, the first-ever PBA stop west of the Mississippi, became one of the most prestigious, longest running and highest paying events on the circuit.
It was a PBA tour event from 1960 to 1999 at the Boulder Highway resort that now is the defunct Castaways.
"Harry saw potential for a Las Vegas tournament in part because of the city's location and reasonable prices," said Las Vegan Joyce Deitch, immediate past president of the Women's International Bowling Congress and a longtime friend.
"The players respected Harry. And if he told them it was a good thing to come all the way to Las Vegas in the early days, when they did not make much money, they listened to him."
Deitch, the Sun's bowling columnist in the 1950s and 1960s, said Golden was a devout pan player. After putting in long hours at Showboat Lanes, he would forego a night's sleep and head for a downtown casino to play that card game. Yet, he'd be back on time the next morning to run the tourney, she said.
Born March 9, 1925, in Philadelphia, Golden was a Navy veteran. He started on the tour as a bowler in 1960, competing in 11 events. A year later, Golden became the PBA's tournament director, a post he held until his retirement in 1990, the year he moved to Las Vegas.
As PBA vice president and tournament director, he traveled with the tour 35 weeks a year, according to the PBA's official Web site, pbatour.com.
"Golden helped develop and refine many of the policies of the PBA, making contributions to the Pro-Am, Pro Tour Qualifier and tournament formats," the Web site said in announcing his death.
"During his time as tournament director he never missed a tournament or telecast. His streak surpassed the 900-mark without a miss."
The Web site said Golden also was a father figure on the tour, giving advice to the bowlers and serving as "peacemaker, marriage counselor, babysitter and financial advisor."
Golden was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame in the Meritorious Service category.
In 1992, the PBA's Rookie of the Year Award was re-named the PBA Harry Golden Rookie of the Year Award.