9-Ball: All Eyes Turn to the US Open
As I write this we are actually into the second day of a new look US Open 9-ball tournament.
A change of venue has meant that the field has been reduced but at the same time the entry fee has increased. There is no doubt that this is the most prestigious open event in the world and is now in it’s 39th consecutive year.
The other major change to this years event is a slight adjustment to the rules, in a bid to make the break more difficult and stop players consistently making the wing ball the 9-ball has been placed on the spot.
Both of these changes has not stopped the real quality performers attending this event though as 5-time winner, Earl Strickland, 3-time winner and defending champion, Shane van Boening plus the UK’s two-time champion Darren Appleton all in attendance.
Strickland is probably past his best but van Boening provides the real hope of the USA and some believe he can be the man to surpass Strickland’s record of 5 titles, he is still young, still passionate and still a world class player so there is every chance that he can.
German, Thorsten Hohmann is another man with a lot of eyes on him after recently winning the Manny Pacquiao singles cup in the Philippines and backed this up with victory in the Challenge of Champions.
My last mention for players in form is Scotland’s Jayson Shaw, now spending most of his time in the USA and recently having become a father he went and won the Turning Stone Casino Classic. I have known Jayson for many years from his Blackball background, don’t forget his is a former World Champion in this smaller ball game, and he is without doubt one of the most talented and exciting pool players around.
With what is seemingly becoming our global supremacy in pool Britain has a fair number of players travelling out the US for this great event, Darren Appleton and Karl Boyes, recent World Cup of Pool Champions are joined by Imran Majid, Daryl Peach and So Shaw. Plus Raj Hundal and Tony Drago that we almost count as our own! The one notable absentee for me from this British invasion is Chris Melling who may well be putting in the table time for his upcoming snooker commitments.
The US Open though is one of those events that is not easy to predict, race-to-11 is a reasonably long match and with the double elimination format even a defeated player can come back strong and win the title.
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