PoolRoom

BCA Bylaw Changes Passed

Proposed changes to the Billiards Congress of America’s bylaws were passed at the trade association’s annual general membership meeting July 24 in New Orleans at the BCA Trade Expo. The bylaw changes will add four “elite players” to the BCA’s board of directors, including one who will sit on the executive committee. These changes bring the BCA into compliance with the U.S. Olympic Committee’s organizational requirements to be recognized as a National Governing Body.

Because of the extensive bureaucracy involved, the USOC’s April board meeting is the earliest that action would be taken by the Olympic organization. The BCA plans to hold player-representative elections at the BCA’s 8-ball tournaments in Las Vegas this coming May.

Strickland Wins World Championship

The Pearl has shone through. The legendary Earl Strickland won his third World Championship in a final against Francisco Bustamante, Sunday, July 21, at the 2002 Hasseroder World Pool Championship in Cardiff, Wales. Strickland last won the World Championship in 1991. “I didn’t think I’d have many more shots at this,” said Strickland, “so it means a great deal to me.”

The final wasn’t the break-fest that everyone had expected, but Strickland’s come-from-behind, 17-15 win over Bustamante will be remembered as one of the epic heavyweight battles in 9-ball. When the last ball dropped, following the nerve-wracking, seesaw set, Strickland leapt onto the table in triumph. “It’s a complete honor to win this title,” he later declared. For in-depth live coverage, click on the World Championship link above.

Pool Documentary Now Airing

107aThe Physics of Billiards, the documentary featuring Billiards Digest columnist Mike Shamos and WPBA star Jeanette Lee, will be on the air starting this week. The show, produced for National Geographic TV (www.ngs.org), will air on the following dates on the National Geographic channel at 9 pm EST: Tuesday July 16, Wednesday July 17, and Sunday July 21. The previously announced August 9th air date has been changed. Please note that the National Geographic TV episode listing is entitled “Ancient Poison, Modern Cure,” which is the cover story. The Physics of Billiards segment is in the second half of the show.

BCn to Dish out PPV U.S. Open

103aThe Pay Per View format is getting ready for something new: pool. Dish Network will broadcast the 27th annual U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship live from Chesapeake, Va. on September 29. The broadcast will get an extra boost from the satellite TV provider with 30-second commercials and promotions in the program guide and on the website. Rob Sykora of Billiard Club Network spearheaded the deal with Dish Network and procured the broadcast rights for the U.S. Open from event promoter Barry Behrman.

“I’m very happy for pool,” said Behrman. “I’m also happy for the U.S. Open. I think it deserves to be a Pay Per View event.”

Dish Network subscribers can watch the U.S Open for $9.95; the cost to carry the event at a commercial outlet will be $99.95.

World Championships on the Horizon, International Qualifiers Wrap Up

102aWith the World Championships less than a month away, the groups for round-robin competition are already set. The last wildcard has been handed out, and the last international qualifier has declared its winner. The only new names that will be added to fill out the 128-player field will be the 11 winners of the qualifiers that are to be held in Bristol, England, July 6- July 11, in the week before the main event.

The final wildcard went to crowd favorite Tony Robles, who teaches and plays in the New York City area. Robles takes the spot vacated by snooker star Jimmy White, who turned down his invitation. Robles is the benefactor of a fundraiser held in New York City recently with the goal of sending him to the qualifiers in Bristol. He shares a round-robin group with Cory Deuel; the last time Robles and Deuel met, in the semifinal of the Billiard Congress of America 9-Ball Open in May, Robles triumphed, going on the take second place. Robles will be representing Puerto Rico.

That last international qualifier was the Junior Qualifying Event, held at Riley’s Pool Club in Northampton, England, June 29, and its winner is David Lopez. Lopez, a 16-year-old apprentice bricklayer from Seville, Spain, is the third Spaniard to make it into this year’s World Championships. Nicknamed “Pumita,” (Little Puma) he defeated a field that included pre-tournament favorite Kevin Hew, a Londoner who is ranked 13th on the UK men’s pro 9-ball tour. He sealed his spot at Cardiff by beating young British pro player Russell March, 7-4, in the qualifier’s final. His round-robin group includes Taiwan’s intimidating Fong Pang Chao.

Matchroom sport, the organizers of this event, have set up a website devoted to the championships, providing information on the round-robin groupings and more: http://worldpoolchampionship.com

Bustamante Takes IBC Munich Open

101aFrancisco Bustamante won the IBC Munich Open, beating German Thorsten Hohmann on his home turf; 6-4; 7-5. In third place was Bruno Muratore of Italy, and in fourth, Oliver Ortmann of Germany. The competition, held May 30-June 1, was a race-to-six, best-of-three format, where competitors had to win by two racks. Bustamente’s win was worth $6,000.

Hohmann may not have nabbed the title, but his second-place finish was enough to earn him the top spot in the IBC point rankings; it was also worth $3,600 in prize money.

With qualifiers held from Virginia Beach to Moscow, the field of 64 included players from 17 countries, including many of the top European players and strong contingents from Asia and North America. The IBC’s next event is the Holland Open, to be held July 25-27.

Corr, Williams win BCA Open 9-Ball in Vegas

100aThe 2002 Billiard Congress of America Open 9-Ball Championships offered a touch of the expected, and a touch of the unexpected. Few were surprised to see top-ranked Karen Corr walk off with the women’s division title, which she secured with a 7-4 win over sixth-ranked Vivian Villarreal in the final. The men’s division, however, was a different story.

While top-ranked Cory Deuel did manage to advance to the semifinal, the title match featured first-time finalists (and best friends) Charlie Williams and Tony Robles. The 26-year-old Williams claimed his first major title in a 7-4 win over Robles, the likeable 36-year-old New Yorker. Both champions earned $15,000 from the $120,000 total prize fund. Villarreal and Robles each picked up $7,500 as runners-up. The semifinal and final matches in both divisions were taped for airing on ESPN in July. Click on
the “BCA Open 9-Ball” link above for complete coverage.

Jones and Rempe Elected to Hall of Fame

99aLoree Jon Jones, 36, and Jim Rempe, 54, have been voted into the BCA’s Hall of Fame. They will become the 42nd and 43rd members of the Hall.

Jones was the youngest world champion when she won the Professional Pool Players Association world 14.1 title in 1981, beating Vicki Paski in the final. “It’s like the ending of a great book. I still want to play, but this makes it easier to walk away now. I’ve had such a fulfilling career. I went into a sport and met more goals than I could have imagined,” said Jones.

Rempe holds numerous titles, was dominant on the men’s scene in the ’70s and is well-known overseas as an ambassador of American pool. Rempe was a holdover from last year’s ballot. “I had a feeling this would be my year,” he said from his Scranton, Pa., home. “I just felt like it was my time. It’s the cherry on top of the cake. The culmination of a life’s work. And to go in with Loree Jon is great,” he said.

While the two players have long lists of achievements, both are still very active. Jones is ranked No. 13 on the Women’s Professional Billiard Association tour, while Rempe has recently topped the field at Joss Northeast regional tour stops.

The newest Hall of Fame members will be inducted at a banquet on July 27 at the BCA International Trade Show in New Orleans.

Corr Wins Spring Classic

98aKaren Corr is back on top. Corr won the WPBA Spring Classic, held April 17-21, at Viejas Casino in Alpine, Calif., defeating Jeanette Lee, 7-4. Corr gained a four-game lead at the beginning of the final match, and never fell behind. To reach the finals, Corr defeated Sarah Rousey, 9-2, Ikumi Ushiroda, 9-3, Line Kjoersvik, 9-7, Anita Kuczma, 9-4, Sarah Ellerby, 9-3, and Allison Fisher, 9-6. In the semi-finals, Lee defeated Helena Thornfeldt, 7-4, and then Fisher, 7-5. Corr’s win netted her $8,000; Lee’s second was worth $6,000; Fisher took third and $4,700. The final and both semi-final matches were taped by ESPN and will be shown on ESPN and ESPN2 starting in late June. The WPBA’s next event is the Midwest Classic, Aug. 21-25, at Par-A-Dice Hotel & Casino in East Peoria, Ill.

Fisher Takes Amway Cup

97aAllison Fisher is off to a blazing start. After taking the $10,000 title at the Cuetec Cues Players Championship in Valley Forge, Penn., March 15-17, she jetted to Taipei, Taiwan, to win the title at the Amway Cup, April 5-7, for $20,000.

She beat Austria’s Gerda Hofstatter, who took $10,000 for second place, as well as host-country hero Shin Mei Liu, who took $8,000 for third. Chun-Chen (Jennifer) Chen, also of Taiwan, came in fourth.