Jayson Shaw and Si Ming Chen Win 2017 Player of the Year Honors
AzB Staff
Feb. 7, 2018
Si Ming Chen and Jayson Shaw
Si Ming Chen and Jayson Shaw
Historically, the race for the male and female AzBilliards Players of the Year is a tight one. It usually comes down to 2-3 players and we have to consider yearly earnings, titles won, head to head records and other criteria. This year is a little different in that Jayson Shaw and Si Ming Chen were both head and shoulders above their competition no matter what criteria you used. 
 
“Eagle Eye” Jayson Shaw may not have turned in as many finishes in the winners circle as he did when he won the 2016 Player of the Year, he still won more than his share of major titles in 2017. Among these was possibly the most coveted title in the Men’s game, The US Open 9-Ball Championship. Shaw won that title with an undefeated performance topped off with a 13-4 win over young gun Eklent Kaci in the finals. 
 
The $40,000 first prize Shaw won at the US Open was the biggest contributor to his total 2017 winnings of just over $170,000 (almost $44,000 more than his closest competitor Shane Van Boening). Other notable titles on Shaw’s 2017 resume included The Turning Stone Classic XXVII, The Derby City Classic Bigfoot 10-Ball Challenge, back to back wins at the Accu-Stats Make it Happen Straight Pool and 8-Ball events and another win as part of Team EUROPE at The Mosconi Cup XXIV. As if that wasn’t a strong enough indicator of Shaw’s year, he had top-four finishes in six different disciplines (8-Ball, 9-Ball, 10-Ball, Straight Pool, One Pocket and Chinese 8-Ball) during 2017.
 
While Shaw’s cutting back on International events saw him fall from #4 on the WPA points list to #13, all of us here at AzBilliards felt that his performance was more than deserving of his second straight Player of the Year title.
 
The 2017 Women’s Player of the Year, China’s Si Ming Chen, didn’t win a title in the US. But she scored major wins in Asia with first-place finishes at the Women’s World 9-Ball Championship, the China Open, the Amway Cup and the All Japan Championships. All told, we have record of just over $141,000 in 2017 prize money for Chen, over twice that of her closest rival. 2017 was the fifth straight year of crowning a Women’s Player of the Year from Asia. As a further statement on how the Women’s game now centers on Asia and it’s players, the top four players  on the Women’s Money List for 2017 are all from China. (Chen, Xiao Fang Fu, Sha Sha Liu and Xiao Ting Pan)
 
For the first time in the history of the Player of the Year award, the winner is not on the WPA Women’s Points List. While she and her fellow Chinese Women are missing from the list due to political differences between the Chinese Billiard Snooker Association (CBSA) and the WPA, WPA president Ian Anderson verified that Chen would have held the top spot on that list were she on it.  
 
For Shaw, the 2017 title is the second of what many fans assume will be many. For Chen, it is her first AzBilliards Player of the Year title. Each player will receive a trophy celebrating their 2017 accomplishments, provided to AzBilliards by sponsor Aramith Billiard Balls.