2010 US Open 9 Ball Championship – An Open Letter from Barry Behrman

Pool must change for the better and I intend to characterize that change. Since 2007 it has taken me much longer than proper to pay off my players and especially my Champions.  I've had to reconfigure my entire business structure beginning this year and I know that these changes will be well received by the billiard fraternity. I've confided my plans to Johnny Archer and his new crew of players that form the Association for Billiard Professionals (ABP) and  I've been on AZBilliards' Radio Talk Show and announced my plans. Here are those plans:

The Thursday before the U.S. Open, October 14th, $75,000.00 will be in an account for the players only and $75,000.00 in cash will be on display with an armed guard on the arena floor the final day of the event at 1:00pm. That is the total due to the final 4 players. The other $30,000.00 will have already been paid to the eliminated players towards the end of the event, promptly on time. All $180,000.00 will be paid in CASH.

It was disappointing when recently I was notified by a road player who came through Q-Masters that the WPBA's top female player, Kelly Fisher, was at a pool tournament and was saying, “the WPBA should boycott the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships as Barry Behrman was using them to ‘fill the field' and for publicity purposes”. She admitted to saying that and when I heard this, I immediately called Tamre Green-Rogers who approached Miss Fisher at the women's U.S. Open. She again admitted to saying what she said and was informed that she should not have said that publicly. I went through the proper channels months ago inviting any and all women to play in our 35th annual U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships and after discussing all the details, we had their blessing to announce it.  Yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but we also have to avoid saying things like boycott, that's exactly what pool doesn't need. It's a small world out there and everyone knows everything in the computer world.  I've never met Kelly Fisher but I hope she comes this year. I'm one to easily forgive and forget as I've had my share of chances and have worked hard to redeem myself.

My daughter, Shannon has been working hard with Mike Panozzo to continue another U.S. Open tradition by having the BCA formally induct Francisco Bustamante, Larry Hubbart and Terry Bell into the Billiards Hall of Fame. Also, new this year, during this year's Open the BCAPL will conduct an event in the Marriot's Ballroom, Wednesday thru Saturday, that will end just before the finals of the Open at 7pm. I have more good plans for 2011 already.

Getting back to "pool needs help", it has to start with promoters, myself included, and players who, not only the pool industry depends on, but also sponsors inside and outside the industry.  Look where Bowling is today, “out of the gutter”, and that's fantastic. We can do the same if not better with everyone's support.  Again, the payouts, beginning this year, have been worked out through my sponsors and other means and are now a certainty. Again, no one feels worse than I do, to owe Shane Van Boening and Mika Immonen money for months after the tournament's end and this will never happen again. Yes, I've made my fair share of mistakes this decade, but I've been “clean” for 8 years and it feels great. I'm trying very hard at work and with the U.S. Open to restore my life and to restore the trust from those people around me.

Pool needs corporate America's help to grow and I'm talking with several companies for this year and I feel confident it could happen this year. In 2011, I would love to add $75,000.00 and in 2012, adding $100,000.00 is my goal. Players need to make more money and promoters and sponsors need to be happy as well. Lately, it seems my daughter and I are getting more support from the industry and beyond. Let's just all work together and live happily and support the game of pool. We all can prosper by saying and doing the right things to enhance our sport.

In other good news for the industry, my daughter Shannon and I, beginning in March of 2011, will be bringing back "The Masters" 9-Ball Championships. It's been 10 years since the inaugural 2001 event and we are now ready to promote two major events per year.  It's our passion to promote the game of pool as much as we can.  Details will be coming soon or during this year's U.S. Open. We feel strong these days as we have more sponsors, vendors, and of course, the greatest fans on Earth.  Pool players from all over the world are in dire need for more major events. So here we are: ready, willing, and able to move the game we all love forward. Please join us.

Barry and Shannon