2013 in Review – Part Five – It’s a Wrap!

Thorsten Hohmann had an impressive run in late summer. He'll be one to watch in 2014 for sure!

The shrinkage that pro pool underwent in 2013 was perhaps forecast by the WPBA. In 1993 the WPBA had seventeen professional events. By the end of the decade they were a fixture on ESPN and the best women in the world were coming to America to be part of the growing feminine pool scene. The men were often chastised for not just following in the footsteps of the women. They were on TV, they had big-money sponsors, they had a real tour with real money and the future was looking bright. In 2003 they had eight events and they were all on ESPN. The following year they went up to eleven events and most of them were televised as well. But in 2005 Brunswick pulled up and that brought the beginnings of trouble. By 2010 the Tour was down to three events and it stayed down thee until 2013 when it went down to just two. Both of those, Soaring Eagle Masters and the Ultimate 10-Ball Championships were won by Ga-Young Kim. The WPBA website calendar for 2014 lists two events for 2014. One is not a pro event, the Regional Tour Championships, but the other one is and that is the Soaring Eagle Masters in February. We are told there are several other events in the planning stages and we will let you know when we receive details.

One player who will look back upon 2013 with a smilie is Thorsten Hohmann. Hohmann’s game intensified to the point he looked unbeatable, and for a while there he was. Between the middle of August and the end of September Hohmann won four consecutive major pro events. He won the Accu-Stats 14.1 Invitational, the World Tournament of 14.1, the Maryland 14.1 Championships and, just to show he is not mono-disciplined, he crowned the run with a World Championship when he won the WPA World 9-Ball Championship. Hohmann had a very consistent year. He enjoyed fifteen top-ten finishes and ended it with a win at the Kremlin Cup.

Other events of note in 2013 included the move of the CSI US Bar Box Championships to the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno. As with many CSI events this one goes out of the way to be inclusive as it has 8-Ball and 9-Ball and 10-Ball events for both Men and Women as well as an Open division.

In May the Worlds elite players met in Shanghai for the China OpenLee Vann Corteza pocketed $40,000 for that win over Che-Wei Fu and in the Women’s Division Sha-Sha Liu grabbed $30,000 for her victory over Siming Chen.

Every four years we have the World Games where pool gets as close to the Olympics as it has ever gotten. This year the event was held in Cali, Colombia in late July. Chieh-Yu Chou of Chinese Taipei won the Gold medal in the Women’s Division with a squeaky 9-8 victory over Ga-Young Kim. The Men’s Crown fell to Darren Appleton by the same narrow margin as he got past Jung-Lin Chang 11-10. Marco Zanetti took the Gold for Caroms and Aditya Metha became the Snooker Champion.

September grabbed our attention with the World Cup of Pool. This doubles-format event is produced by Matchroom Sport and it is a very popular event in those countries where it is aired live on TV. This year Team Philippines consisting of Dennis Orcollo and Lee Vann Corteza snapped off Team Holland of Niels Feijen and Nick Van Den Berg to split the $60,000 first prize. This event, as with all the Matchroom events, is not afraid of being a bit different. This year they awarded $500 to the team of Karl Boyes and Darren Appleton for being the ‘Best Dressed’ team!

Niels Feijen had taken down fourth place at the U.S. Open and he was hungry for a win. He found it at the World Pool Masters when he bested Darren Appleton 8-6 in the final to claim the $20,000 first place prize. It is fitting that this was the crown he took as he and his teammate Nick Van Den Berg had come in second only weeks before in another Matchroom showpiece, the World Cup of Pool. With is year-end win at the Mosconi Cup, he added yet another Matchroom trophy to his collection when he was awarded the prestigious 20th Mosconi Cup MVP award. The 'Terminator' showed his place is on the big stage once and for all.

The Women’s World Ten Ball Championship was held once again in Manila and this time a home-town girl grabbed the honors. Rubilen Amit defeated the very formidable Kelly Fisher 10-8 to own the World Title. It was a very special moment for Amit to win in front of the home crowd and when the last ball dropped she actually jumped up into the arms of Kelly Fisher to celebrate. You have to love moments like that. Amit followed this up a few days later with another win in a Dragon Promotions event as she and her team of Captain Ga-Young Kim, Pei Chen Tsai and Siming Chen won the inagaural Queens Cup by beating the team of  Allison Fisher, Kelly Fisher, Jasmin Ouschan and Vivian Villareal.

This year’s version of the longest-running event in pro pool, the All-Japan Open was won on the men’s side by Pin-Yi Ko while the Ladies winner was Akimi Kajitani.

...And 2013 folded it’s tent and went home. 2014 will be challenging for the professional game. But challenges present opportunities and perhaps this time the game can grab one that won’t slip away. Several different ‘Reality’ shows around pool are being talked up and there is the possibility that the professional game could be organized by a group that could provide leadership and care taking to help generate more events.

To say the least, 2014 will be ‘interesting’.

To read the previous parts of our 2013 Review, click on the following links:

1 of 5: Derby City

2 of 5: The Trials of Tunica

3 of 5: The Big Opens and Turning Stone

4 of 5: Bonus Ball and the Mosconi Cup

5 of 5: It's a Wrap!