Appleton and Putnam comment on Mosconi Cup

Darren Appleton

"As you know the Mosconi Cup has been running since 1994, and each year it becomes bigger and bigger and more recognized. 

At the start of every year it's every players goal to make the team. It's simply the best event of the year to be involved in for many reasons. Obviously the rivalry between Europe v USA, plus the history of the event. The years that the rivalry between some players became very heated. The passion, the pressure, the slick production from Matchroom Sports, the sold out crowds, the atmosphere, and most of all live TV. This a pressure cooker situation which means that a big heart is needed to keep you on you're "A game".

Even though it's not the biggest title to win for each player, by that I mean you prefer to win World Titles and US Opens etc, but it's without doubt the biggest thing to be involved in and the most pressure you will ever feel. You really feel like a star when you play in the Mosconi Cup. It's unique and once you make the team for the first time, you want to be in it every year, and thankfully for me since I first made the Euro team 2009 I have been selected every year since.
The only other players who have been there longer are Ralf Souquet and Johnny Archer, so that's an achievement in itself, and I was very, very unlucky to not get picked in 2008 after winning the World 10 Ball Title, so this should really be my 4th consecutive year..

The Mosconi Cup really does catch every ones attention, the people on the street know nothing about world championships or the US Open, etc. But they certainly ask about the Mosconi Cup, and it's the only pool tournament that attracts audiences who don't usually watch pool and of course the event gets great exposure.
However, it makes for great TV and the rivalry between the two teams, which obviously all started with Ryder Cup (Golf). Europe v USA - it catches your attention and the Mosconi Cup is a pretty big event in the UK, so as an Englishman it's a dream and honor to be involved again this year.. 

I am very happy with the European team we have this year and we have the best man to lead us again this year. You need a great captain and Johan Ruijsink is certainly that, he knows just the right amount of discipline needed, hard work, mentally he is a great coach and he sets great goals for us... Probably the best captain/coach I have ever worked with since I started playing pool 20 years ago, but most importantly he has the respect of the team!!

Obviously Ralf is a machine and another great year for him. For me he is the Player of the Year up to this point and the most dedicated pool player in history ...his record is amazing ! 

Niels Feijen - great to see him back after missing out last year, obviously he started a family last year, but this year he is back and looking strong 

Nick Van Den Berg is solid and a great team player and great thinker of the game. Plays with lot of heart and will give everything to the team and a super cool guy.

Chris Melling - I've known Chris forever - we started playing 8 Ball around the same time - we played so many team events together in English 8 Ball. I've seen him play some of the most incredible shots you will ever see in pressure situations - the bigger the crowd the better he plays. So even as a rookie on the team I have no doubt he will light up the arena in Las Vegas and love every minute of it and he will be a massive part of our team I am sure 

It's going to be very exciting for sure, but we will be ready..

One last thing I want to mention. I can't believe how negative the Americans have been towards Charlie Williams being appointed as the Captain of the USA Mosconi Cup Team. It's amazing how these guys on the forums make me laugh, as they really don't know Charlie, he really is a good guy and I know he will do a great job for team USA. Win or lose I think they have got the best man for the job.. I am sure that the team are pretty happy with his being the captain. So the rest of the country should get behind both Charlie and the team!!!
We all want to be in the team, it's our goal if you make the team and that also tells you that you have had a good year. Obviously winning the Mosconi Cup would be a great way to end the year... But obviously the highlight of my year so far was winning two US Opens back to back, but I still have a chance to finish World No 1. That's a big goal for me next week. It will be amazing if I can finish No 1 in the World and win the Mosconi Cup at the end of the year. That would truly go down as my greatest ever year in pool.
Regarding the emotional side of the game. This event is a little different to individual tournament play, usually you only have yourself to worry about, but in the Mosconi Cup you have to think of your team mates, and how they are feeling. One guy might be low on confidence and another high, so sometimes a player might need more support by reminding him what a great player he his, but then on top of that you have the pressure of representing your country and your team.
So the pressure is more intense than a regular tournament that we play every week. You don't want to let anyone down so that makes team play even more unique.
Plus the Mosconi Cup has the biggest TV audience and the most knowledgeable fans in the world.
All of the above plus the events short race format ensures that you have to be prepared and focused and also try and enjoy the moment, otherwise your are going to fold and crumble under the pressure.
Thanks, pal.

Shawn Putnam - (USA}
"The Mosconi Cup is the Holy Grail of pool tournaments. From the beginning of the year when I got second at the Mizerak and was in the running for the Team, I was obsessed with getting back on the Mosconi Cup team. It has consumed me and all of my emotions for the whole year. The only reason I went to all those tournaments was to acquire valuable Mosconi Cup points. My BCA ranking meant nothing to me since it is just a bunch of politics and we are all sick of it!
The event is different from other top events because there is more at stake than just winning or losing for ones self. You are playing for your country and that is the greatest honor you can be given in our sport. The pressure is the most you will ever feel in any competition because you don't just let yourself down , you let your country down if you lose. It is the equivalent of the Ryder Cup in golf and you know how important that is to every golfer in the US !
I was fortunate to be on the winning Mosconi Cup team in 2005 and to date that is my most acclaimed accomplishment.
I have been playing pool full time since I was 17 and have dreamed about being on a team that represented my country my whole life. The Mosconi Cup ranks up there with the US Open as two of the greatest titles in our sport.
My most memorable moment in my Mosconi Cup history was when Jeremy Jones made the winning 9 Ball in 2005 for us to win the Cup. I went crazy with excitement !

I cannot wait to get back in the mix this year !