Behrmans Field the Tough Questions About 2013 U.S. Open

AZBilliards was contacted by Barry Behrman and he has expressed his concern over what he considers misconceptions concerning the U.S. Open. He asked us to come up with the toughest questions we could concerning the talk about his event. We complied and the result is the Q & A below.


AZB: Let's get to the most important point first. I have spoken to many of your top-four finishers over the past decade and even back into the late 90's. I can only find a couple of years in there where everyone got paid at the event. Most of these years at least the top one or two guys have had to take installments.


Barry, if you think this could continue why not simply announce that the top four guys will be paid out in reasonable installments? No one I spoke with would have a problem with that if they just know it in advance.


BB: Prior to 2001, we never had any payout problems. During the unfortunate year of 9/11, we had a very tough decision to make on the second day of the tournament, to continue or not. All of the players were here and flying was not an option for any of the players or our loyal spectators and after only one day of thinking long and hard, we decided to continue on rather than canceling. As a matter of fact, the U.S. Open was the only sporting event going on in America. Since our spectator seats were mostly empty, we had no choice but to re-figure the added money and change it from $72,000.00 to $45,000.00. Meanwhile, we still lost well over $30,000.00 rather than saying; sorry the event is being canceled knowing we would not be losing hardly any money. So, to sum it up, we did not have any payout problems until the tragic year of 2001.


AZB: You have told me you will escrow all of the prize money this year. But you have also said that the escrow will be handled by Shannon, your daughter. I have run this idea past two major players in the industry and neither of them considers this a true escrow. It is just not far enough removed from your control. They want an arms-length banker to handle the escrow. A banker who will sign a publicly distributed document that he will only sign checks made out to the names on the official player list or to their registered agent. Why not just get your banker to do that?


SBP: First, I would like to say that I truly love the U.S. Open. I hope to follow in my father’s footsteps and make him and everyone proud. It is my goal to restore the U.S. Open’s reputation beginning with this year, the 38th annual. I have been involved for going on 13 years now and have learned many lessons along the way. Some good lessons and some that are not so good. I know that we have to get a grip on the prize fund. It is not fair to the players, I want to make one thing clear: our failure to pay on time was never our intention. We always have the player’s best interest in mind and always shoot for the stars when creating the prize fund. After all, many have families and have chosen billiards as their career and we want to support them. I would like to also set the rumor straight that we have “stiffed” players in the past. This is not the case and has never happened. Every player has been paid, some late at times but nonetheless paid. My father and I don’t live lavishly or take fabulous vacations to Fiji after the event while the players are waiting to get paid. In fact, we feel horrible, embarrassed and ashamed, rightfully so. Please know that I am not making excuses for prior actions, it was wrong and we are going to make it right!


In regards to this year’s escrow, we are going to set up an escrow account with a well known reputable billiard industry leader in which all funds including VIP seats and player entries will be placed into this account. Therefore all added monies will be in escrow 90 days in advance. As far as a banker goes, that is something that I will definitely look into. I want everyone's mind to be at ease, and if that is what it takes, then I am willing to explore that avenue.


AZB: Barry, you have been known to overstep reality in your press releases. I remind you of the ones where you talked about having armed guards wheel the final prize money out into the arena, the ones about your First Tee idea and I can go on down the list but will not do so. In short, why should anyone put much merit on what you say in these releases? You have never had a problem walking away from the promises that you make in them.


BB: Yes, I will admit that at times I have overshot the reality of doing more for the game of pool, which has been my passion in life now for almost 50 years. About having the total prize money wheeled out prior or during the event, yes, that was something that I was hoping and wanting to do. I understand many people have given me less merit by wanting to do more rather than less or simply just walking away completely. Well, that is just not in my blood. I do not and will not just give up. I have lived my life from a quote I saw in the locker room in my undefeated senior year of high school wrestling, “ Winners never quit and quitters never win.” If I had chosen to not follow this, the U.S. Open would have been gone a long time ago. I completely understand why many people have lost their faith and confidence in me, but I am still here and I will not quit.


AZB: Your new arena at the Marriott. will not hold the number of fans that used to attend at the CCC. You are already patching up relations with the CCC. Why not just go back there in 2014?


SBP: Jerry the Marriott will hold between 650-700 fans in one ballroom. That is great! We know that it is a wonderful venue for the Open and one that will truly appreciate our fans and players. We hope that everyone will trust that we are doing what is best for the event. We are currently focusing on 2013 and as far as 2014 goes, we will see what happens. The CCC is currently for sale.


BB: This year’s event is being held at the Marriott, the former Holiday Inn where the U.S. Open was held from 1991-1995. The very nice, main ballroom is 7,200 sq ft and this is terrific because everyone will be right on top of the action. We will be able to seat well over 600 people in general admission and of course, still having the ACCU-STATS arena along with 200 VIP seats. Yes, we are patching up issues with the city of Chesapeake and we will have to wait until after this year’s event to decide on going back to the Chesapeake Conference Center.


AZB: You seem willing to go back to where you were twenty years ago. Remember how we heralded the move from the Holiday Inn to the CCC? That was a huge improvement and you were very happy about it at the time. Now we are back to bleachers in the GA area. Everyone was very happy when you did away with the bleachers and put in risers and seats with a table. Is this not a matter of choosing quantity over quality?


SBP: I understand where you are coming from Jerry and why many people may want to know the answer to this question. The CCC was great, but over the years their leadership and managers made it unbearable to operate our event there. We had to make a difficult decision to leave that venue. We thought long and hard about that decision over the course of several years before me made the move. As far as the seating goes, we will take care of our fans as usual. We will cushion all bleachers and build back rests on the back of the bleachers as well. It is our goal to make everyone as comfortable as possible. And the VIP section will be built by Commonwealth Events., the same group that did them at the event for 15 years. The seats will be perfect! After all, we have the best fans on earth and we appreciate them.


BB: Sometimes bigger may not be better. Besides bleacher seating for general admission, which will be as comfortable as we can possibly make it, we are going to have very nicely padded seats with a comfortable back rest for everyone. And Commonwealth Events, the same group that did them at the event for 15 years, will build the VIP section. Again, ticket prices have not gone up in the past 20 years and that will remain the same.


AZB: On the events where things do not go as planned, such as the Hurricane year, the 911 year, the Masters event, you have had to take a financial hit. But, unlike others, you often expect others to share in your misfortune. You have reduced the announced prize funds as the event was in progress at least twice. You expected the CCC to 'forgive' a debt to them because the Masters evident went poorly. You delayed payments to other vendors. Why do you expect those with whom you do business to share in your losses? I know of no other business that has ever expected others to share the pain of their mistakes and misfortunes.


BB: Yes, besides 9/11 in 2003 hurricane Isabelle came through right in the middle of the event and the very last chore that I did was to put $50,000 in the U.S. Open escrow account from my father’s inheritance to assure everyone would be paid including the champion Jeremy Jones and they were without delays. The only time there was a reduction was in 2001 as explained in question 1 from $72,000 to $45,000 and still lost $30,000 that we certainly did not have at the time.


In regards to the Masters event, in 2011 we have every right to be upset with the city of Chesapeake due to the way they calculate their hotel room nights. They have 8 hotels that surround their conference center but only track 5 hotels and that left an unfair calculation. It is unfair and improper. We know that the Open does between 2200-2400 room nights during the event and they only report 1000 and that left us with a bill that we were forced to pay due to their lack of proper counting.


SBP: We have had some misfortune over the years and had to overcome some obstacles along the way. We have had to reduce prize fund based on the number of players that attended such as in 9/11, instead of cancelling the event. I believe it was the right thing to do, as all the players whom were at the event participated in a vote to either continue the event with a lesser prize or cancel the event. As far as the CCC, that is not the case; we have issues with their room recording in which they admit that they do not ask all surrounding hotels to report their rooms and we are left to pay for not meeting a specific room block which is unfair. I am not sure what you mean in regards to delayed payments to other vendors; I do not recall that ever happening.


Closing statements


SBP&BB: We both know that we could solve all of our financial problems by lowering the prize fund like many, many people have suggested we do. But, honestly that is the last thing we want to do. We feel like that would be a disservice to the players. We want to grow the U.S. Open as well as this industry. Therefore, we have made a plan to put all monies in escrow including VIP seats and players entries into a separate bank account and have the added monies in escrow 90 days in advance. In the past this was not always the case. The VIP seat money did not go into the escrow. We now know how to fix the problems and have had several meetings together in order brainstorm on how to improve the Open. We are determined to do so. We have also found ways to cut down on our expenses by nearly half and hand-pick our staff in order to run the event flawlessly and better than ever.


We will continue to do everything in our power to help this sport that we all love. There is no reason in our minds why the professional game of pool cannot be bigger and better and elevate further than bowling, no offense. We want to see billiards grow. We are continuing our relationship with Pepsi and our focusing on being involved on corporate levels this year and for future years. After all, this is the US. Open!


Some important information on the event this year:


Dates: October 13-19, 2013


Seating: Our VIP’s may begin to reserve their seats beginning June 1st. They may view the layout of the Main TV arena room now on our website at:

And the layout of the Riverside room may be viewed at:


Prize Fund breakdown


$200,000.00 prize fund


(based on a full field of 256 players) 1st $40,000.00
2nd $20,000.00
3rd $10,000.00
4th $7,000.00
5th & 6th $6,000.00 each
7th & 8th $5,000.00 each
9th - 12th $4,000.00 each
13th -16th $3,000.00 each
17th -24th $2,000.00 each
25th -32nd $1,500.00 each
33rd -48th $1,000.00 each
49th -64th $750.00 each
65th -96th $500.00 each


$50,000.00 minimum added


$1,000.00 for high run racks Message from our host site:


"I have known and had the pleasure of working with Barry Behrman from 1991-1995 at the Holiday Inn Chesapeake and at the Marriott in Chesapeake from 2008-2011. I have literally watched his daughter, Shannon, grow from a little girl to a young woman and become a strong right hand for her father, Barry at Q-Master Billiards, their thriving Virginia Beach business, and the U.S. Open for the last 13 years. We look forward to once again, welcoming Barry, Shannon, and all of their guests to the 2013 U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships, as they return to Chesapeake, for what we know will be another phenomenal event. Welcome back from the Marriott Chesapeake and we look forward to many future years to come."


Terri Chamblee
Senior Sales Manager
Marriott Chesapeake