My Reflections on the U.S.Open

This year's U.S. Open was truly a very memorial year for me! There were many uncertainties going into the event, and they were constantly on my mind.

In April I had surgery on both of my knees, partial replacements, done at the same time. A month later, I broke my left tibia bone and had to have another surgery. Needless to say, I was dormant and miserable for months, staying home, doing rehab, etc. Thanks to my beautiful daughter, Shannon Leigh, who came by my home very often, took me out to dinner with her husband, Jason, and family almost weekly, this did me a lot of good! Then in June, going back to work at Q-Masters scooting around on an electric wheel chair, almost killing one of my customers, I began the healing process. Then one afternoon, Shannon came into my office and said, “Dad, I have some bad news.” She then showed me the ABP's press release to boycott the open. Now I'm in physical and mental pain, which I wish upon no one. So, without getting angry that day, I was calm and thought about it quietly for many days ahead.

Shannon and I thought carefully about what to do. I realized why they made their decision, since I've been paying players late since 2007 and every year since including the Masters 10-ball. I had no one to blame other than myself. What bothered me the most was the fact that no one was returning any phone calls when I reached out to them for quite some time with no success. Most problems can only be solved if both parties are to sit down and try to get it right. That really was all I was asking for, but again, no one was calling me back. As I've stated many times on AZ Billiards, I've admitted publically paying players much later was very wrong of me.

As everyone knows, Dennis Walsh, attorney for the ABP, Johnny Archer, and myself after many attempts began having very civil phone call discussions. I have not met Mr. Walsh, but what I can truly say is that every conversation we held was very professional and not once did my blood pressure rise. There's an old saying, “You make your bed and now you have to sleep in it.” So, again, with my back against the wall closing in on the U.S. Open.

 Shannon, “God Bless her”, and myself along with Mr. Walsh, the BCA and President Rob Johnson set up an escrow account for sponsors and for players to send their funds into the BCA, which they did. Rob, Shannon and I really appreciate what you and the BCA did for us and without any fees. We had $75,000.00 in the bank when the Open began, and that made all of the difference this year. Thank God again; the money is in the U.S. Open account. We, along with the BCA, expect to do the same for you at next year's U.S. Open.  So thank you all who helped us “Get it right” as Rodney Morris said, that's all they ask. In addition, thank you Rocket, our 1996 champion, and Johnny Archer, our 1999 champion, who played a major role in putting everything properly in order. As a matter of face, Johnny left me a voice message four days after the event saying, “good job Barry and Shannon” as everyone was happy and he was also happy for us and the players, as well.

The week started on Friday before with a first time Pro-Am raising $300.00 for the City of Chesapeake's School Board and that will continue as another U.S. Open tradition with raising a lot more money. The players meeting the following night, Saturday, October 15, was also a wonderful night as we presented Darren his coverted green jacket. Right after Darren received his jacket, Shannon and I welcomed everyone who was at the players meeting and bringing out also many U.S. Open champions. I then read a letter that I wrote the week before the Open about our ABP situation and all in good faith. Then, Ken Shuman and Jay Helfert began the players meeting, before we gladly fed everyone that was there. Our players' meeting is for all to enjoy. We don't kick out wives, girlfriends, family members, or friends; we don't really care how many people go through the buffet line. Shannon and I want the players meeting to be joyful for all to take in, not just the players only. 

All went well and thanks again to Ken and Jay. By Saturday night at 8:30, the flow charts and schedule for Sunday's matches were posted. Great job gentlemen and especially being short handed this year. That will not happen again even though you were fantastic, we need Bill Stock back. A few shot clock watchers and a couple more people to clean tables after each round and clean the balls before 11 am matches and before the 7 pm matches. We know we must beef up our staff more and we will, for sure.

Wednesday night at the dinner break we brought back the “champion roast” steak dinner and twelve players got it good from their chosen friends. We will do this again at our 40th annual U.S. Open. Raj Hundal stole the show talking about Rodney and Chris Melling was great roasting Darren. Even Nick Varner, the quiet man, was funny roasting Archer. It was the best hour steak roast for $15.00.

Shannon and I cannot thank everyone enough who stood by our sides and even those who weren't mentioned, we appreciate your criticism very much as we feed off of the negatives.  Also, even the person after the event who said I was a “goofball”,  well again, you are right, on occasion I can be one; on the flip side to that is 36 years promoting the event I began in 1976 with sixteen players to what we have today. By the way, may he rest in peace, Steve Jobs, founder of apple, was also a goofball at times, I've learned watching all of the programs after his death recently. He was a genius doing what he had the passion to do and it wasn't easy at all.  He died way too young. I still have passion for the game, and hopefully I'll be around much longer.

We always claim to have the greatest pool fans on the planet because we fortunately do and without our key sponsors –Diamond Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Aramith Billiard Balls, Delta13 Triangles, and now Pepsi bottling company – we are going to be able to raise the prize fund and thank you, Mr. Pat Fleming, who went out and spent six figures for H.D. equipment so David Thomson, his agent and best friend, will hopefully be selling 100s of hours of the U.S. Open Globally and in the United States. After all, it is the U.S. Open 9-ball Championships. Thank you, David, and watch what happens now, we can only grow, and within my lifetime I'm aiming for at least $500,000.00 purse, with our champion receiving $100,000.00. It may not be far away at all with more to follow. This great game and our great players for the USA and from twenty plus foreign countries coming here every October, thank you.

 The post about all of the distractions has already been discussed, a couple players' behavior and most importantly some matches taking over three hours, will not happen again. One hour and 45 minutes should easily be the maximum time allotted for any match. The average game of 9-ball is four minutes to play, so we'll have to work the math next year.

The U.S. Open, such as Agusta National, has many traditions and for over 35 years, every night we have someone wonderful to sing you the National Anthem around 9pm. This will never change, and with Alana Springsteen the past two years, six of the seven nights, is wonderful to have. She will be the next Taylor Swift. Also my son and his wife Terri's girls, Hailey and Hannah, you did a good job.

There was a post on AZ Billiards about free passes. If a few people at Q-Masters received a free pass, everyone else would want one also. Ticket prices have remained the same for over twenty years now and I made an announcement before the finals that the tradition will remain the same as well as our VIP ticket holders for another twenty or so years. I'm a traditional type man who doesn't want to gouge the paying customers. Let's let the sponsors from the industry and now with Pepsi bottling company coming aboard, having major sponsors right around the corner for next year. There's no professional tournament in the world that only charges $10.00 for an all day or all night. I've been to most and I'm very certain of that. We all felt that the energy was very vast this year as more American players played than ever before and many of them had a following from the billiard rooms across America.

Yes, it is a very long week at the U.S. Open as now we are very happy to have the BCA HOF formal induction dinner on Thursday night from 4:30 – 7:00. Matches that night started thirty minutes later. I will be discussing the possibility of moving it back one night to Wednesday as that works much better for the players who are getting down to the nitty gritty.

I will also be considering four more diamonds to use in a separate area to speed up some match times. We will keep you informed of that. So, already, we want to repair a few problems and all I can say is we will do our very best.

Unfortunately, even with signs everywhere in regards to no cell phones and camera flashing, there is always someone who forgets. Trust me, nobody wants this to occur, but it may be impossible to prevent it entirely. We will announce more often to remind people about such concerns.

Saturday's final day matches came down to only four players remaining with Darren Appleton from London, Alex Pagulayan, Canada, Shaun Putnam, USA, and Dennis Hatch, USA.  It was a thrilling day, especially for Shawn Putnam. He was very proud to be in the finals; becoming runner-up is an accomplishment. As many world class players have never been to the finals. I called Shawn the other day to congratulate him and he was in very good spirits not only because his check cleared, but he was rightfully proud of his play. Way to go, Shawn! As the crowd chanted at the finals, USA, USA, USA! J

As usual, we had a champagne toast then one hour after it was over, then the after party until 6 am at Q-Masters was “off the hook!” That's why they call it an “after party” and everyone got back to their hotels safely.

So as I reflect back, yes we agree a few tweaks will be made for our 37th annual U.S. Open. Our event staff, Q-Masters Billiards staff, and the Chesapeake Conference Center folks did a wonderful job again this year. Everyone worked long and hard hours.

Promoters, next year the weekend of October 6-8 and October 29-31, on the east and west coast have an event as it's a no brainer as players are coming from abroad and the Americans are already here. That would give the players three weeks of action.

Lastly, there is no way to compare any other event to the U.S. Open 9-Ball as the Derby City run by my friends at Diamond, Greg Sullivan and Chad Scarlow who has the greatest all around event with about $80,000.00 plus added for the banks, 9-ball and on pocket and Aller Hopkins' fantastic expo in March is unbeatable with over 100 vendors, thousands of amateurs of all ages and genders along with a $25,000.00 added pro event. What a job they all do year after year after year. We all have our own brand of competition and that's great for American soil to have.

Thank you all, again. The media, especially AZ Billiards, as well as players from around the globe, Shannon and I will be working hard and possibly have a greater prize fund next year and a lot more in years to come. I do have a dream to at least have a $500,000.00 U.S. Open with $100,000.00 going to our champion and it may be coming before I'm done. All we need is a few corporate sponsors and they are right around the corner.

Shannon and I want to pay special thank you to our Q-Master Billiards staff. Leading the way, Mr. Chris Fegley, who did a fantastic job all 10 days staying open 24/7. With our event staff, Ken, Jay, Todd, Pineapple, WT, Amber, Chase, Brittney, Mark, and of course, my rock, my daughter, Shannon Leigh Behrman Paschall leading the way, everything ran about as smooth as possible and I want to say thank you for allowing me to host this year's U.S. Open maybe better than ever. Thank you, everyone. The Chesapeake Conference Center did a superb job all week and again we thank each and every one of you. By the way, they found the missing microphone that some Assh*** stole. 

Thursday night's BCA formal dinner induction was held for the 3rd year at the Marriot's ballroom and again, thank you Mike and Rob Johnson, CEO of the BCA who we really enjoy working with every year. Now another U.S. Open tradition and we all love having it in the middle of the event, thank you Mike and Rob for another memorable night.

In closing, I have read every post more than once and I agree slow play is a key factor and that will not be tolerated. Ken and Jay have a plan for future U.S. Opens. No match should exceed 2 hours and that is only one of our many goals to be achieved.

So, again, I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for allowing myself to have a wonderful time at this year's U.S. Open; that meant a lot for me. Again, I was uncertain going in. Shannon and I wish you all a happy holiday season with health and happiness.



With My Sincere Appreciation,

Barry Behrman

Founder and Promoter




Hopefully, if all goes well and with more sponsors such as Pepsi Bottling Company, Shannon and I would love to see the U.S. Open become a $200,000.00 total purse. If so, this would be the breakdown:


1       $40,000.00                              13-16    $3000.00 Each

2       $20,000.00                              17-24    $2000.00 Each

3       $10,000.00                              25-32    $1,500.00 Each

4       $8,000.00                                33-48    $1,000.00 Each

5-6    $6,000.00 Each                      49-64    $750.00 Each

7-8    $5000.00 Each                       65-96    $500.00 Each

9-12  $4000.00 Each