Szywala Defeats Rossman by 30 Seconds

Szywala Defeats Rossman by 30 Seconds

When we thought we had seen it all on the WPA Artistic Pool Tour, once again the seemingly impossible happened at the Master's Artistic Pool Championship at the Hopkins Expo in Valley Forge, PA on 3/25/04 – 3/28/04. Luke “Lucky Luke” Szywala of Poland, who the weekend before was nosed out by Andy “The Magic Man” Segal's amazing last shot in the Northeastern Artistic Pool Championship, seemed to post a winning score of 202 that was too hard to overcome in the final round. Mr. Szywala also known as “Cool Hand Luke” scored an incredible 9 shots in a row in the two final disciplines of Jump and Masse Shots. That enabled him to pass the Italian Champion, European Champion, and 2003 U.S. Open Champion Stefano “The Master” Pelinga, who incredibly the night before stunned the Artistic Pool World by breaking the World Record for Masse Shots held by Tom “Dr. Cue” Rossman. Mr. Pelinga hit all 5 Masse shots as Mr. Rossman had done the year before in the 2003 WPA World Artistic Pool Championship in Kiev, Ukraine. Mr. Rossman scored 42 out of a possible 47, while Mr. Pelinga hit 44 because he hit more first and second attempts. Each player gets three attempts at each shot and one point is reduced for each attempt.

The stage was now set for the 30 second “miracle”. Tom “Dr. Cue” Rossman had to pull off another Masse miracle to win the Championship. Dr. Cue had been closing the gap in the last two rounds by hitting at one point seven shots in a row. Now Mr. Rossman stepped up for three attempts at the Francois Minguad Masse Shot, which is the final and most difficult shot in the 40 shot program. The cue ball must curve around a cube of chalk that is placed on the table and then travel down the side rail the length of the table to pocket an object ball hanging in the far corner. Dr. Cue on his first attempt missed the shot by about 18 inches. Now Rossman approached his second attempt, which he needed to make to win the tournament. The reason is that the second attempt at that final shot would give him a total of 203 points to Luke Szywala's 202. Mr. Rossman missed the shot by less than an inch and 30 seconds later hit his third attempt and posted an identical score of 202 with Mr. Szywala. Unfortunately the tiebreaker rule went in favor of Luke Szywala, as he had executed 17 first attempts in the 40 shot program to Mr. Rossman's 16 first attempts.

Other highlights in the tournament included Steve Geller of Minot, North Dakota executing 9 consecutive shots that propelled him from the bottom of the pack in the 24-player field to a respectable 7th place finish. Mark Dimick of Oklahoma, who has won many BCA Amateur Artistic Pool titles, finished with a strong 3rd place finish. This is a tribute to the growing grass root's movement spearheaded by Tom “Dr. Cue” Rossman and Marty “Ms. Cue” Rossman of Dr. Cue Promotions in conjunction with the BCA since the early 1990's.

There was nothing lucky about “Lucky Luke” or “Cool Hand Luke” Szywala. He is an artistic pool force to be dealt with as for two weeks straight he amazed the artistic pool world with his consistency and talent and he is only 23 years old. Allen Hopkins himself, who was the youngest pool player to win a 14.1 straight pool world championship in 1977, remarked at the awards ceremony how amazing it was for a 23 year old to shoot down the greatest artistic pool players on earth. That list included none other than 2003 WPA World Artistic Pool Champion and 2003 ESPN Trick Shot Magic Champion Mike Massey, and artistic pool legends like Rossman, Sebastian Guimelli of Argentina, Stefano Pelinga of Italy, 2001 WPA World Artistic Pool Champion Charles Darling, Bogdan “The Wizard” Wolkowski of Poland, and Ralph Eckert of Germany.

At the Awards Ceremony Tournament Director and WPA Artistic Pool Division Chairman Steve Lillis presented the eight discipline medal winners along with the special Sportsmanship Medal to Matt “No Fail” MacPhail of Massachusetts. Selection was made by a majority vote of the players and is awarded to the person who best exemplifies the Artistic Pool Creed of Professional Image, Professional Skills, and Professional Demeanor. Our hosts Allen and Dawn Hopkins presented the trophies and plaques to the 1st and 2nd place winners Luke Szywala and Tom Rossman. After the awards ceremony the fans were treated to a special RACK Team variety show sponsored by Gospel Trick Shot Ministries, Inc. Rick Hawkinson did his “now” famous dart act on a pool table, Rossman did his famous wing shot routine, Steve “The Singer” Geller sang two beautiful songs, Jay Schmitt did an amazing pool ball juggling routine, Charles “Spitball Charlie” Darling spit a cue ball out of his mouth to make amazing shots, Steve “Leapin” Lillis did his well known Gospel Trick Shots, and Mike “Tennessee Tarzan” Massey did his fingerpool routine and incredible boot shot made famous on ESPN.