Defending Champ Wu Makes Rest of WPC Field See Red
by Mason King Nov 10, 2006, 2:23 PM EST
MANILA, Philippines – Look out, pool world: there’s a new Tiger Woods in your midst.
If it wasn’t easy enough to compare Woods and Taiwan’s Chia-Ching Wu based on their astronomical talent at a young age, Wu has adopted a well-known Woods habit as he rampages through the field at the 2006 World Pool Championship: wearing a red shirt.
Wu, the defending champion at this year’s WPC, has a superstition about wearing the same color shirt when he’s playing well, and this year the color is red. After Wu shellacked Scotland’s Pat Holtz, 11-6, in the round of 16 on Friday, Taiwanese journalists presented him with a spare red shirt to help ensure another title run.
Now just 17, Wu seems even more mature and comfortable than he did when winning the WPC title in his home country in 2005. Not to mention slimmer – he’s lost nearly 60 pounds in the 16-month interim. And his game is even more complete, with even stronger safety play and a greater mastery of cue-ball control.
“In terms of my mental game, I’m performing better than last year, and I’m more consistent,” Wu said through an interpreter after defeating Holtz. “My defense is better, and I’m feeling good.”
Wu is undefeated so far at this year’s WPC, winning all three matches in the group stage and putting a scare in the field with overpowering play. He dominated his first two matches in the knock-out rounds, slapping Cory Deuel (USA), 10-3, and Wang Hung-Hsiang (Taiwan), 10-3.
Unfortunately, as opposed to 2005, he now feels like he has a target on his red breast.
“I didn’t have any pressure last year,” he said. “I didn’t have anything to think about. But this year, there is a little bit of tension from the pressure of expectations.
“After I won last year, I felt I had to be more conscious of how I play, and it was a great motivation for playing well at tournaments.
Set for the quarterfinals this year, Wu felt good about his chances of repeating his championship run.
“There are just three more matches left, and I have confidence,” he said.
Wu will play Filipino Ronato Alcano in the quarterfinals on Saturday. He avoided rating his opponent.
“My main opponent is myself – getting myself to play well and prepare well,” he said. “I’m trying not to think about who is the better player or who would be easier to play.”
Sounds very level-headed. Very Tiger.