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From the Publisher
By Mike Panozzo
Mike became editor of Billiards Digest in 1980 and liked it so much that he bought the company. He has served on the Billiard Congress of America board of directors and as president of the Billiard & Bowling Institute of America.


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January: Hold the Presses!
January 2011
ALWAYS BEEN a big fan of the Women’s Professional Billiard Association. Admire their resourcefulness, love their unity (and they are, for the most part, unified), am impressed by their longevity.

I’m also continuously amused by their … how shall I say it? … frequent changes of heart!

Rarely, it seems, does a WPBA press release cross my desk that isn’t followed rather quickly by another release correcting or contradicting the previous.

And just to clarify things, this is not an indictment of the WPBA’s public relations department or their writing skills.

This is, I feel, the result of a players association run by players.

The normal course of action regarding decisions within the WPBA appears to go something like this: The WPBA board of directors — a selfless, hard-working group who have great ideas and want nothing more than to improve the state of women’s professional pool — discusses and votes on issues pertinent to the operation of the association and the Classic Tour. They come to a consensus and release their edicts.

In a matter of days (and sometimes minutes), the members (read: players) devour, dissect and discuss the ramifications of said edicts. The phone lines and Internet then light up like Christmas trees and the board scrambles to revisit the decisions they were so certain about only days earlier. (Again, this is how I imagine this works!)

I have no evidence to support this, but I’m guessing that the more powerful and influential the member, the more backstroking the board does. Several days later, Presto! A revised press release crosses my desk and the issues are resolved. Until, that is, the next round of phone calls and the next press release.

Case in point?

On Nov. 18, the WPBA issued a release announcing that the 2011 Classic Tour would field 48 players. Tour events had been at 64 players since 2002. The release went on to say that the top 32 players from 2010 would receive exemptions for 2011, and that the other 15 spots (each event holds a host exemption) would be determined by points winners on the nine sanctioned regional tours and regional tour qualifiers preceding each tournament. The qualifiers would replace the annual Regional Tour Championship, the board determined.

Naturally, regional tour players who had participated in hopes of earning a spot at the Regional Tour Championship, as well as the 2010 touring pros slated to lose their exempt status, argued that the new ruling was unfair.

So, on Nov. 27, the WPBA board sent out another release essentially saying, “Oops!” The new decision, the board insisted, is that the Regional Tour Championship is back on (scheduled for March), and the regional tour qualifiers would be eliminated.

Glad that’s all cleared up?

Not so fast! The latest from WPBA headquarters (apparently a Waffle House!) is that the player members are now considering automatic exemptions for the top 39 or 40 touring pros from 2010.

Just a guess, mind you, but I wouldn’t be surprised if players 33-40 haven’t been bending the WPBA board’s ears in the past few weeks!

And that, my friends, is a primer in why I have always felt players associations run by players slows progress to a crawl. The pursuit of perfect fairness paralyzes the board, when in reality most arguments are based in self-preservation.

In other words, another release should be on its way any day now!


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