HomeAbout Billiards DigestContact UsArchiveAll About PoolEquipmentOur AdvertisersLinks
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.


Archives
• June 2024
• May 2024
• April 2024
• March 2024
• February 2024
• January 2024
• December 2023
• November 2023
• October 2023
• September 2023
• August 2023
• July 2023
• June 2023
• May 2023
• April 2023
• March 2023
• January 2023
• December 2022
• November 2022
• October 2022
• September 2022
• August 2022
• July 2022
• June 2022
• May 2022
• April 2022
• March 2022
• February 2022
• January 2022
• December 2021
• November 2021
• October 2021
• September 2021
• August 2021
• July 2021
• June 2021
• May 2021
• April 2021
• March 2021
• February 2021
• January 2021
• December 2020
• November 2020
• October 2020
• September 2020
• August 2020
• July 2020
• June 2020
• May 2020
• April 2020
• March 2020
• February 2020
• January 2020
• December 2019
• November 2019
• October 2019
• September 2019
• August 2019
• July 2019
• June 2019
• May 2019
• April 2019
• March 2019
• February 2019
• January 2019
• December 2018
• November 2018
• October 2018
• September 2018
• August 2018
• July 2018
• June 2018
• May 2018
• April 2018
• March 2018
• February 2018
• January 2018
• November 2017
• October 2017
• September 2017
• August 2017
• July 2017
• June 2017
• May 2017
• April 2017
• March 2017
• February 2017
• January 2017
• December 2016
• November 2016
• October 2016
• September 2016
• August 2016
• July 2016
• June 2016
• May 2016
• Apr 2016
• Mar 2016
• Feb 2016
• Jan 2016
• Dec 2015
• Nov 2015
• Oct 2015
• Sept 2015
• August 2015
• July 2015
• June 2015
• May 2015
• April 2015
• March 2015
• February 2015
• January 2015
• October 2014
• August 2014
• May 2014
• March 2014
• February 2014
• September 2013
• June 2013
• May 2013
• April 2013
• March 2013
• February 2013
• January 2013
• December 2012
• November 2012
• October 2012
• September 2012
• August 2012
• July 2012
• June 2012
• May 2012
• April 2012
• March 2012
• February 2012
• January 2012
• December 2011
• November 2011
• October 2011
• September 2011
• August 2011
• July 2011
• June 2011
• May 2011
• April 2011
• March 2011
• February 2011
• January 2011
• December 2010
• November 2010
• October 2010
• September 2010
• August 2010
• July 2010
• June 2010
• May 2010
• April 2010
• March 2010
• February 2010
• January 2010
• December 2009
• November 2009
• October 2009
• September 2009
• August 2009
• July 2009
• June 2009
• May 2009
• April 2009
• March 2009
• February 2009
• January 2009
• October 2008
• September 2008
• August 2008
• July 2008
• June 2008
• May 2008
• April 2008
• March 2008
• February 2008
• January 2008
 
February: A Major Debate
February 2023

What’s the value of structure?

It’s a word that’s been the focal point of a lot of discussion in pool circles of late. Structure in the development of America’s youth players. Structure in a system for determining players for Team USA. Structure in rankings. Structure in formats.

Structure is a pattern of organization. And organization is certainly something lacking in a large portion of the pool world. That’s not a knock, it’s just a reality. And it’s understandable. It takes people and money to provide structure, and pool has always been a sport that’s had to take care of its own. We don’t get much outside help.

Now, much of the structure needed in pool is pretty involved and complicated, like structure in the training of youth players in the U.S. That’s certainly a topic worth discussing, and we’ll delve into that in an upcoming issue.

But sometimes structure is something small and easy, yet it can have a big impact.

I recently got into a debate about whether or not the Derby City Classic 9-Ball division is a “major” title in the sport. I argued that it is not. The others in the debate disagreed.

The actual debate over that particular event isn’t relevant here. And I’ll get into the process by which a major title might be determined in a bit. But to me, the point of having the discussion was to try to help establish various levels of achievement in our sport that give some real perspective as to who the very best players are.

Why is that important? For me, that structure is an important element of giving the sport credibility and visibility outside our little circle. I don’t golf, but I know what the four golf majors are, and I know that those major titles give me perspective as to the success of a golfer’s career. The same with tennis. I know the difference between a tennis Grand Slam event and the Miami Open.

We don’t have that in pool. Heck, even horses have a more structured measuring stick, with the Triple Crown!

Pool has always been its own worst enemy in giving structure to a player’s resume. In the 1980s, any promoter who felt like throwing the word “world” onto their tournament flyer allowed the event’s eventual winner to list “world title” on his or her resume. There were literally years that had three or four “world 9-ball champions.” And any tournament that featured more than five top pros and had a top prize over $1,000 was called a “major title.” When player resumes were handed to sponsors or writers or tournament directors or television crews, they often claimed that the player had won “over 100 major titles” in his illustrious five-year career.

In the end, it doesn’t really help the player. And it doesn’t help the sport. It makes us look silly.

For me, there is renewed hope that we can rectify this calamity. (A little strong? Maybe, but we go for effect here!) Matchroom’s efforts to bring some structure to 9-ball tournaments around the globe, and Predator’s commitment to 10-ball events and world championships in 8-ball and women’s 9-ball may well give us an opportunity to establish some structure to the professional game.

I’d love to see pool have a Grand Slam or a Triple Crown. I don’t even care if we come up with our own tag — Pool’s Quintuple Crown. Or if the sport would prefer to simply create distinction between “majors,” “tour titles” and “regional titles,” that’s fine too. Pool may well need to take that approach since events come and go so frequently.

The final determination of what qualifies events as majors or tour titles or regional titles is not nearly as important to me as the opportunity to establish benchmarks and a list going forward to help give the sport more credibility, and to eventually give a better historical perspective to the professional side of the sport.

I certainly don’t claim to have the answer here, but I do have some thoughts as to what needs to be considered in making these determinations.

First, if pool wanted to boast a Grand Slam, say, how would we determine the four events? WPA World Championships would appear to be obvious, right?

Not so fast. The World 8-Ball Championship was just staged for the first time in a decade. The World 10-Ball Championships have been staged for men in the past two years but was sporadic before that. So, be careful what you include. For me, the events that make up a Triple Crown or Grand Slam absolutely must take place every year.

What about prize money? Surely the amount of money added to the purse as well as the top prize should be a consideration. As must the size and strength of the field. As must the format. Short races? Out. Invitationals? Out.

History is important to me. An event like the U.S. Open and its stepbrother, the International Open, have history and credibility on their side. And I like that they are produced by different promoters. A list of “past champions” plays a big role.

Should there be separate Grand Slams or lists of majors based on the discipline? Perhaps. Maybe 9-ball’s Grand Slam is the World Pool Championship, U.S. Open, International Open and, say, the Asian Open (assuming that will be an annual event). Then your Grand Slam takes in the three main continents in the sport.

And maybe then you call the World 8-Ball, World 9-Ball and World 10-Ball the World Triple Crown.

Again, I don’t have the answer, but let’s start this debate. If nothing else, it will prove that we can actually add structure to something in this sport!

MORE VIDEO...