By: Markus Noé
Today marks the beginning of the 40th annual U.S Open Championships in Norfolk, Virginia. This is the second most prestigious 9 Ball event outside the World Championship and title that every player who wishes to be compared to the legends of the sport need to obtain at some point in their career. That is of course if Shane VanBoening will let anyone else win one, as we all know he is currently the three time defending Champion.
A few things have changed this year as the entry fee has been raised to $1000 up from $750 from last year. This seems to not have deterred many as they have filled this years tournament with 128 players and has been filled for sometime now. The reason for this increase in the entry fee is for two reasons I am told. The obvious one is that sponsorship dollars is always hard or near impossible to come by for pool and with increase in entry it encourages only the best of the best to show. As much as I love attending the Turning Stone Classic the lower entry fee encourages amateurs to sign up to take a shot at some of the best in World. However for a tournament as prestigious as the U.S Open you want the best in the world to show up and make it as competitive as possible.
After looking over this list of 128 players I would consider this field to be a tougher one than the final 128 at the recent World Championship in Qatar. The main reason being that somewhere near 40 spots in the World Championships were filled from the Middle East which realistically only boasts a handful of known world class talent.
This is an intriguing U.S Open for many reasons. It is the 40th edition of this great event, with many exciting story lines. Will SVB do the unthinkable and win four in a row? Will Ko Pin Yi come to America and take that title away from SVB and add to his two World titles this year? Perhaps Jayson Shaw who is the three time defending Turning Stone Classic champion will take the next step. For Canadians will this be the tournament that John Morra ends his trend of runner-up finishes in major tournaments and take down his first U.S Open title?
To follow all these story lines and more makes sure to go to www.accu-stats.com to buy the week pass for the stream, and follow us at Cue Sport Nation for all your updates. Accu-Stats is really unrivaled in doing this type of big event with great video quality and commentary. If you are a die hard pool fan your money is being well spent. Good luck to all the competitors this year and I look forward to seeing how the week plays out.