even the best laid plans can run afoul. the planned and anticipated arrival of pacman was no exception, much to the disappointment of the fans. oh well; game on.
for the many fans of manny pacquiao, his absence was no doubt a big disappointment. according to the pacman productions, they tried exceedingly hard to secure the pacman’s appearance, but pacman’s busy schedule did not allow him to show up at the tournament. personally i was sort of indifferent to it; i’m a pool fan first and foremost, and i went for the pool. in that, i wasn’t disappointed. oh, espn didn’t show as well, so TAR was the only crew covering the event. espn’s loss.
the tournament ended with roberto “superman” gomez taking 1st, mark haddad 2nd, oscar dominguez 3rd, and louis ulrich in 4th place. superman’s win no doubt made up in some way for pacman’s no-show. oscar played very well throughout the tournament, but his last two matches just didn’t go his way. no matter; he’s still the #1 ranked US player, and slated for the mosconi cup tournament. ulrich played well, but he just sort of fell apart against haddad and couldn’t shift into high gear, tried as he did. congrats to him for placing 4th in a tough field.
i’ve actually never heard of mark haddad, but i was pretty impressed with his game. someone told me he’s from norcal, so i’ll go with that info. i couldn’t say he played exceptionally well, but he played well enough in this tournament, and came up with some terrific clutch shots in his matches. i thought the tight pockets did affect his shooting, however. those 4-inch pockets on the feature table were just BRUTAL. i personally think those pockets cut away at least three balls from anyone’s game.
my impression of superman: he is a very, shall we say, dramatic player. his final match against haddad came complete with a wardrobe change. not sure how changing your clothes affect your game, but it seemed to work for him. did i mention he actually changed his shoes as well? i do think he’s a likable person, and he seems pretty good-natured. no dull moments with his matches, that’s for sure. made me feel like i got my money’s worth.
one thing i got out of this tournament was that the top pros didn’t move their heads when they shot, with the exception of ulrich. i discovered this accidentally from using my meager camera. my cam has pretty slow shutter speeds, so i can’t capture motion as well as a full-on SLR digital cam. a lot of times i took pictures of the pros in mid-stroke, and only the shooting arms were blurry. this meant that they kept everything still except the shooting arm. now i have photographic evidence of a commonly heard pool tip in action. me likes.
the next big tournament (i think) will be february of next year. the jay swanson memorial tournament, scheduled to take place at the hollywood billiards. if i can make it i’ll check it out.
i took some more pics in day two. enjoy. i have a few videos of the players breaking; when i get a chance i’ll post them.