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The U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships (often shortened in clear contexts to simply U.S. Open, and sometimes spelled with "US", "9-ball", "Nine-ball", singular "Championship", etc.) is an annual professional pool (pocket billiards) tournament that began in 1976 at Q-Master Billiards in Norfolk, Virginia, although previous versions of a "U.S. Open Nine-ball Tournament" had been held at the Jack n Jill Club in Arlington, V.A. as early as 1970.
Though it is staged in the United States and is labeled the "U.S. Open", male professional pool players from around the world are eligible to compete in this event in the Men's Division. The Women's U.S. Open is a separate event, unaffiliated with the Men's U.S. Open. Instead, the Women's U.S. Open is associated with the Women's Professional Billiard Association (WPBA). The Men's U.S. Open is one of the most sought-after titles in nine-ball and in pool generally. It is also referred to as the Cuetec Cues U.S. Open, for sponsorship purposes.
Shane Van Boening of USA is the current two-time defending champion (2012 & 2013) of the Men's Division. Mika Immonen of Finland is the 2009 Men's Division title-holder. Immonen is also the 2008 Men's Division title-holder of the US$250,000 33rd Annual U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships, where 237 billiards players competed. Immonen claimed the 13–7 victory, and pocketed the first-place prize of $40,000 on October 26, 2008 against Filipino runner-up Ronato Alcano (2006 World Nine-ball Champion), who settled for $20,000. It marked Immonen's second consecutive U.S. Open 9-Ball Champion title, making him, at the time, the winningest non-U.S. competitor.[dated info]
Featured matches are recorded and broadcast by Billiard Club Network and Accu-Stats Video Productions on a designated table at the Chesapeake Conference Center with commentary provided by various pool veterans and industry members.
Traditionally, winners of the U.S. Open are given a green blazer in recognition for this championship title and are awarded free entry fees to all future U.S. Open tournaments.
In its first edition in 1976, the U.S. Open was contested by just 16 players. Over the years, the number of participants steadily increased, reaching its current level of 256 players.
Today the larger Men's Division is a restrictive male-only event, though it is otherwise a true "open" tournament, in that the only requirement is the payment of the entry fee, which was $600 in 2008. The total purse for the tournament at that time was $200,000, where the winner was awarded $40,000.
Barry Behrman is the tournament promoter of the Men's Division, and has been since its inception.
The tournament's original venue was Q-Master Billiards pool room, located in Norfolk, Virginia, which hosted the event, other than one year, until 1988. From 1997 to 2011, the U.S. Open Men's Division was held at the Chesapeake Conference Center in Chesapeake, Virginia. After Behrman refused to pay money owed for the Chesapeake venue, the 2012 U.S. Open was held in Virginia Beach, VA.
Unlike the Men's Division, the U.S. Open for women is not a true "open" event. Each female player must qualify through the WPBA, the professional women's billiards tour based in the United States, in order to compete in this annual event. The Women's Division tournament is held in different locations each year.
The tournament format is essentially double-elimination (a player is out of the tournament after losing two matches) until two players remain. Most professional pool "double-elimination" events, however, are not true double-elimination formats, where the player who reaches the finals from the loser's side has to defeat the winner's side player twice for the title. At the U.S. Open, matches are played in races to 11, with the winner breaking. However, the final match, as is customary with most professional nine-ball tournaments today, is one extended race. At the U.S. Open, the extended race in the finals is 13 games.
|2013||Shane Van Boening (3)|
|2012||Shane Van Boening (2)|
|2011||Darren Appleton (2)|
|2009||Mika Immonen (2)|
|2007||Shane Van Boening|
|2000||Earl Strickland (5)|
|1998||Buddy Hall (2)|
|1997||Earl Strickland (4)|
|1993||Earl Strickland (3)|
|1990||Nick Varner (2)|
|1987||Earl Strickland (2)|
|1986||David Howard AKA Squirrel|
|1983||Mike Sigel (3)|
|1980||Mike Sigel (2)|
|This section requires expansion. (February 2008)|
|2012||Allison Fisher (6)|
|2010||Ga-young Kim (3) |
|1988||Ewa Laurance (2) |