AzB Gold Member
You are among my favorite posters on this board. All of your posts are insightful, respectful, and on-topic (if you are responding to a thread). You make some valid points about what might be the shortcomings of the U.S. Open this year. However, I think of it a bit differently.
I agree about how frustrating it is that the rules are always changing. However, the 1 on the spot vs. the 9 on the spot, (I think) is close to a distinction without a difference. From my perspective, the winner of this tournament and the players that go deep are very successful on their break--even with the 9 on the spot. It might be with the old rules that you were less likely to be the victim of a 5 pack, but that was certainly not outside the possibility of what could happen At the last International Open, Gorst, SVB, Lechner, Filler, Shaw and Woodward were all very productive against their opponents from the break with the 9 on the spot. I think Lechner, SVB, and Woodward all put together some pretty healthy packages with the 9 on the spot and 3 point rule. You might say that I have named elite players or even breakers. Sure, I have. However, all of the other players that are going to go through the time and expense to sign up for this tournament have had two years to catch up when it comes to the 9 on the spot breaking method. If the rules were the same as before, everyone would be better than before. At least, they have no excuse not to be.
Very strong players like yourself are used to the occasional 2 or 3 game deficit. However, because of how rare it is now that tournaments are winner break, it is not often that spectators get to see large packages (or even more interesting to me), how very accomplished players like yourself respond when they recipients of a Jeremy Jones 5 pack. I am not wishing a 5 pack on you versus some other player, I am just saying that the chance for large packages adds an element of interest for the spectator that is not in most other tournaments these days.
I hope you can avoid having those packages put on you, and I hope you can dish out your fair share of punishment.
Thank you KD for a great post!
You're right about the 9 on the spot being a gradually waning defense against having the break solved. Dennis and SVB played in their races to 120 and demonstrated that they can still achieve an extremely high run out percentage. This break is still tougher because you can't control the cue ball and the one ball as well. This leads to more racks where the opening shot is a tough one, or where safety battles ensue. There is more randomness. It is also easy to make an error and lose the cue ball on the footrail or leave a cluster. The one on the spot takes that out as you can use a head on break at medium speed and control the 1 and cue ball very easily. But overall you're right that more and more players are catching up to their break strategy.
Then it comes down to whether the break should be made easier, harder, or left the same. I could make a strong argument that it should be made harder as I personally find adversity more interesting than open layouts and a wired ball on the break. I could also make an argument that it should be left alone for a while and we just all accept and adapt to one set of rules. I was just surprised to see it be made easier as it is both an unnecessary rule change as well as one I think makes the game less interesting.
Now you bring up good points about how this will make for a lot of big packages. This will also lead to more upsets. I was there the year Jason Klatt took 3rd, he ran out a set on Alex in just 3 innings if I remember correctly. So there will be drama, big runs, upsets, comebacks, and that may be interesting.
OK, fine. Give the people what they want. But what I don't understand is this: If those things are so good for the game, why did pool go on a 20 year quest to make the break harder?
As for me personally, I'm ready. I'm signed up and this is the turf I'm playing on so I'll go play. It probably does help me because I know the top players would have a breaking edge on me with 9 on the spot, whereas with 1 on the spot it will be easy for everyone. It also makes the sets play as if they are shorter so I have more chances probably than I would otherwise. So I will focus on the positive and do my best like always. I just find these things fascinating!