The professional pool year will close out in style for 2017 as the WPA World 9-ball Championship kicks off December 9 at the Al Arabi Sports Club in Doha, Qatar.
This will be the 8th straight year that the tiny Gulf country, through the government sanctioned Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation, has put its full backing behind the sport of pool’s biggest and most important event. Once again 128 players from over 40 countries will clash to see who will be crowned the king of 9-ball pool.
As usual the tournament will be run in two brutally difficult parts. The Group stages will run from December 9 to11. The players will be broken up into 16 groups of 8 playing a race-to-9, alternate break, double elimination format. Four players from each group will make up the final 64, which marks the start of the always tense and dramatic single elimination phase of the tournament. Matches will then become race to 11, alternate break. The final, which takes place on December 14, will be a race to 13.
In 25 previous editions dating back to 1990, the World 9-ball Championship has always provided the kind of nerve rattling drama that has captured the imagination of pool fans around the globe. It’s that kind of pressure cooker atmosphere that has always weeded out the pretenders to pool’s ultimate crown, and produced a veritable pantheon of pool greats.
These greats make up a who’s who of the sport of pool. Multiple winners of the World 9-ball Championship include the legendary Earl Strickland (1990, ’91, ’02), Johnny Archer(’92, ’97), Taiwan’s Fong Pang Chao (’93, 2000), and Thorsten Hohmann (2003, ’13).
Germany’s Ralf Souquet (’96) and Oliver Ortmann (’95), Finland’s Mika Immonen (’01), the Netherlands Niels Feijen (’14), the Philippines Efren Reyes (’99) Alex Pagulayan (’04), Ronnie Alcano (’06), Francisco Bustamante (’10), England’s Darren Appleton (’12) and Daryl Peach (’07), Taiwan’s Ko Pin Yi (’15) all cemented their status as giants of the game by winning the World 9-ball Championship.
In 2016 Austria’s Albin Ouschan added his name to the illustrious list of champions with a 13-6 drubbing of American Shane Van Boening. It was the second straight year that the talented American star had lost in the finals. In 2015 Van Boening lost out to Taiwan’s Ko.