Korea Dominates Europe in 3-Cushion Billiards
Korean TV network XTM aired the first ever XTM Billiards Cup with Team Korea taking on Team Europe in 3-Cushion. The teams were evenly matched with the Korea Team all professional pocket billiard players with carom backrounds while Europe had the versatile Mika Immonen, also a frequent carom player, teamed with eagle eyed ace Jasmin Ouschan, and their ace in the hole Semih Sayginer.
With our line up and having Semih leading us, I really like our chances said a confident Immonen referring to the rules where the Captain was allowed to coach the players and having Semih as the best carom player in the event.
The Korea Team was Captained by King of Carom runner up and numerous Korea 9-Ball Champion Shin Young Park. His comrades included Pil Hyun Cho and #1 Womans Pool Champion of Korea Yu Ram Cha.
The format was race to 15 points in singles, and race to 10 points in doubles and triples matches. For the first time in carom history, players would alternate shots with coaching involved among partners. Womans matches race to 7 points. First team to reach 6 matches would win the event.
In the first match, the Korean Doubles of Park and Cho dominated Ouschan and Sayginer 10-3.
Can we play 9-Ball afterwards? said Ouschan after the match. Immonen and Sayginer would team up next against Cha and Park. In a stunning upset, the European duo saw their 3-0 lead diminish into a 10-4 loss to the male and female duet. Korea led 2-0. The bad rolls continued for Europe as they led 9 points on the hill to Korea’s 6 points, only to see Korea run in perfect sync 4 points in a row to steal the match. With the pressure on their anchor, Sayginer survived a close match against Cho in the singles 15-11.
Anything can happen in a race to 15 points said the Turkish Champion. Korea 3 to 1 Europe. Ouschan faced Cha in the Ladies singles match but could not overcome Cha’s superior rail knowledge and fell 7-3.
These Korean players are all pool players? said an incredulous Ouschan commenting on the strong rail backround all Korean professional pool and carom players seemed to have.
In another what could have been match, Immonen played his best carom match yet in his career and led Korea’s Captain Park until 14-11. In a much needed win, again Europe’s hopes were dashed as Park created a 4 point run to steal another win for Korea 15-14. A dejected Immonen could not dwell long on his loss as team 3-on-3 was next.
Mika showed alot of heart in that match playing a better carom player. said Charlie Williams.
Korea now led 5-1 on the hill.
With their backs to the walls, Europe came out firing and played near flawless coming out with 4 point run off the opening shot in the 3-on-3 play. They would crush Korea this time 10-2 under the tutelage of Sayginer. Europe 2 and Korea 5.
If Immonen and Ouschan could pull a minor upset against Park and Cha, this would pave the way for Semih to win his singles match and then put the event back into 3-on-3 again where Europe seemed the strongest. The European duo looked strong and hopeful as they led the match even until 8-5. But as it happened all day, Korea came back with Cha and Park winning 10-8 and closing out the event with Korea on top of Europe for the first ever XTM Billiards Cup.
It wasn’t easy, but it was fun. said the jovial Sayginer at the conclusion of the event.
Playing with Semih, I knew it was going to be fun. But it has also been very educational. said Immonen.
For the purists, some might be horrified at the new formats we’ve developed for 3-Cushion billiards. I mean, Willie Hoppe’s probably turning over in his grave, said Charlie Williams, Founder of Dragon Promotions and one of the creative forces of the event. But for the image of carom to improve and the sport to grow, you need to draw new audiences and that is what we have accomplished.
The matches were aired on XTM, a total entertainment network covering movies, comedies, and sports. Korea vs Europe 3-Cushion event was the number one watched sports event of the day and drew record ratings for billiards.
The next Dragon Promotions 3-Cushion event will be 3-Cushion Grandmaster which will be historic as the first ever carom event to air on ESPN or major broadcast network in the USA. The event will take place May 16,2007 at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.