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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - Bert's column (NED)

Only the best of the best have done it

Posted by on October 9, 2019

Only the best of the best have done it

© Kozoom

It's a lot harder than winning a World Cup, or a world championship. Only five players in history have done it more than once. Can you guess what it is?  

With "Veghel" around the corner, it's a good time to look at this year's OVERALL WORLD CUP. For those of you who are new to the game: during every world cup, points are awarded to the winner, runner-up, 3d and 4th, and so forth. At the end of the year, the player with the most points wins the overall world cup for the season. It is even possible that the overall winner has not won a tournament: that happened in 1994 (Blomdahl won) and 2005 (Caudron). 

So far in 2019, we've had four world cups: Antalya (Turkey), Blankenberge (Belgium), Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) and Porto (Portugal). Three to go: Veghel (Netherlands), Guri (Korea) and Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt). We've had four different winners: Tayfun Tasdemir, Javier Palazon, Frédéric Caudron and Dick Jaspers. Unfortunately, we'll not see Caudron in action in the remaining three events, so he won't be the end winner. Neither will Palazon, who surprised the world in Blankenberge this summer. So which players are in the race?  

The current standing: Caudron 146 points, Jaspers 134, Tasdemir 134, Zanetti 98, Palazon 98, Forthomme 95, Jae Ho Cho 92, Horn 90, Haeng Jik Kim 88, Cenet 87, Coklu 84, Merckx 84, Myung Woo Cho 82, Sánchez 80. 

No need to say that with three tournaments to go, things can still change dramatically. But you'd have to say: this is a surprising interim score, for several reasons. Blomdahl and Sayginer are not in the top-15, Sánchez is currently 15th, Merckx "only" 13th. A strong performance from Cenet, and a wonderful sixth place in the list for Roland Forthomme. Young Myung Woo Cho is certainly not out of it, but he will not have his eyes on this "title", I think. The Korean supertalent still has a way to miraculously get a deferment from his military service: he needs to win the world title in Randers, Denmark next month. If he doesn't, we'll miss his brilliant play for at least a year.

Jaspers is obviously the player with the best chance at the Overall World Cup this year, but he has scored 18-18-18-80 points so far, that's three rather early exits for him. That's what happens in modern 3-cushion: thirty guys can all beat each other, on their good day. Reputations mean nothing, if the other guy can make 40 in 17. 

I still owe you the names of the players who have won this great but somewhat anonymous prize, the overall Cup. Here we go:

1986 - 1990. Ceulemans, Ceulemans, Blomdahl, Dielis, Ceulemans. Hardly surprising, the Grandmaster dominating the early years. In the very first tournament (1986, Paris), he started by... losing the first and second set to a wildcard player named Dufetelle. Then he won the match 3-2. Then he won the tournament. Then he won the overall Cup for that year. What a man. 

1991 - 1995. Blomdahl, Blomdahl, Sang Lee, Blomdahl, (Sánchez), Blomdahl. Yes, there were two winners in 1995. The BWA and the UMB both had their circuit of world cups. Don't you hate it when that happens? I put Dani's name in brackets, because the BWA tour had (almost) all the strong players. The silliness thankfully only lasted three years.  

1996 - 2000. Blomdahl, (Theriaga), Jaspers, (Rudolph), Blomdahl, Jaspers, Blomdahl. Make no mistake: the Swede dominated that decade in the same way Ceulemans dominated in the late sixties, seventies and early eighties. Where the Belgian was always helped by long matches and the Round Robin format, Blomdahl won world cup after world cup in a K.O. system, which is a lot harder.

2001 - 2005. Sánchez in 2004, Caudron in 2005. In 2001, 2002 and 2003, the conflict between UMB and BWA had created so much bitterness and chaos that organizers (and sponsors) for world cups were impossible to find, and both organizations spent a fortune on legal fees. The sport was effectively shooting itself in the foot: no overall world cup in three years.

2006 - 2010. Sánchez, Blomdahl, Jaspers, Caudron, Jaspers. The year 2007 was very special for Blomdahl: he won four of the seven world cups. Nobody has done that before or since. In 2010, Jaspers won by a hair over a newcomer: Filipos Kasidokostas. 

2011 - 2015. Blomdahl, Caudron, Blomdahl, Caudron, Sánchez. Only three world cups in 2012, but a convincing winner. Caudron had found the balance in his game, between attack and defense. It made him even harder to beat, and his averages kept going up every year. He had 1.922 in 2014. Sánchez joined the group of four, who won most of the tournaments in these years. Dani averaged 2.035 in 2015! 

2016 - 2020. Jaspers, Haeng Jik Kim, Caudron. Haeng Jik fully deserved his win in 2017: he won two world cups. But he "only" averaged 1.694, a bit lower than we were used to from the winner. Caudron posted the highest ever number a year later: he averaged 2.176 for the world cup season. That is a tough number to beat.  

The five players who have won the Overall World Cup more than once? Ceulemans, Blomdahl, Jaspers, Caudron, Sánchez. What a list. I told you in the headline: the best of the best. 


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My Comments

No mention of Saygıner?
He has won a world cup hasn't he?

Message 1/4 - Publish at October 9, 2019 2:53 PM

1986~2019 more than 30 years
Very impressive performances by the 5 great players over last 33 years.
But in other words, such dominance by a few players may have destroyed the sport.
In such circumstances, who would dare to motivate themselves to chase carom career?
And prize money level of UMB events until 2017 had never been good enough to attract younger generation.
As consequence, other than Korea,the carom world failed to secure enough young players to sustain common interest of society.

Only BWA had brought a few years of hope to the carom world.
The effort was brave but silly.
The conflict between the 2 organizations was not to be blamed only to BWA.

In other sports, a few different organizations (mostly professional sports org.) seem to cooperate well to grow the sport globally and professionally.
I wish both UMB and PBA will succeed on their own criteria to keep carom fans more excited.

Message 2/4 - Publish at October 10, 2019 5:02 AM

M.W.Cho's military service
I might be wrong but Randers WC title for him may not waive his military service duty.
As billiard is not in IOC Summer Olympic category (neither in Asian Games),the gold medal in UMB WC may not be enough to be given special exemption.

If MWC has to start his military service, he will have to serve minimum 18 months.
Too bad for the carom fans but military service in Korea is equally mandatory for any healthy man.

Message 3/4 - Publish at October 10, 2019 8:05 AM

They need to put an asterisk on this year's because they made Caudron ineligible.

Message 4/4 - Publish at October 13, 2019 6:57 PM

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