Mika “Ice Man” Immonen had a great year that started off with a 3rd place finish at the 300+ player field at the Derby City Classic 9-Ball in Indiana. He then went on to add another major title to his belt as he snapped off the 1st place prize at The Masters 10-Ball in Virginia defeating Germany’s Ralf Souquet in the finals. He went on to win the High Run 14.1 Challenge in Vegas and then won his own event named in his honor in Finland, The Brunswick Iceman Open. Mika came close to winning his 2nd Predator International Championship, but got a respectable runner-up to Dennis Orcullo in Philippines. Mika also had top 10 finishes in the World 8-Ball Championship in Dubai, The World Tournament of 14.1 in New Jersey, and The World Pool Masters in Manila. Mika represents Mezz Cues & Kamui , and is the distributor for Mezz USA. The former World 9-Ball, World 10-Ball Champion, and World #1 turned 39 which means..(drumroll!)…he will be eligible for the BCA Hall of Fame Ballot in 1 more year!
Mika’s quote of the year,”I love that the World Tournament of 14.1 is a sanctioned ranking event. We need these kind of events on our calendar. I wish we had more 14.1 tournaments. We need to keep straight pool alive and well because it’s a great game.” (Mika is a 2x Silver Medalist at The World Tournament of 14.1)
“The Duchess of Doom” Allison Fisher had another incredible year on her continuing resurgence. She hired professioal coach Charlie Williams in the last quarter of 2010 and capped it off with a sudden turnaround back to back finals at the World 9-Ball Championship and the China Open where she was barely defeated in both finals 9-7. Then she continued right through to 2011 with a 3rd place at the Amway Cup in Taiwan ,where she shattered the field with win/loss game records with multiple 7-0,7-1 drubbings of top women and dropped only 1 match in the event after the round robin stage. She then shook off a 3 year streak without a big win, with a champion performance at the Ultimate 10-Ball defeating Kelly Fisher in the finals. Then came her full redemption at the WPBA US Open where she put a stellar performance and a new elevated game to defeat Korea’s Ga Young Kim in the finals for her 5th career US Open title. She then went onto the finals again at the next WPBA Tour Championship where she re-matched with Kim in the finals again, but this time settled for 2nd. Off to China next, where third time became a charm as she snapped off her first major win in China at the Haining Open defeating Kelly Fisher in the finals. She ended the year with a strong 3rd place at the Taobao World Mixed Doubles representing England with her partner Craig Osborne. Fisher was signed to a multi-year deal with Star Tables and is looking stronger than ever for the 2012 season.
Allison’s quote of the year,“I’ve played her several times, and I’ve never done that before.” (after her 0-3 comeback of 9 games in a row won vs Xiao Ting Pan en route to her US Open win. Deja Vu from 2010’s Allison quote of “Did that really just happened?” when she blanked Karen Corr 9-0 at the semi-finals of the China Open).
Rodney “The Rocket” Morris had another incredible year topping his great 2010 season. Morris started 2011 with a 1st Place at The Fatboy Challenge where he defeated Darren Appleton in the finals. He then flew to Sweden and snapped off the Interpool Open defeating Raj Hundal in the finals. He lost 10-9 in the finals of the Poison DP Classic to road partner Charlie Williams before hitting a hot streak that started off with a 3rd at the Seminole Tour stop in California, and then back to back major wins at the Seminole stop in Rhode Island where he defeated Johnny Archer in the finals and then the next week went to New York and defeated Alex Pagulayan in the finals of the Turningstone Classic. He then showed his straight pool prowess with a solid 5th at the World Tournament of 14.1 and ended the tour year with back to back 3rd place finishes at The Nicaragua Open and Turningstone Classic winter edition. He qualified for his 8th Mosconi Cup to represent the USA in Las Vegas to end the year. Morris also dedicated time serving the sport as the Vice-President of the ABP (Association of Billiard Professionals) and was one of the key negotiators for securing prize funds for professional players. Rodney renewed his contract to represent Poison Cues by Predator.
Rodney’s quote of the year, “I’m starting to like this game,” said Morris. ” I just kept telling myself throughout my matches that if Charlie Williams could do it, it must be easy!” (Morris at the 2011 World 14.1 Tournament)
Shanelle Loraine continued her improvement in her skills on and off the table in 2011. Besides strong finishes on the regional circuit including a 3rd place at The Flamingo Florida Ladies Tour, Shanelle was voted the Top 20 Most Voluptuous Women in All Sports, where she came in #3 and was the only billiards player in the vote. Shanelle was also voted #3 Most Hottest Girl by the Bleacher Report on Random Sports, which included several top ladies such as Jeanette Lee. Shanelle was the highest ranked over all other women in billiards and quote. One of the very few to crossover to mainstream media from billiards, she was just signed on by Yalin Billiards and renewed her contract to endorse Poison Cues by Predator. As the Bleacher Report.com says ,”Shanelle Loraine is bringing a different level of hot to the world of billiards. She might just be the hottest female to ever touch a pool stick. ” Who are we to argue?
Shanelle’s quote of the year, “Red, Since we are both playing in China for the first time we decided to wear red in hopes that it will bring us good fortune.Blue, to represent our country. Black, to help bring out our competitive spirit.” (on the team color choices for her and partner Max Eberle at the Taobao World Mixed Doubles)
Johnny “Scorpion” Archer finished his 20th consecutive year ranked in the top 5 in the US rankings. Archer won another Music City Open in Tennessee and finished 5th and 7th at the Masters 10-Ball and Players Championship. He then won the Maryland 14.1 Open and the Poison DP Classic 10-Ball in back to back weeks. He finished runner-up to Rodney Morris at the Seminole stop in Rhode Island and placed 5th at The World Tournament of 14.1 He then went off to Canada to win the Challenge du St. Laurent and finished 9th at the US Open. Archer flew to China to play with partner Jeanette Lee where they dominated the field but came a little short in the finals losing to defending champs Efren Reyes & Rubilen Amit at the Taobao World Mixed Doubles. Johnny qualified for his 15th consecutive Mosconi Cup to represent the USA once again and though Europe earned the win, Archer still had a winning record on the USA Team. Archer also dedicated time serving the sport as the President of the ABP (Association of Billiard Professionals) and was one of the key negotiators for securing prize funds for professional players and establishing ABP Guidelines. Johnny represents Scorpion Cues and Yalin Tables. The 27 year tour veteran still managed to have time to run his poolroom The Marietta Billiard Club in Georgia with his wife Melanie and spend time with his children Lee and Leann.
Johnny’s quote of the year, “We had a great 2011 and we are all closer to accomplishing the goals of the ABP. We aim to help professional players get closer to their dreams. 2012 is going to be even better with more promoters stepping up to do the right things and players getting more benefits.”
Eunji Erica Park was the latest sensation to join Dragon Promotions in her debut year with our company. The former Korean Female Rookie of the Year player arrived in the US at the tender age of 22 to try to see if she could make it onto the WPBA Tour. Coached and mentored by DP’s own Charlie Williams, Erica started the year with top 10 finishes in amateur events such as the Super Billiards Expo Ladies Division in Philadelphia. She then made some noise at the Ultimate 10-ball in Texas with a top 10 finish. Then taking full advanatge of her first USA tournament win with the WPBA US Open Qualifier, she went onto to finish 3rd at the US Open making her debut appearance at a WPBA event as well as on ESPN USA. She ended the year with a 5th place finish at the Taobao World Mixed Doubles. With only 10 months of professional coaching, she has taken down super star names this year such as Jeanette Lee, Allison Fisher, Xiao Ting Pan, Karen Corr, Yu Ram Cha and even a surprise win over USA men’s champion Mike Dechaine. She went unranked to finishing in the top 32 in 1 season. Yalin Tables signed her on already and be on the lookout for more news on Erica in 2012.
Erica’s quote of the year , “I feel a new eagerness to train and get better now. I had alot of fun at the US Open. It’s more fun when you’re winning!”
“Iron” Mike Davis started 2011 with a 3rd place at the Derby City 14.1 Challenge and then later a strong 3rd place finish at the Masters 10-ball in Virginia. Known for his committment to his craft with dedicated practice, “Iron” Mike also plays in more events than probably any other pro. He placed in the money of 27 events during the year. The highlight of the year for him was his incredible run at the 71st World Tournament of 14.1 where he became the first American to reach the finals in 20 years. He was runner-up to Germany’s Thorsten Hohmann, the only player to defeat him in the event. Mike also won 6 regional pro-am torunaments during 2011. Davis also serves on the Board of Directors for the ABP (Association of Billiard Professionals) . Mike is sponsored by Hammerheads Billiards in Palm Harbor, Florida.
Mike’s quote of the year “This is definitely one of the most significant accomplishments for me. I’ve won a couple big 9-ball events, but this is major for me to make it to the finals of the World Tournament.” (Mike on the feeling of being the first American in 2 decades to reach the finals where the Europeans have dominated each year since the 2006 revival)
Charlie “Korean Dragon” aka “The Dragon” Williams still managed to beat a few good players in 2011 as he balanced his duties of producer, coach, writer and manager. Charlie started the year with top 16 finishes in the Derby City Bank Pool and One Pocket which boasted 300+ player fields in each, and snapped off their 64 player 9-Ball One day event. Williams then went onto win the Super Billiards Expo Pro Bar Table Open and then won the Wyoming State Open 8-Ball Bar Table Open. He finished 4th at the Ultimate 10-Ball and 9th at the US Open 10-Ball, and 6th at the Seminole Pro stop in Florida. He won the Poison DP Pro Classic 9-Ball in Louisiana where he defeated Thorsten Hohmann, Shane Van Boening, Johnny Archer, and Rodney Morris back to back en route. Charlie finished 3rd at the World Tournament of 14.1 in New Jersey , knocking out defending champion Oliver Ortmann. Charlie went off to China and placed 5th alongside student Erica Park at the Taobao World Mixed Doubles. Williams ended the year ranked #8 in the USA Mosconi Cup rankings, and was selected as the captain of the USA Team for the very first time. Charlie also serves on the Board of Directors for the ABP (Association of Billiard Professionals) . Williams continues to endorse and represent Predator Cues in their 10th year together, and promises to show the strength of Predator’s advanced technology by still not practicing in 2012, and hopes he will still beat a few more good players.
Charlie’s quote of the year, “Our USA boys this year are a close knit group that love and care about each other off and on the table and that’s going to shine through in Vegas.” (CW’s opinion of the USA Team before the Mosconi Cup. He later followed up after their loss to Europe with “I’d take the same exact USA team again next year in a heartbeat” )