What is the Mosconi Cup?
For pool fans the end of the year brings one of our most famous & anticipated events, the Mosconi Cup. Similar to the Ryder Cup of golf, the competition consists of 2 Teams, EUROPE VS USA baby! Each team has 5 male players, a captain & a co-captain. The trophy is named after the late American player Willie Mosconi. It was created in 1994 by SkySports & Matchroom Sport as an exciting event to increase public popularity of pool in the United Kingdom. Considering snooker has always been the dominant cue sport in the UK, this was a worthy endeavor that has become a tremendous success. One of the most remarkable factors of the Mosconi Cup is how large the exuberant crowds have become, packing huge arenas in the UK & Las Vegas, Nevada.
The event is streamed live around the world & continues to grow more popular each year. This shows that pool has a real chance of achieving a higher level of mainstream success. As a life-long pool fanatic & professional player I have religiously followed the event for 10 years & was able to attend in person in Las Vegas 2017 & in London 2018. I can say without a doubt, it is the greatest pool event in the world & I consider it a bucket list item if you love pool. I was in awe of the crazy energy in the room during the whole event! It is fueled by an appreciation of excellence, blinding patriotism, competitive upsets & copious amounts of alcohol. Bottom line... it’s a giant party with the best pool players in the world at the epicenter!
If you are a newer USA fan to the Mosconi Cup, like myself, you might have probably felt the pain of Europe’s domination over the last 10 years; however, the history is interesting in that from 1994-2019 the overall record is USA 13 - Europe 12 with 1 tie in 2006. Check out the color coded details!
So why did the USA dominate the Mosconi Cup in the 90’s and Europe dominate in the more recent future?
1.) I believe this demonstrates how effective SkySports was in achieving their goal -- to increase interest in pool in the UK! Considering snooker is a more challenging game, in terms of pocketing & fundamentals, it was easier for them to switch to American pool. Afterall many champion pool players were originally snooker players.
2.) Leadership makes all the difference in a team! With all due respect to every Mosconi Cup Captain, there is one who stands out. Johan Ruijsink’s record speaks for itself. He is a Dutch professional pool coach who captained Team Europe 7 times from 2006-2014 with 6 wins & 1 tie. Then somehow Team USA managed to acquire Johan in 2017 & even though they lost that year, under his guidance they won in 2018 & 2019 after an 8 year losing streak. Great job Johan!
3.) The team must be humble & support each other at all times.. As a competitor who has played/captained on teams for 15 years & won the 2009 BCA Team Championships, I can tell you a winning team is a feeling! If you pay attention you can FEEL the difference between a group of competitors playing as a cohesive unit and a group of individuals playing with their ego. America has had many pool superstars that have played Mosconi together, yet I think they struggled training & playing for the team instead of for themselves. Let’s be real, pool is most often an individually played sport! I can say many pool players, including myself, feel the most pressure in team competition. Then let’s add the whole world is watching, yikes! I believe the younger Mosconi Cup team of the last few years has broken through & are playing better as a whole!
Did you know?
The first Mosconi Cup in 1994 had WPBA Players, including Jeanette Lee & Vivian Villarreal for the USA & Allison Fisher & Franziska Stark for Europe. Just one year really? This is 2020 & it’s all about equality. I believe an all female Mosconi Cup could be incredibly successful! Or a start could be including one female player on each team. Who’s with me?
Playing During a Pandemic with No Fans
First off I must acknowledge what a professional job it appears Matchroom is doing to make sure players are Covid free & wearing masks. All pool fans are very grateful we will be able to watch our favorite even during the challenging times. Secondly, I am fascinated to see how the players will perform without the noise & cheering?
Where to watch?
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By Emily Duddy