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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 July 2006, 09:47 GMT 10:47 UK
Defiant White makes comeback vow
By Bryn Palmer

Jimmy White smiles ruefully during his first-round defeat at the World Championships
White is in positive mood despite his recent dip in fortunes
Snooker legend Jimmy White insists he will regain his place among the world's elite despite falling out of the top 32 after a disastrous time last season.

White, who started the campaign ranked eighth after a resurgence in 2004, won only two matches in six ranking tournaments, ending the season 35th.

"If I didn't think I could get back in the top 16 I would go and play golf in Spain," White, 44, told BBC Sport.

"I guarantee you I will be in the top 16 for next year. I am far too good."

White will start the 26th season of his professional career earlier than usual at the end of this month.

"The Whirlwind" will head to the qualifiers for the first ranking tournament - in which only the top 32 enjoy automatic entry - of the new snooker season, the Northern Ireland Trophy in Belfast starting on 13 August.

I used to play a lot of 8-ball pool; it is right up my alley

Jimmy White
But before that he travels to Las Vegas this week where, along with Ronnie O'Sullivan, he will be competing in the North American Open 8-Ball Championship, the second biggest event on the International Pool Tour, starting on Saturday.

"Unfortunately the snooker qualifying starts the day after I get back but we have checked and found some snooker tables in Vegas, so we are taking a set of snooker balls with us to practise while we are there," White explained.

White, who received a special invite, will cue up with 199 other players at The Venetian - one of the gambling mecca's most luxurious hotels - for a prize fund of $2m, including $350,000 (192,000) for the winner.

The cosmopolitan line-up of male and female players includes pool legends Mike "The Mouth" Sigel, the 10-time world champion who coached Tom Cruise and Paul Newman for their roles in the film The Colour of Money, and eight-time world champion Loree Lee Jones.

Mike Sigel plays Loree Lee Jones in the International Pool Tour World 8-Ball Championship
Mike Sigel and Loree Lee Jones (background) are the biggest names in pool
There are 10 other British players on the International Pool Tour including top female snooker players Allison Fisher and Kelly Fisher.

Australian Quinten Hann - banned from snooker for breaking match-fixing rules - is also among the 150 members having won the World 8-Ball Pool Championships in 1999.

Snooker's current world number 28 Mark Selby recently claimed that crown and White is upbeat about his prospects of success in Vegas.

"I was playing 9-ball pool with Steve Davis recently when I heard they were playing 8-ball pool on a 9-ball table at this tournament," he said.

"The last time they did that I won the World Championships in Hong Kong (in 1994).

"I used to play a lot of 8-ball pool; it is right up my alley. In 8-ball, the pockets are a bit smaller and the cloth has got a bit more nap, so I think it will favour me more.

"You can't pick a favourite. Who is to say who is the best 8-ball player in the world? One of them - Chris Snelling - didn't even qualify, so there is a bit of competitiveness there. I think we have got a good chance."

SEE ALSO
Selby pockets world pool crown
15 Jun 06 |  Snooker
Gray ends White's Crucible hopes
20 Apr 06 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan lines up pool event
12 May 06 |  Snooker
Guilty Hann given eight-year ban
17 Feb 06 |  Snooker
White ends title drought
11 Apr 04 |  Snooker


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