STUART Bingham says he has a secret weapon to do well in the pressure cooker of snooker’s Shoot Out – sobriety!
The 37-year-old from Vange will take his place among the game’s stars at the thrilling one-frame knock-out event at the Blackpool Tower Circus Arena this weekend.
World number seven Bingham, who gets underway against 15th ranked Joe Perry on Saturday, said: “It’s on Sky, it’s 10-minute frames and fun – it’s a lottery really!
“A few of the players have a few drinks and they go out there a little bit tipsy, but not me. I get enough of a buzz off the adrenaline because you get more of that than at normal tournaments.
“And you need to keep your cool. Last year I missed two blacks off the spot against Anthony Hamilton and that was it for me. I’d never normally miss shots like that, but with the clock ticking and the adrenaline flowing you can miss anything.
“So I’ll be hoping to get in and settled so I can get comfortable out there as soon as possible.”
The event will see the likes of Mark Selby, John Higgins, Jimmy White and Steve Davis battling for the £32,000 top prize in the tournament which features a shot clock.
Bingham felt he put too much pressure on himself in a disappointing defeat to John Higgins at the Masters earlier this month, explaining he did not cope with the “favourite tag”.
But those kind of pressures will not be there at the Shoot-Out, where form and status count for little.
He said: “It’s the sort of tournament where someone can come out of the pack and put a bit of a run together, or a foul or an in-off can change the course of things. If you get a few of those things going for you then it can really help.
“Joe Perry is a cool customer and he’s been playing well lately, but it really is just about what happens on the day and in the frame. You often see quite early on who’s name looks like it is on the competition. “It’s one of those set-ups where you just have to make split decisions and hope they are the rights ones.”
Bingham is travelling up to Blackpool today and will play in a golf tournament tomorrow before starting on Saturday. The action will be screened live on Sky Sports.