Tommy Kennedy, aka “The Juggler”, aka "tk fla"
Claim to Fame:
Tommy Kennedy, known simply as "Tom" or “Tommy” to his many pool playing pals, is recognized as perhaps the most affable player on the professional tour. The genial and jovial Kennedy in 1992 became the then-only unranked shooter to win the coveted Nine Ball championship, the U.S. Open.
He soundly defeated Johnny “Scorpion” Archer (then ranked the #1 9-Ball player worldwide) in the finals 11 games to 1. This feat is widely considered one of the greatest upsets in the history of pool.
Tommy’s hometown is Weehawken, New Jersey, where he started playing pool at the age of 13. Cutting down to a little practice (a few hours here and there to run Nine Ball or Straight Pool), he practiced 12 hours daily for two years to build his phenomenal skills.
The Color of Money:
In the Scorsese classic, Paul Newman as "Fast Eddie Felson" asks Tom Cruise as "Vincent Lauria", "What do you know about this Kennedy fella?" as he's gunning for him in Atlantic City, New Jersey, an obvious reference to Tommy Kennedy.
On The (Damascus) Road:
Tommy trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation and ended his indulgence in pool gambling, playing only exhibitions and tournaments since. He is a supporter of the Christian Pool Players Association and joins other pool greats including Robin “Bankroll” Dodson, Mike “Tennessee Tarzan” Massey, Jim “King James” Rempe, Tom "Dr. Cue" Rossman, Steve "Leapin" Lillis and Loree Jon Jones as witnesses of faith.
Playing Around, While Not Playing Around:
Regarding the reputation of sleazy pool venues, Tommy appeals to the apostle Paul's writings:
"Paul... said... "'I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to get out of the world."
...The bottom line is you need to be with people [in pool halls] to reach them for Christ."
Racking Up Records:
Tommy has won more than 130 tournament titles, including six times as State of Florida champion (he resides in South Florida and is a mainstay on the Florida pool tours) but his favorite is surely as pool’s Mr. Amity. He is known for defeating an opponent in the afternoon then inviting them to dinner in the evening.
He is always quick with a smile, a joke, or to juggle up to eleven pool balls simultaneously by bouncing them back and forth along the cushions.
What They'll Say 100 Years From Now:
Tommy Kennedy was one of the greatest pool players and had a smile and a hug for everyone.