Eric Greco has won the 2016 ACBL Player of the Year race, despite the Friday Daily Bulletin in Orlando stating that Jeff Meckstroth had the race sewn up. The confusion was due to the ACBL's rules about drop-ins. The ACBL experimented with drop-ins during 2016, allowing high finishers from major events to drop into the semifinals of concurrent events. Part of the regulation, which was stated in the Conditions of Contest for the relevant events but not widely publicized, was that drop-ins could not win masterpoints for both events — they would receive the higher of the two masterpoint awards they received in the two events. Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell were on the winning squad in the Baze Senior Knockout, and then dropped into the semifinals of the Blue Ribbon Pairs, which they went on to win. They received 190 platinum points for winning the BRP, which on top of the 106.4 platinum points for winning the Senior KO would have made Meckstroth's lead in the POY race insurmountable, which is what the Bulletin reported. However, the 106.4 points from the Senior KO disappeared thanks to the drop-in rules, and with a strong showing in the Reisinger Greco was able to surpass Meckstroth and take the title.
Much has been said about drop-ins already on Bridge Winners. It is worth remembering that this was a trial year for drop-ins in the ACBL. Clearly the rules they chose to use were imperfect — granting masterpoints for only one of the two events played is an odd, if not ridiculous, arrangement. The ACBL Board of Directors is in the process of making changes to ACBL drop-in policy going forward; what those changes will be are not yet clear.
The Player of the Year award goes to the player winning the most platinum points during the calendar year, and the drop-in controversy should not take anything away from Eric Greco's year. He and regular partner Geoff Hampson had an impressive year, bookended by great performances in the year's first and last events, winning the Platinum Pairs and finishing second in the Reisinger. The DIAMOND team had a strong year; in addition to the runner-up finish in the Reisinger, they made the quarterfinals in the Vanderbilt and Spingold, and finished third in the Mitchell BAM. The only NABC+ event Greco entered not partnering Hampson was the Blue Ribbon Pairs; his third-place finish with Joe Grue put him ahead of Hampson (who finished 13th in the BRP and 4th in the POY standings, behind Greco, Meckstroth, and Rodwell).
The final (unofficial) results in the 2016 Player of the Year race:
1. Eric Greco, Wynnewood PA 800.94
2. Jeff Meckstroth, Clearwater Bch FL 751.26
3. Eric Rodwell, Clearwater FL 728.43
4. Geoff Hampson, Las Vegas NV 710.26
5. Zia Mahmood, New York NY 674.14
6. Joe Grue, New York NY 607.10
7. Stan Tulin, Boca Raton FL 600.26
8. Kevin Dwyer, Melbourne FL 598.70
9. Justin Lall, Charlotte NC 538.97
10. Richard Coren, Aventura FL 538.54
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