Pint-Sized Pool Phenom Takes His Cue

Not since the legendary "Minnesota Fats" has there been a more promising pool-playing phenom than "New York Shorts."

CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman reports Shorts (a.k.a. Keith O'Dell) lives in upstate New York. His pool career was born not long after he was - when, at the age of 20 months, he hustled his parents for a pool table.

Recalls his father, Keith Sr., "Christmas morning he opened up his pool table and he just started shooting."

Keith, now age 2, was good from the get-go.

His parents say over the last 5 months he's really matured …at least pool-wise. In most ways, he's still a typical toddler. That's until you put a cue in his hand - then he's all business.

Today, having pretty much outgrown his "baby pool," Keith prefers to play at the local billiards hall.

For him, getting to the hall is the hard part. He could actually play all day.

As you have probably guessed, his dad is really into pool too. He even competes on an amateur level, but says he never actually taught his son anything about the game.

"He's just a copycat, he's a sponge, he just takes everything in that I do and he copies it," Keith Sr. says.

He copies it and improves on it, if he does say so himself.

"Nice shot," he says while playing for the cameras.

With that attitude and ability you can understand why folks in the billiards community are already calling him the Tiger Woods of pool. The kid's not even old enough to play Candyland, yet he's mastered the rail. He can barely count, yet he seems to understand physics perfectly.

Of course he misses some shots too - but that's usually the stick's fault.

But here's what's most impressive: when the pressure's on and that 8-ball is tucked up dangerously close to the pocket, he's got the perfect touch.

With such control, potty training should be a breeze - although hopefully for his parents, when that time comes he won't try a bank shot.

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  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.

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