I’ll answer my own question: I’ve no idea.

Gone are the days that you could even think about offering a view before seeing the first round draw, and we won’t know that until March 11 at the earliest as the qualifiers end the day before.

Time was when the player of the season ended it by winning the World Championship.

This by and large happened in the Steve Davis era, that of Stephen Hendry, and when John Higgins, Mark Williams and Ronnie O’Sullivan each won it for the first time.

But in recent years, things have changed.

Shaun Murphy didn’t do much to suggest he would win in 2005. Ditto Graeme Dott in 2006. Even Higgins had a poor run-in to Sheffield before his 2007 triumph.

O’Sullivan did produce good form last season, winning two titles and appearing in four finals ahead of the World Championship, but Stephen Maguire won two from three and Mark Selby also scooped two trophies before the Big One came round.

We know where the top 16 seeds will be placed so, for instance, O’Sullivan may have Mark Allen in the second round, Ryan Day in the quarter-finals and Selby or Higgins in the semis.

But he could just as easily draw Mark Williams or Ricky Walden in the first round and thus be under it from day one.

Why mention all this now?

Well, the qualifying draw is out and Crucible tickets are on sale.

I make it 81 days until it all kicks off.

Believe me, it’ll soon come round.


Donal said...

Hang on....I've just seen Tony Knowles in the qualifying draw. Presumably that is *the* Tony Knowles? I'd no idea he was still competing.

The players in the final round of the competition reads like a who's who of fallen idols.

I notice Jimmy White starts a long way back in the competition, so I wouldn't give him a snowball's chance in hell of making the final stages, despite the fact that he's undoubtedly "playing very well in practice".

MMMBop said...

John Parrott MBE

SupremeSnooker.com said...

One of the most wonderful things about the modern game is the fact that ALL the players in the top 32 are more than capable of beating each other on their day.
The sheer strength and depth of the professional game is something very special. Compare this to the situation in the early-mid 1980s, where the top 5 players could usually expect to win their first round games at the World Championship pretty comfortably. No disrespect to any of the players involved, but the first round opponent was all too often a billiards specialist or MANY years past their best. (Yes, I know there were exceptions, Tony Knowles beating Steve Davis etc...)

The World Championship is a marathon, not a sprint, and requires a great deal of mental stamina to go all the way. Such qualities work to the advantage of players like Peter Ebdon and Graeme Dott.

I won't be making any predictions until I've seen the draw.


Rich P said...

If the Ronnie who won the Masters turns up then it's Ronnie's World Championship without any doubt. However, if the Ronnie who can't be bothered turns up then it's anyone's. Hope that's narrowed it down a bit.

jamie said...

I partly agree it's not like Davis and Hendry who you could put your mortage on. However, you have said yourself that Ronnie is comfortably number 1 so if he is focused and he is more often now the smart money goes there surely. Although he does not retain titles often. I hope you will be more decisive when you have to do your betfair column!

Isak said...

I'm hoping for Matthew Stevens to pull himself together to finally snatch the trophy and get back in top 16! :D

Favorite: Ronnie
Possible outsiders: Ding, Fu, Robertson?

Anonymous said...

Hendo will win!!


Anonymous said...

Hendry the 8th!(in my dreams,he has no chance unfourtanately)
The winner will probably come from O'Sullivan,Selby or possibly Murphy.
If I had to pick a dark horse I'd say Allen.(don't think Trump is quite ready but I definitely think he is a futre world champion.Not since Stephen Hendry 20 years ago has there been a more complete young player)
Roll on april 18th!

Anonymous said...

Can't see past Rodney Goggins myself

amamonkey said...

Dave ive heard you sometimes commentate and post blogs at the same time. If so, how is this possible. Its quite difficult.

Dave H said...

Without wishing to let daylight in on magic, you can fix it so that posts appear at certain times. So I can write one on Monday morning and it will appear on Tuesday afternoon.

Sammy said...

Michael Holt to WIn!

Claus Christensen said...

Yes! Hendry beats Davis 18-17!!

Huh...what?? Oh, I was sleep-typing again. One can dream though, one can dream. If Ronnie actually manages to catch the trophy again in 09 I will be thoroughly pleased.

Anonymous said...

Stephen LEE to win!

kimball said...

As soon as I have placed my bet, I,ll tell you who my 90/1 darkhorse is.