The WPBSA has today announced a new Pro Challenge Series of seven tournaments - open to anyone on the main tour - designed to give the players more playing opportunities.
This is good news. Players have justifiably complained that they are left twiddling their thumbs for long periods between tournaments.
If they don’t play in these new events then these complaints become less valid.
I would have preferred the new series to carry ranking status at a lower points tariff than the major events – as I suggested last January – because this would encourage participation from the better known players and thus increase their credibility and the publicity around them.
Now for the controversy: four of these tournaments are played under the standard rules. The other three are using only six reds.
I can’t help thinking it would be better to be one or the other: either the whole thing done properly or the whole thing done as ‘Super Sixes’ if this experiment really must be continued.
However, it was apparently players – Dave Harold and Michael Holt included – who helped come up with the format.
The bottom line is this: more tournaments is A Good Thing. OK, so they presumably won’t be televised but there is scope for internet streaming and anything that creates the impression there is something happening in the game should be applauded.
One of snooker’s problems is that it has ‘fallen under the radar’ of late because of the gaps between tournaments.
Those gaps are gradually being plugged: by the Championship League, the World Series and now this new Pro Challenge Series.
There is also reasonable money available - £5,000 for the winners of the 15 red tournaments and £3,000 for the winners of the 6 reds events.
If that doesn’t sound much to you then it’s more than you’d get for being in the club practising.
There isn’t sufficient money in snooker’s coffers at the moment to put on another three or four major ranking events.
But the new Pro Challenge Series at least means players will be able to do what they are supposed to do: play snooker.
PRO CHALLENGE SERIES DATES:
Pro Challenge 1
Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
Pro Challenge 2 - Super Sixes
31 August - 1 September
Pro Challenge 3
Pro Challenge 4
Pro Challenge 5
Pro Challenge 6 - Super Sixes
Pro Challenge 7 - Super Sixes