The WPBSA has axed the Pro Challenge Series after only four of the seven scheduled events were staged.
They say this is because of “low entry levels for the first four events.”
Event four in January was cancelled and events six and seven will now not take place.
The Pro Challenge Series was conceived as a way of providing additional playing opportunities, particularly for lower ranked players.
This is to be applauded (and it was by me when it was announced) but I also pointed out that not linking it to the existing ranking structure would discourage participation.
And so it proved. The most recent event attracted only 39 entries from the 96-man main tour and four of them failed to turn up.
Also, a number of lower ranked players have jobs and can’t always take time off to play, however none of the Pro Challenge tournaments were held over weekends where it would have been easier for them.
Mixing six reds into the equation never made any sense either.
According to WPBSA chairman Barry Hearn, next season there is likely to be ten Pro Tour tournaments staged over weekends.
It will have its own order of merit and the top 16 or 32 players at the end of the tenth event will take part in a televised Players Championship, as happens in PDC darts.
This should be a more attractive proposal to players, and not just those in the lower reaches of the rankings.