This year's Premier League will feature Shaun Murphy, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Neil Robertson, Ding Junhui, Mark Williams, Mark Selby and Marco Fu.

Murphy is defending champion and Fu won the Championship League, the qualifying event.

All the others are major tournament winners from last season.

O'Sullivan won the Shanghai Masters, Robertson the World Championship and Grand Prix, Ding the UK Championship, Selby the Wembley Masters and Williams the China Open.

John Higgins is still suspended by the WPBSA and, even though this situation may have changed by the time the League starts in September, organisers have to put tickets on sale and so have not selected him.

Stephen Hendry, who hasn't won a ranking title for five years, misses out for the first time in over 20 years.

The full list of fixtures are on the official website here.


jamie brannon said...

I think it's fair they have dropped Hendry as he is a spent force now, delighted to see Williams in as he is one of the best to watch.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully this exclusion will be a motivating factor for Hendry.

Anonymous said...

shame for the ticket sales with no Hendry and current Higgins situation unresolved but good choices on current form - all last seasons winners is a good approach- if Higgins had been eligible 8 would of been better in two groups of 4.

Anonymous said...

Barry is a clever man - every single night features either O'sullivan or the current world champion! This means tickets can sell in the absence of Davis/Hendry/Higgins


For the first year ever the PL line up is a credible list of the games' current big guns.

I agree with Hendry being replaced, and while his all time status is unquestionable, there are doubts about his current level, doubts which will either be confirmed or dismissed as the new ranking system unfolds.

Obviously it would be a perfect line up if Higgins were there instead of Fu, but the Hong Kong man is there on merit, and Williams is probably the beneficiary of Higgins' suspension.

There appears, in recent years, to be a shift on emphasis from entertainment to quality in the PL selection process.

For a while it was starting to look as if Davis, White and Hendry would make the lineup ad infinitum, but this has now changed, and probably for the better.

I think this will hurt Hendry a bit though, and not because of the lost match practise, exposure or money.

I think it will hurt because it will be seen as an endorsement that a great career is in irreversible decline.

It may provide the motivation for him to come out kicking and screaming this year and recapture some past glory, but with young turks like Cope, Allen and Wenbo snapping at his heels, a revival will, at the least, be extremely difficult, though not impossible.

Anonymous said...

Stephen Hendry Didn't play in the league in 1998 or 1999 but i think that was his decision.

Dave H said...

With regards to Hendry in the new PTC series, Ian Doyle has contacted me to say that he's missing the first two because of holidays and the third one because of an engagement in China but that he intends to play in the fourth one as well as the ones in Europe

porridge said...

Now is Hendry still "a blockbuster hit" in the UK? Is he really? I'd imagine he's still big elsewhere but also in the UK?

I don't mean to offend him by this, but to my mind Premier League will survive easily without him. And I'm not even sure he himself hasn't been that enthusiastic about PL in recent years when his game hasn't been up there.

But anyway, what a line-up. My mouth is already watering and I haven't even got rabies. Really ecstatic that Williams got a place. I believe he hasn't played under the shot clock rule, as he was down in the rankings for so many years. I hope he'll enjoy the opportunity as I think the format suits him perfectly.

Anonymous said...

Stephen Hendry told the Daily Express; “I just don’t want to play in this one and I won’t be taking part. I will probably play in some of the others.”

That's what happens when you let Stephen speak to the press or your 'Malcolm Tucker' tells it as it is!


porridge @12.24-

Im pretty sure the year O'Sullivan whitewashed Williams and Hendry in the semis and final was the first year of the shot clock. Think it was 2oo5

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Well the line-up doesn't seem to have caused as much discussion than last years one.

The only who doesn't really do well at this format, is marco. But he won qualifying and i really hope he does make the top 4. The rest speak for themselves. Saying that, i don't think they'll be more pressure on selection this year as the new tournaments and the sky shoot out will keep the ones not in the PL v.happy.

Going back to what i said yesterday,dave,i really wish there was an official start to a season and players should be at tournaments.We don't get much outrage when players miss these - pre-season ones - as soon as its a world ranking tournament, there is uproar. We need that for all, otherwise players will just keep treating these tournaments as pre-season.

Why isn't Robertson there next week. I didn't read the express piece yesterday?


Dave H said...

I presume Neil is either in Australia or with his partner and new baby

Anonymous said...

Hi dave,

thanks for this.

@1.40 Indeed O'Sullivan did win it for the first in 2005 under the new shot clock - in manchester.

it was a double that year (tad confusing,) as they changed the start/finish times.Was always January-May, then went to Sept-Dec.

O'Sullivan won it both in May 2005 and December 2005.


Greg P said...

I agree Jamie, Hendry is a spent force. He wasn't totally embarrassing himself in the PL, but it was clear he wasn't going to get anywhere near winning it. Mark Williams will be much better value for money.

Also it's great to see Mark Selby back in it. He should really have been in it last year, having reached the final in his first season.

porridge said...

@kildare cueman

Ok, thanks for info, indeed I was going more by hunch, never bother to actually check the history books. :)

But hey, Williams got to top4 anyway back then, so that must be a proof for at least some sort of suitability for the format, even though getting some fatal beating from O'Sullivan's corner.

thetubberlad said...

It's a good lineup. I'm glad to see Hendry moved aside, not down to a dislike of the man at all, but he quite simply has not been competitive enough over the last few years. White & Davis, close friends of Hearn, have both fallen from grace and from the lineup, so Hendry must be treated the same. I don't agree with a Premier League spot being given to a Championship League winner. Fu was abysmal last year, and his presence cheapens this in my opinion. Otherwise, it's great to see Williams back, O'Sullivan is a must, Murphy defending champion (fair enough), Mark Selby is the best in the world right now as far as I'm concerned, Robertson is World Champion & Ding was arguably the player of the season. Best lineup in years overall.

Betty Logan said...

The fact remains there isn't much name recognition in that line-up. They really needed another headline name in there for the dates Ronnie isn't playing and Hendry is still top 16 so would have been a credible choice.