Shaun Murphy will play Peter Ebdon in the first round of the second Players Tour Championship event on July 9.
There’s no protection for players in the PTC depending on where they’re officially ranked. Each tournament from now on is seeded based on the independent order of merit, hence Mark Williams is at the top of the draw where he faces Michael Holt, who is ranked 24th but lost in the first round of PTC event 1.
After the inevitable teething problems of the first event, the WPBSA has made some changes that should hopefully prevent a repetition of the 3am finish that occurred last week.
Four matches in the last 128 will be played on the qualifying day, scheduled sessions are now two hours long rather than 90 minutes and play will start an hour earlier at 9am.
But most crucially the tournament director now has it in his discretion to start matches earlier than the ‘not before’ time if a table is free and both players are happy to play.
This is eminently sensible and should ensure less of a logjam, although as I said the other day: the length of snooker matches can only ever be estimated.
This new tour was always going to be trial and error but it’s noticeable that entries are up on the first tournament, which proves that the players have welcomed Barry Hearn’s first significant innovation since taking control of World Snooker.
Event 1 attracted 73 members of the main tour. Event 2 has seen 81 enter plus 83 amateurs meaning a field of 164 compared to 148 for the inaugural tournament.
The players are getting what they asked for in the shape of more opportunities. In turn, most of them are embracing the chances they are being given.
It makes all the ballyhoo surrounding Hearn’s ascension seem even more ridiculous. What his tenure has so far delivered is what everyone wanted in the first place: more snooker.