Ronnie O'Sullivan has withdrawn from next week's Shanghai Masters.
The reigning champion notified World Snooker of his decision today. He also withdrew from the Paul Hunter Classic last weekend. I understand he is blaming a back injury for both withdrawals.
I'm not a doctor and even if I was I haven't examined O'Sullivan so I make no comment on this excuse, except to say his decision will obviously disappoint his many fans in China and those who had been planning to watch him on TV.
It is the third time he has withdrawn from a ranking event in China. He also pulled out of the 2008 Bahrain Championship.
However, O'Sullivan will play in tonight's Premier League in Southampton, which regardless of the actual facts is going to appear somewhat odd.
EDIT: For some reason the story announcing this news on worldsnooker.com has been removed.