Morrissey once sang that ‘America is not the world.’

In terms of a strict geographical observation Mozza can’t be faulted. But some people in snooker need to be reminded that the UK is only one country of many. There is a whole world out there and it needs to be explored.

Snooker was invented in India, albeit by British army officers. The professional game was born in the UK and grew here but for snooker to go forward it needs to grow elsewhere as well.

There have been forays to Australia and New Zealand, to Canada, to continental Europe, to the Middle East and to the Far East.

Many of these tournaments have simply fallen by the wayside, taking much of the local interest in snooker with them.

Meanwhile here in Britain the boom has passed, snooker clubs have shut down at an alarming rate and pro-am competitions are vastly reduced in number.

I support keeping the Betfred.com World Championship at the Crucible in Sheffield because of the great history of the place but, in general, there needs to be more tournaments outside British shores, not just for snooker’s credibility but for its future survival as a top level sport.

This is the best way of encouraging participation around the world and ensuring global TV coverage.

The BBC, which has done more than any player to popularise the sport, is still hugely important to the professional game but snooker needs to be seen in households far from British shores as well.

I understand the PTC grand finals will be held outside the UK, a good start.

Barry Hearn was recently in China and Thailand talking to promoters about new events in the Far East. I know he has also spoken to representatives of other countries so it is very likely players will be racking up the air miles soon.

Good. For a sport to have global pretensions it actually has to travel the world.

Most top players are still British of course – and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that – but it’s a little odd for a ‘World’ Championship to include only a handful of none British faces.

Ding Junhui has of course been the standard bearer of the Chinese snooker revolution and Neil Robertson has, to his credit, been getting himself in front of every TV camera going in Australia since becoming world champion.

Interest is huge in Eastern Europe. Regular readers of this blog log on from countries such as Russia, Poland and Lithuania in large numbers.

So step forward the 12bet.com World Open...this tournament, whatever its faults may be, at least includes a few exotic names.

There’s Igor Figueiredo, Brazil’s first professional, who plays Mark Williams tomorrow.

And there’s Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un Nooh, who tackles newly crowned Shanghai Masters champion Ali Carter today.

The World Open will foreground a total of 43 players. Some of these are familiar, some are established lower rankers and some will be completely new to most viewers.

The format is quickfire, probably too quickfire for many players. Stephen Hendry said the other day that he didn’t think ranking points should be given to a tournament of best of fives and he’s probably right.

But I’d rather World Snooker tried something new than tried nothing at all.

The BBC will probably still go with three tournaments rather than four next season but the World Open will at least have been showcased and, unless it’s a total disaster, which I don’t think it will be, I’d expect to see it somewhere on the calendar in 2011/12.

Hearn has been canny using the word ‘World’ in the title, immediately adding prestige to the tournament for any overseas promoter keen to take it on.

And at least the rules of the game haven’t been messed with. It’s still snooker, just a more cut-throat version.

Some will still prefer best of nines, others will enjoy seeing more matches and players. I’d imagine the gambling community will largely steer clear.

Players higher up the rankings may feel they are disadvantaged. There are no seedings and they know the lower ranked players have a better chance of beating them over a shorter distance.

But if Hearn’s global vision does come to fruition – and it will take at least a couple of years to do so – this tournament will be just one of many.

My advice to players in coming seasons: keep your passports handy, you’re going to need them.

World Open TV times:
BBC1: 3-4.30pm
BBC2: 11.20pm-2.10am

Eurosport2: 2.30-4.30pm
Eurosport International: 6-10pm
British Eurosport2: 2.55-4.30pm, 7-10pm


kildare cueman said...

Good point about the over reliance on the UK market.

As well as having the championships permanently based in Sheffield, the UK Championships is currently the 2nd biggest tournament.

Instead of identifying the BBC events as the "majors", I'd like to see several UK style tournaments dotted around the globe and deem these as the majors.

China is already capable of having one, maybe by upgrading one of their existing tournaments.

Germany could host another, thereby bringing the total to 3.

You would then have the UK, Asian, and European championships.

The majors would sit alongside the regular rankers in the calendar and could be increased further in number pending a countries' growing interest in the game.

There is also the possibility, if the game grows accordingly, of having more masters style events abroad.

These could run concurrently with PTC events, ensuring everyone is busy.

This entry probably appears fanciful, and probably is, but we have to assume growth, and it is important to have some kind of global structure in the future rather than a hodgepodge of best of 9 rankers all over the place.

It is also important to find other TV partners. If BBC didn't have a virtual monopoly they mightn't be so quick to drop events.

jamie brannon said...

The late-night coverage starts at midnight.

Bad news that you think we will lose an event.

CHRISK5 said...

I still would have preferred something like 'Global Open' instead - then again,it could a
be tournament name for a new,
future event.

I can see the World Open being
a successful re-invention of the
Grand Prix & considering BBC still kept four tournaments on their scheduele through the 'doldrum years' - it would seem odd,
especially with the new vibrancy in Snooker - to now reduce to
3 tournaments,as things are on
the up & up.

Looking ahead,would be ideal if
the PTC/EPTC Series expanded to
20 events or above in future years,
with new countries hosting events
who have yet to do so & possibly
increasing to 10 televised ranking events - therefore,30 counting events towards the rankings would be a perfect tour structure.

Hopefully ticket sales have gone well for the World Open,the GP
had noticeably poor attendances
during early rounds - a vibrant crowd,quickfire matches,intro music
,WT's commentary (well 3 out of 4
ain't bad) - so bring it on !

Anonymous said...

As an outsider it is hard to read about brits shooting themselves down and not feeling they should dominate snooker. Why this crazed obsession with having to be global and 'move forward'? Towards what?

So you can pad yourselves on the back in 20 years and say "well done, we managed to hand it over to the chinese - we are officialy out of the top 32!"? The popularity of snooker obviously has its own fluctuations and surely the UK interest will see renewed growth under proper management (Hearn). But it is guaranteed to disappear forever if the brits slip away. The damage will be done. Focus instead on your european neighbours and take advantage of the massive support snooker enjoys. And PLEASE understand that the UK is the heart and soul of snooker.

Dave H said...

I don't recall saying the game should be handed to China. I said it should become more international.

Anonymous said...

The gambling community will do what it always does. Assume players are playing on their merits as we all do. It does not matter what duration a match is - if a player is going to go crooked he will do it regardless. Bookmakers may provide the vehicle for exploitation but at the end of the day it's the players themselves who are responsible for tainting the integrity of the game.

Anonymous said...

1.39, what utter rubbish. Tennis, football and even darts are all uk based sports. Look what happened when they went global, you can watch them on telly almost daily, all year round.
Next year there will only be 3 worthwhile TV tournaments in the UK.

Anonymous said...

Robertson misses a red on 40.
Virgo says - "commentators curse and we're only 5 minutes into the new season"

The PTC's, Austrian open, 6 reds world championships and Shanghai masters, they were all last season were they?
Or does it only count if BBC are covering it?

NewsBrain said...

I think Stephen Hendry needs to shut up. He is starting to sound like a very bitter has-been.

I bet you the final few will all be top players. You cannot rock up and win the 20/20 world cricket - you need to be bloody good.

Again, look at the FA Cup/World Cup. Are we to say that due to the knockout nature of these events that inferior teams win.

No, no and no. Sport is played at such a high level that short sprint still see the cream come to the top.

I am loving it. Multiple matches with quick resolutions, what great afternoon entertainment we are in for this week. Miles better than Man U/Liv (if you are a neutral anyway).

Gutted BBC are not going to show it next yea. such a shame!

Dave H said...

To the player who left the message he didn't want me to post - drop me an email at snookersceneblog@aol.com because that sounds like a very interesting story

ali said...

A quick look at Alexa.com (leader in website stats) would seem to espouse Dave's view that there is strong interest in europe and asia.

The U.K only accounts for 21.8% of visitors site traffic to Worldsnooker.com. The rest, in order, Australia (9.9%), Poland (9.2%), Romania (7.7%), Malaysia (7.6%), India (6.9%), Denmark (5.8%), Hong Kong (4.3%), Germany (3.9%) and Hungary (3%). Other salient traffic from Serbia and Turkey.
Reference: http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/worldsnooker.com#

P.S. The new live scoring is working like a dream at the world open. Good sleek user interface as well.

Matt said...

I don't agree with Hendry re: the new ranking system but I do agree that the ranking points available for this tournament are way too high when compared to those available at the World Championship and the UK, bearing in mind the number of frames required to win each.

If this tournament is to be off the BBC next year, I hope that is looked at.

Anonymous said...

Could someone inform tonights Eurosport commentary team that a ball incorrectly spotted by a referee is NOT a foul if not noticed by the player at the table in playing a subsequent shot.
This rule was changed many years ago, and the incident almost occured during the third frame of the Davis/Ebdon match.
I am not surprised by yet another error from Mike Smith but I assumed Joe Johnson would have some sort of grip on the rules of snooker, given his position as a senior commentator.

Anonymous said...

Mike Smith just telling the viewers that the Grand Prix in Aberdeen when a round robin was best-of-three then changed to best-of-five.
WRONG, it was never best of three.
As I type this they have also stated that a miscue on the third attempt at hitting a snooker is a forfeiture of a frame, also totally inaccurate.
Sorry for being a pedant but its getting silly now.

CHRISK5 said...

Ali - As a stat lover - Those facts are very interesting.

Thanks for posting the research.

Australia in 2nd place with 9.9%
is very encouraging & proves there
is a potential & very real market
there for a future event.

I am sure many of those European
countries listed will get the chance to host an EPTC event
sooner rather than later or even
the PTC Grand Finals itself.

Matt - I agree if the World Open
wasn't on BBC,it would probably
merit a 5000 pt tariff for it's
shorter format - but it's the
mass viewership,increased pressure,
one table set up & BBC coverage which gives it credibility at 7000.

But ofcourse,the tariff should be
reduced if W.O was dropped by the
BBC for next season.

Anonymous said...


Will you be counting the World Open as a separate event or will the winner go under your list of Grand Prix champions?


Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

First day's play concluded way before 10.30 and 5 matches finished.

Loved it!

Thanks, Joe

Dave H said...

It's a new tournament - although they appear to be using the old Grand Prix trophy

Janie Watkins said...

The SECC got caught in the old "Grand Prix" syndrome too today. Their notices to spectators, welcomed them to the 2010 Grand Prix Snooker. The error was later corrected!

I have good impressions from today's first day's action at the SECC. Crowds were a bit sparser than one might hope, but there were a fair few in for all matches.

We started to run over schedule in the afternoon and had no interval at all between afternoon and evening but two quick evening matches brought us to a reasonable finish.

And well done to Dave Harold for an excellent performance to produce a 3-0 win tonight over Shaun. I suppose it goes down as a shock, but I won't be shocked at any result in best of 5.

The new live scoring is working fine. There are a lot more bells and whistles to be added to it, but they've obviously elected to ensure all the basics work right first.

Despite the new format I still think much more could be done to create interactivity between players and fans, such as autograph sessions out in the foyer after matches etc. I may be wrong, but I didn't see any evidence of this today. It was the usual players backstage and fans front of house scenario.

Anonymous said...

i agree Janie, tho i did see you backstage


kimball said...

Suppouse rankingpoints are merited on pricemoney.

Was great day today with five games on a trot!

Excellent set up World Open, imagine when the qualifiers goes truly global!
Mita Masters with a twist!

Anonymous said...


Are you there working in your new job or just for pleasure?

If it's the former what website are you working for again?

Thanks, Joe

CHRISK5 said...

Alpha - Some websites will list
the World Open in the same page or
category as the Pro Players event,
LG Cup & Grand Prix...presumably
because of it's recurring September
or October slot on the calendar.

The World Open has borrowed the
random draw format from the
original GP (2008/2009),the
British Open (1990/1992) ,
but the biggest blunder was not
investing in a new trophy !

How amateurish...especially when
trying to define the World Open
as an exciting,new brand !

How much would a new trophy have cost anyway ?

IRS said...

If the BBC don't want the World Open then would they want the Welsh Open either? What about ITV4? They've shown with Power Snooker that they at least have some interest in the game. They are also free and unlike Sky would be willing to be the secondary UK broadcaster. They wouldn't be demanding the World Championships.

kildare cueman said...

There is no doubt that 7000 points is too much for the world open.

There are other anomalies too. The WC used to be double the tariff for a regular ranker, which is still the case with The Welsh and now the German Open.

But why, pray tell, are the Chinese tournaments deemed more valuable than a normal ranker? If anything they should be less with their sparse halls and phones constantly going off.

If Jamie Burnett reaches the semi final of the next China open, he will receive more points from the two Chinese tournaments than he would get for winning the world championship.

Anonymous said...

Good point Chris, if they are going to make the World Open a distinct event from the Grand Prix, they could have at least got a new trophy for it!


Anonymous said...

janie is pretending she hasnt read that question...

Anonymous said...

What an injustice in the Hendry/Haneveer second frame.

Had the ref called free ball it was impossible not to go 1-1, with the green back on its spot and the cueball closer to the yellow.

It would also have got rid of Haneveers nerves and possibly have gone to win the match.

Lucky Hendry. Wonder if he'd have noticed the free ball.