It seems to me that the Welsh Open has, through no real fault of its own, become the poor relation of the ranking event circuit.
It’s a long established tournament, first staged in 1992, and has seen some terrific snooker and very tense finals down the years.
But the Welsh Open does not stand out from the pack and now carries a lower ranking points tariff than the two Chinese ranking events.
Why is this? Well, it doesn't receive BBC network coverage so is a little below the radar. Newport, fine place though it may be, does not excite players like some venues.
But the main reason is that the tournament basically feels like all the others, just not as big. It is played under the tried and tested best of nine format so there is nothing ‘special’ about it.
The answer, then, is to change it in some way. A new look, a new format, a new approach is needed.
One idea is a shot clock, as a novelty. The Premier League uses one but it is yet to be introduced in a ranking tournament.
I’m wary of the shot clock because I’m not sure it would improve the standard of snooker. Two players who can’t pot a ball between them will still be involved in a rubbish match regardless of how long they are given to play each shot.
My other worry is that it would be used to artificially speed up the pace of play. Some of the most compelling snooker matches have been when the pace has slowed and the tension increases.
Steve Davis took an age over the final few balls of his victory over John Higgins at the Crucible last season and it made for fascinating, nerve-shredding viewing. Running round the table would have detracted from this.
A shot clock should be used to police play rather than forcing players to play at tempos outside their natural speed.
If one is introduced for the Welsh Open it should be 35, maybe 40 seconds, not 25 or, God forbid, 20.
Another change could be to the dress code. Some see the waistcoats and bowties as an anachronism. Others like the smart dress, although you can look smart without wearing a waistcoat.
The danger here, though, is that it would make the event look even less important because players wouldn’t be wearing the clobber associated with the top tournaments.
The format could change. How about best of sevens with no intervals? Just play the matches straight through so that they don’t outstay their welcome. Play the final over 13 frames in one session.
Again, though, would this make the event any more appealing?
We’re constantly told that ‘people today want everything shorter and faster’ but where is the actual evidence for this?
The Welsh Open’s best days were when it was staged at the Cardiff International Arena from 1999 to 2003. It is a top class venue but too expensive in these belt-tightening times.
It’s a tricky one for World Snooker: there’s the feeling that something has to change but any alteration to the format or look of the Welsh Open would be a risk and they do not want to alienate the traditional fans.
Wales is a snooker hotbed. It has produced many top players and has a loyal fanbase.
The Welsh Open has a proud history but it will surely need to embrace innovation to survive.
But what to do?