Ronnie O'Sullivan has withdrawn from the German Masters.
His decision not to travel to Berlin gives Dominic Dale a bye in to the last 16. It will also leave many who bought tickets specifically to see him play disappointed.
I can reveal that O'Sullivan recently told World Snooker he wanted to take a break from the game.
The sabbatical does not apparently include exhibitions. He has signed up for several nights on the Snooker Legends tour, indeed played Jimmy White in Blackburn last night.
This is almost on a par with Joe Davis in the 1950s, who retired from the World Championship but played in exhibitions.
Everyone knew he was still the best player and the fact he wasn't in the World Championship killed the tournament off, although it would be fanciful to suggest O'Sullivan's behaviour could do the same in 2011.
In exhibitions, there is little pressure. In a tournament, though, a player has his game tested. There is pressure. It is serious. Anyone who watched O'Sullivan in the UK Championship or the Masters will have observed that he was poorly motivated and unable to raise his game when he needed to.
Against White last night he contributed to an evening that included six centuries in eight frames.
Tournament snooker is perhaps boring to him now when set against the rush of a one night show - as in the Premier League - where he can pitch up, play and go home again - especially when the result doesn't really matter that much and he won't feel undue pressure.
But professional players have a responsibility to the game as well as their own whims.
O'Sullivan entered the tournament and so he should play in it unless there is a serious reason why he cannot.
The WPBSA's disciplinary arm recently instituted a series of punishments for players withdrawing from events they have entered.
The financial cost will not bother O'Sullivan. He has more than enough money to cover it.
The event will survive. German snooker fans have enthusiasm for the game, not just the top players.
But O'Sullivan is clearly at some sort of crossroads. He has threatened to retire many times and it has always been a rash, spur of the moment statement.
What is clear right now, though, is that he doesn't want to play tournament snooker.