The field for the partycasino.com Players Tour Championship Grand Finals, which start tomorrow, features a smattering of star names, some established players and a few rank outsiders.

The PTC series was a major cornerstone of the changes introduced by Barry Hearn: 12 tournaments worth £10,000 (or Euro) to the winner of each with a Grand Finals worth £60,000 to the eventual champion.

Most players embraced the chance to compete for such prize money, earn ranking points and get invaluable match practice.

It wasn’t a perfect first year. Many players feel the set up in Sheffield is far from ideal – snooker fans who can’t get in to watch would doubtless agree.

Hearn admits it was a mistake to limit qualification for the Grand Finals to players who had played in at least three UK and three European PTCs.

This meant that even though Ding Junhui and John Higgins won titles and finished inside the top 24 on the order of merit, they are not eligible to go to Dublin.

Among the other well known faces missing are Neil Robertson, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stephen Hendry and Ali Carter.

Mark Williams, Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy are there but Stephen Maguire has withdrawn due to his wife’s imminent delivery of their new baby.

There were teething problems this season but once something is established it can be changed. Next season’s PTC standings are likely to be determined purely on a money list.

And anyway, this was a straight meritocracy. All players came in at the first round stage and the 24 players in Dublin deserve their places.

The Grand Finals represent a great chance for some of the game’s lower ranked players, such as Joe Jogia, Jamie Jones, Jack Lisowski and Barry Pinches.

On one point, though, I believe a mistake has been made. All matches are best of seven, including the final. Fair enough, this was the format for all the PTCs but a best of seven final for £60,000 seems far too short. It should be at least best of 11 to provide a sufficient test.

It will be interesting to see to what extent Irish snooker fans take to this tournament, the first carrying ranking points staged in the Republic for six years.

It’s St. Patrick’s week so attention may be turned elsewhere, although tickets for the weekend are apparently selling well.

Overall, the PTC series has been a welcome addition to the calendar. There is plenty of scope for it to grow in future years, particularly in Europe.

It’s worth remembering that the World Championship itself started off so small scale that the trophy still competed for today was bought using half the entry fees from the original championship in 1927.

You have to start somewhere and the next few days represent another chance for points, money and glory.


wild said...

it was not a mistake to limit qualification..

its all about commitment and players who did not commit should not get a spot based on 1 event victory.

it was also a part of John Higgins being Punished so how is his non participation a mistake ?

Dave H said...

Because winning one tournament is a better achievement than being consistent in 12 - which is why it's changing next year

Anonymous said...


is it true if stevens wins this he is up to 9th in rankings


Dave H said...

Not sure about that. I think that's one for prosnookerblog!

Anonymous said...

Dave, how do you think how many top players would travel to Europe if they could qualify by playing well in Sheffield?

I think if the PTC is for the players, it should be possible to play only 2 events, do well in both of them and qualify. But if it's about fans and developing snooker in Europe, I think there should be somce incentive for players to play in EPTC.

From purely egoistic point of view, I would not bother traveling to another country for an event no top16 player is attending. I remember that last year audience was not very big anyway, but maybe European events are not needed at all and all 12 PTC tournaments should be held in UK?

Dave H said...

Most of them would go for the ranking points and money. For instance Selby and Murphy did when they'd already qualified.

TazMania said...

It was not a mistake, maybe ding and higgins should have got special dispensation because ding had visa problems and higgins was banned. But whats the point if for eg Neil Robertson plays one event and wins, meaning he qualifies. This will deter players form attending tournaments!!!

Betty Logan said...

It solely depends on what you expect the PTCs to do really. The British PTCS just exist to provide players with more playing opportunities and more income.

The EPTCs do that also, but their purpose beyond that doesn't seem as clear. It seems to me that the German Masters did a much better job a promoting snooker in Germany than the EPTCs did; for a start it was televised, and German fans clearly want to see the top players play each other, so if you want to promote the game in Germany the moral of the story is stage top flight televised events! On the otherhand the EPTCS do provide German amateurs with regular playing opportunities against professional players, which they need if they are going to improve and compete, but to be fair you don't need the world number 1 there to invigorate the sport at grassroots.

Dave H said...

Times may vary depending on where you live

In the UK, Thursday's coverage starts at 2pm to 3pm on Eurosport2, transferring to Eurosport at 3.30-5pm and then from 7.45-10.30pm

As for deterring players from attending tournaments: it does the game more good to have the world champion playing on live TV than it does him turning up to play events behind closed doors in Sheffield

Matt said...

Re: Stevens, that is quite correct, provisionally anyway.

He would jump above O'Sullivan and Dott, though obviously he has won his opening World Championship and China Open matches and those two haven't haven't had the chance, so it's a bit of a false position.

wild said...

NO Winning 1 Event is nowhere near as good as Being Consistent and showing commitment to the Series.

Thats one rule i would not change.

How are you Going to Get players committing to European Events if they can rent a room in Sheffield for 6 events and do what they can from there.

how will that be better for the sport on the continent ?

Dave H said...

Simple: play the European events first

Anonymous said...

i just dont think its right players go to europe at their expense commit to the series then a player without getting on a plane gets a ticket in to the Grand Finals by playing well in 1 or 2 in sheffield.

Betty Logan said...

There is a flipside to that logic though; once the players have missed too many events to qualify then the 3 EPTC/PTC requirement becomes a disincentive because there is no point attending.

You can always rebalance the scales, perhaps have £8,000 for winning the PTCs and £12,000 for the EPTCs if you really want to put the emphasis on the European events.

Anonymous said...

I for one thinking the qualification criteria now is correct.

One more point, Ding Junhui's absence in the early PTC's is not due to any visa problem which he said. He was in Maldives for holiday.

Anonymous said...

The qualification criteria is crazy. To get in the Masters you have to be in the top 16, not have played in a random number of tournaments. For the best player in the world to have played two, won one and been runner-up in the other and yet not be in it is a joke. It should be changed.

This must be the worst line up for a TV tournament in living memory.

Anonymous said...

Dave why is there no coverage from the opening day on Eurosport?

Dave H said...

I may be wrong but I don't think it's actually being filmed today

Anonymous said...

Guaranteed 147 today then

Dave H said...

Absolutely nailed on!

As for being the worst TV line up ever, we're obviously betting without the 1990 Mercantile Classic

Anonymous said...

"This must be the worst line up for a TV tournament in living memory"


in the 80s the complaint was that the same old faces playing on TV all the time.

now this event gives chances for TV Exposure to other players and theres still complaints.

its just crazy.

im looking forward to see this event its different with different faces playing on TV.

godassesdor said...

PTC & EPTC were very important this season.
many players got there competition & points.
the ranking list was very dynamic thanks to them.

Some players have chosen not to take part in the first events and they pay the price.
Ask Stephen Hendry about his Top16 spot.

TazMania said...

ptc's main aims was to provide consistantcy not one tournmant wonder performances. The top 16 should try to play in all. Thats their BLOODY Job. You dont see british workers missing 10-12 weeks?

Anonymous said...

I can´t see any reason for complaining about Higgins not beeing at the tournament. A half year ban needs to have some consequenses, and that was Higgins not entering.

And the same goes for Ding, Hendry and the others who didn´t bother to show up, they knew the rules before it all started. Robertson could have been there, but didn´t qualify.

Anonymous said...

yes Robertson played enough qualifying Tournaments but was not in the top 24 same with Hendry.