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Mark Williams, Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy are there but Stephen Maguire has withdrawn due to his wife’s imminent delivery of their new baby.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