So, the first Players Tour Championship event of the new season begins today with the start of the amateur qualifying rounds in Sheffield.
There has been a record entry for the first PTC with 206 players chancing their arms, including 93 professionals.
The first year of the PTC series was by no means perfect but it remains a welcome addition to the calendar. £10,000 is a good first prize for a few days of snooker and it gets the players active and thus sharper than they would be having to wait for weeks in between playing opportunities.
Last season there were 12 different winners of the 12 PTC titles. It really is a chance for anyone, wherever they are in the rankings, to shine.
John Higgins, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy, Mark Williams and Stephen Hendry are among the stars rubbing shoulders with complete unknowns.
Some players are only just back from the close season break and it will be interesting to see where their games are at so early in the campaign.
At present it is impossible to watch the PTCs (outside of live scoring), but that could well change very soon.
In the meantime, spare a thought in particular for Mike Ganley and Martin Clark, World Snooker’s hard working tournament directors, who have to ensure the whole thing runs smoothly.
These are long, long days. It’s like a snooker factory and it’s become an important part of the campaign as a whole.
Williams won the very first PTC event staged last year and ended the season as world no.1.
Good luck to one and all cueing off for the new campaign in Shefield over the next few days.