Professional snooker embarks on the kind of round the world trip this month that would make Michael Palin look like a stay-at-home.
It starts in Wuxi City in China on Thursday, heads to Bangkok in Thailand and finishes in Bendigo, Australia.
That’s 18 days of continuous snooker and it’s only July.
Some players are competing in all three events. If Ding Junhui, Mark Selby, Ali Carter, Stephen Maguire, Matthew Stevens or Liang Wenbo win the Wuxi Classic, World Cup and Australian Goldfields Open they will come back home enriched by over £100,000, all this at a time when snooker players are normally out on the fairways or taking family holidays.
All 18 days of action will be broadcast by Eurosport.
There’s no reason why snooker shouldn’t be a year-round sport or as good as, just as golf and tennis are.
Most people reading this who are in employment (in the UK anyway) will get no more than six weeks holiday a year. Professional snooker is just that: a profession. I suppose if you don’t need the money then taking four or five months off from work is fair enough but that only applies to a tiny minority of snooker players.
And players are not going to be at the top forever, so they should make hay while the sun shines and support as many new events as they can because one day they will find they’ve been replaced.
Look at Stephen Hendry: he skippered the Scottish dream team to glory in the last World Cup in 1996 but such is the strength of Scottish snooker – due in no small part to the inspiration he provided so many juniors – that he is ranked fourth now for his country and too low in the world rankings to get in the Wuxi Classic.
Perhaps the best thing about this July snooker bonanza, apart from its global reach, is the mix it offers: an invitation tournament, a revived team event and then a world ranking event.
Each tournament thus has its own identity and, in the case of the World Cup, we will see on our screens players who, to most of us, are completely new.
I suppose some people, if they were looking for negatives, would argue that you can have too much of a good thing, but I know Eurosport’s figures tend to rise when they show tournaments consecutively, possibly because viewing becomes habitual.
It’s the same with tennis and cycling and it’s basic economics: supply and demand. People want to watch something so they are given many hours of it to watch.
And there will be many hours coming your way in this super July for snooker.