The Australian Goldfields Open, which starts tomorrow, is the second world ranking event of the season.
It was won last year by Stuart Bingham, who recovered from 8-5 down to beat Mark Williams 9-8.
This was the greatest day of Bingham’s snooker career and a popular win for a player who has always supported the game by playing in tournaments big, small and long forgotten.
He’s back, of course, as defending champion but seven top 16 players have decided not to enter.
This is their right. Entry to tournaments has never been compulsory and if you feel you don’t need the points, or that it’s too far to travel, then you are free not to go.
But this doesn’t mean the tournament should not be on at all, despite what Mark Allen says.
There are many complaints about this and that behind the scenes. There always have been. Some are legitimate and others seem more spurious.
What annoys me, though, is that so many people think everything should be perfect immediately and forget why we are where we are.
When Barry Hearn took over in 2010, he did so because the game was going nowhere. It had stagnated.
He said he had a five-year plan to revive it. This is year three. The plan is still being rolled out.
New markets are being tried. Some will work, some will not, but it’s better than having hardly any events at all.
Of course everyone would want more prize money and for things to be ‘better’ full stop but tournaments have to be built up. Most events on the calendar now are being built up from scratch.
It is likely several of the European PTCs will grow into becoming fully fledged ranking tournaments, but these things take time.
I can understand players thinking mainly about the here and now because it is their livelihoods and a big tournament in three years time doesn’t pay the mortgage in 2012.
Sport as a career carries potential riches but also great uncertainty and anxiety, disappointment and frustration.
But is also about opportunity, and for one of the 32 players (plus two local wildcards) in Bendigo there is the chance to win a ranking title.
The most important player there as far as the organisers are concerned is there own Neil Robertson, closely followed by Ding Junhui.
There are a few what might be termed old sticks – Peter Ebdon, Ken Doherty, Alan McManus and Nigel Bond – and younger prospects such as Jack Lisowski, Xiao Guodong and Cao Yupeng.
There are also the dependables, players such as Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy, who play in everything.
In another week, in another part of the world, let’s hope they all put on a show which will best reflect the positives about the sport.
Coverage starts on Eurosport and liveworldsnooker.tv on Monday.