The Players Tour Championship was part of Barry Hearn’s plan to get the players back doing what they said they wanted to do: play.
Now in its third year, the first UK PTC begins today with the amateur rounds before the professionals enter on Friday.
The British PTCs were not a laugh-a-minute affair for players hanging around waiting for spare tables in Sheffield until past the midnight hour but they will surely go down better at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester.
There are more tables at the SWSA than in Sheffield and also room for spectators, which should guarantee a better atmosphere, particularly in the main arena.
If I were a youngster mad keen on snooker I would want to go along and watch. What a great chance to see big names in action as well as rising stars.
Liveworldsnooker.tv and affiliated betting websites offer coverage, with commentary on the final day.
European PTCs, which are televised, tend to be won by regular tournament winners. The UK ones have been won by players a little further down the rankings.
It’s a chance for someone to win £10,000, plus ranking points and a huge boost of confidence.
Meanwhile, Hearn’s Matchroom organisation is this week celebrating its 30th birthday. I trust Barry hasn’t got sentimental and given anyone the day off.
It was a stroke of luck that one day a young ginger-haired introvert called Steve Davis walked into one of Hearn’s snooker clubs, but he would have been successful in some sphere or other in any case.
Hearn is a shrewd businessman with his finger on the pulse of what the general public wants, largely because he has never lost the common touch.
But his main asset is his charisma. When he walks into a room he owns it. He has built a remarkable sporting empire, finding niches and spotting openings long before anyone else.
Poker, pool, fishing, ten pin bowling...all have made him money. His stewardship of the PDC has seen darts reach new heights and, now in his 60s, he has come back to snooker in a big way, throwing his energies into revitalising the circuit.
He has attracted criticism from some. Not everyone likes the way he talks but Hearn has talked the talk and also walked the walk. Most of his critics have not.
Hearn has done it with the loyal support of his staff, hard workers but always courteous and good fun.
He and Davis made each other rich. There was one major hiccup when Stormseal, who Hearn brought in to sponsor the UK Championship when he promoted it, went bust and he had to cover the prize fund himself.
But since then Matchroom has gone from strength to strength and Hearn doesn’t seem to have lost any of his enthusiasm or his capacity for hard work.
He is an ideas man. They don’t all work but it’s better than having no ideas at all.
Snooker once distrusted Hearn and feared he was getting too big for his boots. He became disillusioned and went off to boxing and other sporting realms.
How times change. The game badly needed his return to give it a kick-start. He has done that but the job isn’t complete.
He said he had a five-year plan. We are starting year three. It’s amazing how many people can’t grasp this and want everything to be perfect immediately.
The UK PTCs have been scaled back, sensibly, and funds put into other events.
The circuit is busier than it has ever been. That in itself is a fact worth celebrating.
Eventually, I suspect the UK PTCs will be reduced further and probably scrapped altogether if there are enough bigger tournaments to fill the gaps.
In the meantime, good luck to everyone at the PTC this week.