A sign of how times have changed is that two televised events are now clashing. As the new International Championship begins on Sunday, the World Seniors Championship is coming to an end.
Seniors snooker has never quite taken off, despite many attempts to establish it in the same way as in golf and tennis.
There was a tournament held in 1985 for all (living) former world champions called the Kit-kat Break for world champions, one of the best names for a tournament ever. Of course, many of these players were not seniors.
In 1991, Barry Hearn promoted a World Seniors Championship in which one great character, Cliff Wilson, beat another, Eddie Charlton, 5-4.
In 1997, a Seniors Pot Black was held and shown on the BBC. Joe Johnson was the winner.
In 2000, the Royal Automobile Club in London staged a seniors masters, won by Willie Thorne.
But the concept never really caught on. Part of the problem is that though many people like to remember these older stars of snooker, they prefer to remember them as they once were.
Ultimately people go to tournaments to watch high quality action, not players who can’t produce the form they once could.
Snooker loves to go on about the ‘good old days.’
There is a difference between nostalgia – the rosy-eyed romanticising of the past – and heritage, which is a chronicling and respect for what has gone before.
Snooker has for too long been nostalgic for years gone by without realising what it has had at any given present.
In the 1980s, the sport was made for late night highlights but many of these largely tactical matches would frankly bore a generation brought up on the all out attacking game.
Standards have risen as the nature of how snooker is played has changed.
This is not to do down the World Seniors Championship, but the event itself has a somewhat confused format.
Nigel Bond is the highest ranked player in the tournament and yet had to win three matches to qualify while other players who haven’t played professionally for years were seeded straight through.
Some of these are world champions, which is fair enough, but others are not.
If Sky is televising the event then certain concessions have to be made but a shot-clock for these old stagers seems almost disrespectful.
Last year, the rules were messed about with so much that there was a farcical interlude in which the referee, John Williams, had to get them out of his pocket and explain them to Steve Davis and John Parrott live on air.
I think it’s right that matches are short early on but a world final should be longer than a best of three.
These are all opinions, not criticisms. I’m sure many will enjoy the tournament for what it is. It’s a chance to see up close some of the players who helped make snooker so popular on television.
But perhaps the truth is this: modern snooker is now in such a strong state that we no longer have to look to the past to reassure ourselves how good the game is.