Stephen Lee believes his resurgence has stemmed from the increased number of playing opportunities in the last two years and he again produced a confident display to beat Ding Junhui 4-0 in the final of the second Asian PTC in Yixing, China today.
Lee is 38, the sort of age when players are supposed to decline but this season has already seen a PTC triumph for 41 year-old Rod Lawler and the 37 year-old John Higgins win the Shanghai Masters.
Mark Davis and Marcus Campbell, both 40, have been ranking event semi-finalists already in the campaign.
Snooker is not a physical sport so longevity is possible. Way back when in 1978, Fred Davis reached the World Championship semi-finals at the age of 64. His last Crucible appearance came at 70.
Latterly, Steve Davis has eked out impressive performances in his 50s.
However, as people age things do change, not least eyesight and also the ability to handle pressure. Over time, mental scars can form, usually from all the setbacks that litter even the greatest of careers.
I remember about ten years ago covering the qualifiers in the glamorous locale that is Burton-on-Trent.
Davis (Steve, that is) needed the final black to beat Ian McCulloch 5-4. He was right behind it and, for any professional, is was a simple pot.
But that’s the point: it was so simple that it became, paradoxically, missable because Davis knew that there was no excuse to miss it.
And he did miss it. He came off after McCulloch potted it and admitted: “I was shaking like a leaf.”
Steve Davis shaking like a leaf! Well, it happens to the best of them.
Lee has steadily built up his confidence and the PTCs have been key in this, as was evidenced by the fact he won the grand finals last season.
But if I may make this joke for the third time on this blog, snooker, like the black pudding industry, relies on a constant supply of fresh blood.
The younger players are not coming through at the rate they once did, certainly at the rate Lee and the class of ‘92 did.
Perhaps this will change if major events revert to ‘flat’ draws where everyone comes in at the first round. But the PTCs use this system and they are pretty much always won by an established name.
The qualifying system is labyrinthine and tough to come through but it is supposed to be and, in various formats, always has been difficult.
When Lee turned pro he was one of 600-odd players chancing their arm. Most weren’t close to his standard but there were plenty of older players capable of denying the young guns any momentum.
It seems these days this constituency – the experienced pro – is the dominant force.
The likes of Luca Brecel may of course threaten this stranglehold. Ding Junhui broke through, as did Judd Trump.
But the older guard are still a formidable force to be reckoned with.