Anthony Hamilton was unusually outspoken this evening after beating Scott MacKenzie 10-2 in the final qualifying round of the 888.com World Championship here at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield to reach the Crucible for a 12th time.

Hamilton is ultra laidback and uncontroversial but said he had been motivated because he considers the World Championship to be one of only two ‘proper’ tournaments on a circuit that features only seven ranking events.

“Apart from the Masters, the World Championship is the only proper tournament we’ve got,” he said.

“They are the only two sporting events we have. The others are just a pile of sh*t, playing for £30,000 first prizes. They’re tinpot. You only get 12 people in the audience.

“At the Crucible, you know it’ll be full of people who want to watch you play. Plus, they’re chucking cash at you.

“It’s a shame we don’t have the calendars they have in golf or tennis. This is what it’s all about for us.”

Actually, only the Northern Ireland Trophy carried a first prize of £30,000 this season, but it is certainly true that prize funds are lower than they were a decade ago.

That said, surely Hamilton considers the UK Championship to be a ‘proper’ tournament?

And the two ranking events in China are well attended and popular, even if the prize money is not as high as many of the players would like.

Still, whether you agree with him or not, Hamilton is perfectly entitled to his view.


Samivel said...

I'm quite sure Anthony Hamilton excluded the UK Championship on purpose: I was there in Telford when he played Mark Selby on one of the outside tables, and there were even less than 12 people in the audience. Anthony and Mark barely got any applause and I felt deeply sorry for them that even their best shots shouldn't be properly acknowledged.

And by the way: If Anthony Hamilton seems uncontroversial I suppose it's mostly down to the fact that we don't hear from him very often. When we do though, he's never one to beat about the bush. I recall one particular interview, for instance, in which he likened the bouncing cushions to a pinball machine (and found some harsher words for them as well...).

andy said...

Hi Dave,

I can understand the frustration of the top players playing for very little prize money over recent years. I wrote an article about this back in May 2007, you can read it by clicking here.

Obviously the demise of tobacco sponsorship mixed in with the WPBSA not having a plan to make up for the massive shortfall in prize money had a lot to do with this. For the last 3 years, it would have been better for professional snooker players to have a "proper job" rather than playing snooker for a living.

Low points in industry happen all the time, including my industry!! It doesn't only happen to snooker players. I think the 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 seasons have started to show some kind of snooker boom again. As you say, only the Northern Ireland Trophy carried a first prize of £30,000 this season. The 06/07 season had more than one tournament with a first prize of £30,000 or less and I believe the season before had even more tournaments in this category.

The way I see things, with the massive success of the Matchroom Premier League, your report on the apparent success of the Matchroom Championship League, live snooker on Eurosport and John Higgins' Snooker World Series, things are definitely looking up for professional snooker players and Anthony Hamilton has a lot to look forward to!


Matt said...

He's spot on I reckon, fair play to him.