The World Cup is still going, Wimbledon is underway and the Open Golf Championship is yet to start but, on Sunday night, we will have the first updated ranking list of the new season.

This is unchartered territory for snooker, starting the season so early, and it will be interesting to see who has been practising and who is still rusty.

The new Players Tour Championship is a first rate concept because it gives the players what they have been asking for: more chances to play. Not only that, it is meaningful in terms of prize money and ranking points.

Barry Hearn has been unfairly characterised as an 'elitist' when, in fact, the PTC will chiefly favour the lower ranked players. Many of those who criticised him so vehemently are, needless to say, in the field.

The set up is pretty much like it is at the qualifiers where they play most of their snooker. It will be the top players who will have to adjust to alien surroundings.

For Ronnie O'Sullivan and Mark Williams it must feel like starting again. In 1992 they and many other hopefuls - John Higgins included - pitched up at Blackpool's Norbreck Castle Hotel for a long, long summer of snooker at the qualifiers.

The good news for them is that the PTC events are only three days long.

With no TV cameras or crowds, and given the time of year, the playing field is levelled so it wouldn't surprise me to see a player well down the rankings go a long way and perhaps even win the first event.

There are some big names missing: Steve Davis, Ken Doherty and Stephen Hendry are apparently on holiday; Ali Carter is playing in an exhibition in Austria; Neil Robertson is presumably back in Australia; Ding Junhui is presumably in China.

Sadly, snooker fans cannot watch the action in Sheffield as there is no room for spectators and no streaming. Hopefully there will be live scoring at the very least.

The qualifiers start today with former Scottish Open champion David Gray playing an amateur by the name of Greg Davis, who happens to be the son of Steve.

What a chance for these amateurs, to rub shoulders with some of snooker's top stars.

What a chance for the players in general: to earn more money, rise up the rankings and play more regularly.

For the first time in many years, they really are full time professionals again.


Anonymous said...

What I terrible about the Walker era was the lack of streaming from events such as the WC qualifiers.

Now they are staging the PTC events with NO public involvement at all? That is horrific. To not stream this is a crime.

Really Barry? I love you, but let me watch the action. I'm sure others would enjoy it as well.

JIMO96 said...

Hi Dave- I'm looking forward to the first "provisional" list on Sunday night, and indeed updating it throughout the season.

Still no news on the tariffs for other events? Or some kind of "starter points" system?

The provisional list aftr PTC1 will contain all the points for last season, the points earned from PTC1, AND all the points earned in the 2008-9 season (except the NI Trophy and GP).

This throws up a couple of anomalies....

(i) the players who got on the tour last season and did well enough to stay on (e.g Drago, Haneveer), and who would have been comfortably in the top 64 (top 40 in Drago's case) under the old system, now find themselves in the lower reaches; in fact Drago is 64th, and the 8 other players who kept their places are stationed from 66th-73rd. OK, give them "starter points" but how much? And how will these points be altered to reflect the other 2008-9 events which will drop off later in the season?

(ii) the new players this season start with zero....or do they? 6 of them actually played on the tour in the 2008-9 season and earned points ranging from 4200 (Jamie Jones) to 2725 (Liu Chuang) in the 5 events which will count for the first ranking list after the World Open. Will they be allowed to keep these points and let them contribute to their official ranking position after the World Open? They did PLAY in them after all? And how would their "starter points" be calculated to reflect their absence in the season just finished?

It's a bit of a headache calculating this, and I suspect it's why the WSA are taking so long to finalise the points tarriffs. Of course, this "headache" is created because the "one year" intake is icompatible with a "two year" points list.

It would be so much easier for everyone concerned if it were a one year list....or a 2 yearly intake(!)

It would be good to hear your thoughts on this

Monique said...

RSS feeds today are full of articles devoted to snooker amateurs and rookies expressing their excitment at playing the pros in the PTC. There is clearly a huge wave of fresh enthousiam and hope about the sport and it's back on the local media radar. Great!

Ramona Dragomir said...

It`s a great oportunity for the youngsters and an important event for those who are in the bussines for some time now.
Wish them all the best of luck.
Keep the passion for snooker alive, boys!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Surely, with this being the 'start' of the new season, it would've been a great opportunity for Hearn to shut down the world snooker website and launch a fantastic new one with either a) a better live scorecard (maybe they could've done this in associated with Global Snooker who should be recognised by them for the effort they put in,) or b) put in live streaming.

What a way to pull punters in for the new season.

Has Hearn spoken to PERFORM who do the PL Championship Qualifying streaming or indeed 110sport who shot live Prestatyn qualifiers last season?

Thanks, Joe


Anon @ 10.14,

I agree 100% with you. I am fully supportive of everything Hearn has done since he took over, but it is disappointing that the ptc events are held in camera.

The definition of professional sport is the idea that the best practitioners of their chosen sport compete against each other.

The public want to watch them, because they're the best, and because the public are willing to pay, the players get paid.

The ptc system doesn't make sense. They cost the association money and the public are denied access.

Anonymous said...


its work in progress im sure of that Live Streaming will come but hes been in the job 6 months hes had full control of the sport less than a month other things has taken his time.

give him a break im sure he will deliver that and more.

Dave H said...

Patience everyone. Streaming is very likely at some point later in the season but these things don't just magically happen without a lot of work.

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Hello Dave
How are you! Your staunch friend Monique seems very gregarious and first in with strong opinions on almost all subjects and long may this habit continue Dave. Though, it would be nice of the lass if she caught her breath sometime and read something other than her own copy.

Monique seems a very strong Character that sadly knows “Absolutely Nothing” about the technique of advance snooker or she wouldn’t defend Miz Evens the ladies world champion.
The wee lass (Reanne) is wasted as she has so much experience but so little ability. A regular century break is not enough nor an occasional147.

Miz Evans has had Top coaching or coaching from the Top players yet still only of a good club player standard.

The obvious fact is that either: Lady players are all “Stupid” and incorrigible or top players don’t know (In words) what they are doing “Right” and tied only to the “Watch Me” and I’ll show you again method.
A tip worth knowing Monique and all students! Beware of the coach with a cue. Mr Hey You .

Anonymous said...

these smaller events will suit the likes of bingham and holt . both good players but dont play to thier ability in the big venues in front of the cameras. mr 2.43 more nonsense please go away.

Anonymous said...

more crap from Mr A U

Anonymous said...

so far very disappointing with the lack of live scoring lets hope tomorrow with a staggering 56 best of 7 matches taking place involving main tour players it will be vastly improved.

Anonymous said...

Just a question. If Ronnie o Sullivan(or anyone else for that matter) wins the PTC this weekend will it be added to his ranking title total?



Dave H said...

Glad you asked that. In a word: no.

It will count as a 'minor' ranking title.

Older readers will recall there have been these before - smaller events played in a non-TV environment with a much lower ranking points tariff.

Joe Swail and Tony Drago are among those to have won them in the past.

jamie brannon said...

Didn't the season start with the Wuxi classic?

I like the idea of these events, but I wouldn't be too disappointed if Ronnie didn't win, the major events are key.

Having said that if a top player was to bypass all these events, I am guessing he would find it difficult to be a top eight player?

Anonymous said...

if a top player missed half these events he will struggle to stay in the top 16 We Know Stephen Hendry as No 11 Rank player going to miss 3... he is therefore under immense pressure for the other tournament of the season.

6 PTC Q/f = 6,000 points