In recent years the summer months have been a time of leisure for snooker players.

Now, in the middle of August, they are preparing for the fourth Players Tour Championship event, which starts in Sheffield tomorrow.

The PTC has been a hit with the players. 91 members of the 96 player main tour have entered the latest.

Among them are Ronnie O’Sullivan, back for the first time since PTC1, and Stephen Hendry and Mark Allen, who are each making their debuts in the series.

Mark Selby, winner of PTC2, heads the current table with £13,100 followed by PTC3 champion Tom Ford and Mark Williams, who won PTC1.

The top 24 will advance to the grand finals in March. Currently, only five members of the elite top 16 (I’m including Jamie Cope for now) are in the qualifying zone.

There’s plenty of time for all that to change. Including PTC4 there are still nine events to go.

Matches to look out for in the first round include Selby against Zhang Anda, who ran Hendry so close at the Crucible last season, O’Sullivan against Ryan Day and world champion Neil Robertson against Daniel Wells.

But, to me, the most interesting match is Hendry against 19 year-old Anthony McGill: the all time legend of Scottish snooker versus its bright new hope.

Hendry will recognise in McGill much of himself as a younger man: the determination, the fascination with the game and the excitement at being part of the circuit.

Young Anthony has emerged relatively unscathed from the disgraceful way the sport was run in Scotland and has already figured in a PTC quarter-final this season.

Of course, it would be stretching credulity to believe he could have a career that will emulate Hendry’s but there’s no shame in this. Nobody else has either.

So far the PTC is doing what it says on the tin: providing high quality match practice for useful financial reward plus ranking points.

And it’s not just good for the pros. Amateur players are also reaping the rewards by gaining crucial experience against some of the green baize’s biggest hitters.

For instance, Daniel Skingle takes on Cope.

I have no idea who Daniel Skingle is. He’s the only player in the draw I have never heard of.

But what a great opportunity for him to learn from playing one of snooker’s hottest talents.

He’s just another player who has reason to be grateful the Players Tour Championship has been established.


Anonymous said...

Dave, is it still no live scoring for PTC4?

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Any reason why this tournament is starting on the Saturday as opposed to the usual Friday-Sunday rota?

Thanks, Joe

Anonymous said...

9am start for Hendry/McGill... That might be too early for Hendo, therefore I am going for a McGill win!

Anonymous said...

With all the PTC events it seems (beside the missing online coverage) there is nothing but positive news. The fact that so many lower ranked players can take on the top stars on a more regular basis is brilliant.

Just imagine how disillusioned we and the players would be if Hearn had been rejected and Walker still reigned supreme. Thank god for Barry Hearn. And good luck to Stephen Hendry...

Anonymous said...

If I was Daniel Skingle, I'd be well chuffed right now!

Anonymous said...

No coverage, no spectators, no interest, no point.

Janie said...

We've started Saturday because there was a Junior summer School on before.

Daniel Skingle is a local Sheffield lad, getting his "15 minutes of fame"

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method14/8/10
A secret is wasted if not shared.
Dear Mr X @ 9:14 pm Hello Dave
You may be proved right mister X about Barry Hearn being Pro Snookers savour but I think it is still “Early Doors” to crow as (possible) baggage seldom manifests its self “in the early hours”.
This is not a “Knocking Barry thread but is neither a “Praise and be thankful” programme. The Lad (Barry) has left much undone and unsaid.

Barry has surrounded himself (wrongly) with hand picked advisers that must lead to less than “Full discussions” on all snooker matters.
Personally I think the lad talked himself into an impossible task as the barometer set for election was the wonderful “Tobacco Subsides Days” of long ago.

Everybody should rally around and support Barry before the Tobacco money is completely exhausted or the entrance fees for the PTC will need “Looking at” to break even. Mr Hey You.

Anonymous said...

McGill beats Hendry 4-0!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Thanks for that Janie. I thought Global was run by Terry Griffiths' place.No? Is it based in london?

So is global being bought out by on-q?

At least the scoring is better today, than last week on global.

Thanks, joe

Anonymous said...

My only fear about McGill has vanished: I was afraid he didn't have 'the killer instinct'. I mean, look at the lad: the face of a Mr Nice-Kind Guy! Could't imagine him hurt a fly (or one of those suicidal wasps come to die on the green tables at various venues. Redhead, yes, Scottish warrior, yes,but still, I had some fears. Thank God it was(is) not the case for me to worry!

Well done, Anthony!
And may I see you stretch Dave's credulity! lol

Anonymous said...

Beating Hendry in a ptc is no big deal. Hendry will plummet down the rankings under the new system. Hes a sham.

Janie Watkins said...

Hi Joe @6.03

When I first set up globalsnookercentre back in 1997 I was working for Terry full time.
But I went "freelance" in 1999, out on the road.
Until 2008 when Global-Snooker.com bought out the domain name but retained my freelance services to add content to the website.
Now I've moved on to work full time for OnQ but they've developed a new partnership with Global, that we will provide scoring services to Global, as and when we're at events.
So I am at the PTC today, hence the scores are going up on Global.

Hope that makes it clear for everyone!!

Anonymous said...

who's this jack trump playing on the global scoresheet?

Anonymous said...

@7:59 PM

I don't think it wasn't just a snooker match like many others. I mean to McGill it must have been a bit more than just snooker. Hendry the legend, his hero.... Regardless of Hendry's current form, beating him will always be tered the a big deal. Just picture the lad in the cubicle, close to the man who's entered that small space 'dressed' in his fame and glory. 'Past glory' you might reply. True - in a way! - but the thing is his opponents can never forget about it.

Anonymous said...

PS Of course - no matter how tempting that may seem to some fan girls -, I didn't mean that glory was all he came dressed in!!... lol

Janie Watkins said...

"Senior moment"!!! It's late and I was trying to eat a curry at the same time! Judd's girlfriend sent him a text to say he'd morphed into his brother!!
Actually Jack, who was a very good junior player has now turned his sporting talents to golf and he's down to a 2 handicap - awesome.

Janie Watkins said...

Ant's has just read these comments and is laughing his head off - I said he should become the founder member of the "preservations of wasps" society!

Anonymous said...

the precipise of a snooker career hangs in the balance at Sheffield this week for Hendry and his ilk.

Anonymous said...

global have gone asleep again. maybe they should change theyre sub heading from 14-16 aug to just 14th aug.

Janie Watkins said...

global is NOT asleep - but BT is - we keep losing the internet here.

Graeme Dott failed on 104 trying for a maximum today.

He told me he ran out of position and missed the next red

CHRISK5 said...

I am sure Jamie B is over the moon
that Ronnie has achieved the milestone of 600 career centuries.

It's about the only career stat
of Ronnie's in which he hasn't
'underachieved' for his incredible talent.

jamie brannon said...

Well I didn't witness it live so I am a bit miffed about that, but still pleased for the game's greatest ever breakbuilder.

I still think he will surpass Hendry in this area. I would be worried if I was a Hendry fan, I think the new ranking system will expose his decline more than the old one managed to do.

Anonymous said...

Why are you pleased for Hendry?

He lost 4-0

Anonymous said...

Jamie - out of interest how old were you when Hendry made seven centuries in the 1994 UK final?

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Hello Dave
Thanks for the posts lad and thanks again for the “Dave Dem” freedom of speech policy I keep wondering how far the arm can be twisted.

It s great Dave to see the big boys being knocked off there perch but sad to hear the crowing. Master McGill is entitled to his moment of fame, but accidents do happen and this mishap of Mr Hendry should be remembered like “A lucky day” and like all “Slight Accidents” soon forgotten.

The youngsters ability is not in doubt Dave but will his current “Technique” last the pace or is the youngster playing on a “Technique” that’s only “Good Habits” similar to good form.

As you know Dave “Form” is an impostor! It cannot be recalled or practiced; it’s like luck it comes and goes and no substitute for a familiar branch of “Snooker Technique”. Mr Hey You

Betty Logan said...

The ranking system hasn't fundamentally changed, it just gets updated more often. Since Hendry was never out of the top 16 provisionally since getting there then it's a misconception that he would have plummeted down the rankings under the new system. All it means now if Hendry finds himself outside of the provisional top 16, he will drop out mid-season instead of the end, so costing him a few months at most.

Anonymous said...

theres one for snookerbocker. what price hendry wont be at the crucible this year.

CHRISK5 said...

Jamie - tough call for Ronnie to
top the alltime century makers list

O'Sullivan would have to play to
a high standard for another
5-6 years at least & also hope that
Hendry either drifts further into
the abyss or retires.

Even when Hendry has a so-called
'bad season',he still somehow
makes 10 or 15 centuries anyway.

If Hendry carries on plugging away
it could take the 'Rocket'
8-10 years to top the century list.

Given Ronnie's lacklustre appetite
for longevity in the sport,
it's all very speculative if he
will continue to carry on playing
for another decade himself.

Anonymous said...

"Well I didn't witness it live so I am a bit miffed about that, but still pleased for the game's greatest ever breakbuilder."

As 2:07PM points out - what short memories people have or in Jamie's case he convieniently ignores the facts where his beloved is concerned.

Betty Logan said...

To be fair, O'Sullivan and Hendry are pretty much head-to-head at comparitive points of their careers. Hendry fans will recall his 7 in 10 at the UK while Ronnie fans will recall his 5 in 5 at NIT. In reality, Ronnie has probably made his centuries from fewer matches (giving him a higher century rate which gives Chris' comment some credence) but Hendry played tougher tables at his peak.

jamie brannon said...

Firstly is there any evidence to suggest the tables were tougher when Hendry was in his peak?

O'Sullivan has a better percentage of making centuries, when you take into account how many years they have been pro.

Hendry is a sensational breakbuilder as that UK final showed, but that is just one game. It will be better to evaluate at the end of their careers as to who is the ultimate breakbuilder.

Anonymous said...

I notice you didn't answer how old you were. As for 'just a match' it wasn't: it was the final of the second biggest tournament in the game, not some first rounder on a wet Wednesday afternoon.

As you won't remember that period because you are too young to, I can help you out: the cloths were heavier and the balls therefore didn't split as easily.

What was it Oscar Wilde said, 'I'm not young enough to know everything'

jamie brannon said...

If Dave tells me the tables were more difficult then I will believe it but not off just a random poster. Ronnie has produced plenty of displays of breakbuilding to rival Hendry, but overall I maintain he has the slight edge.

Just because he has more doesn't always make someone better, it has to be looked at in the right context.

After all, Don Bradman is generally considered the greatest batsman of all-time, but he didn't compile the most test runs.

Dave H said...

The cloths were slower but Ronnie could probably make a century on your front lawn so I don't see it makes that much of a difference.

I also don't see the point of arguing which of the two is a better breakbuilder.

Ronnie obviously does it with greater style and with both hands; Hendry at his peak I would back above anyone else to win a decider with a big break.

Can't you just admire them both?

Anonymous said...

Dave - Is it just £10,000 to the winner and nothing to anyone else?

Dave H said...

No there's prize money down to the last 64

jamie brannon said...

Whats the point you ask, well not a lot but you could say that about all the discussions on here, it is only a bit of fun.

I never once said I didn't admire Hendry, who is a total legend, I just think Ronnie is the greatest breakbuilder it is a question that TV pundits could be quite easily asked, so I don't see it as being stupid to discuss it.

Dave H said...

I didn't say it was stupid. And it's not fun when it becomes one group of people insulting O'Sullivan and another group insulting Hendry, which is normally how these things end up.

jamie brannon said...

I have to agree that is a shame, but I never insulted Hendry myself, as I am here for considered discussion.

It should be fun though is what I meant.

Also, I doubt they read the blog and even if they did they would probably would chuckle at what in some cases is no more than toilet grafitti!!

I wish people would realise then when I say I rate someone more than the other, it doesn't mean I think the other guy is awful, there is room for more than one great breakbuilder after all.

kildare cueman said...

Jamie, I can see where you are coming from but its all down to terminology.

What characterises great breakbuilding? Is the number of centuries or the way you make them?

I've been gobsmacked on many occasions by the brilliance of both Hendry and O'Sullivan.

In my humble opinion, as a failed player but avid watcher, I believe O'Sullivan is more skilful than Hendry with positional play, touch, cannons and judgement of pace.

I believe Hendry to be the best CONSISTENT potter of all time. He didn't need the close control of O'Sullivan. He only needed to see the ball and he'd knock it in.

We're comparing different styles here. They're both the best at their own particular strengths, but call a spade a spade lad. Hendry had more strengths than anyone else in the game.

jamie brannon said...

There are many things to consider when evaluating greatness. The most important thing generally is acheivement, but the context of that succcess has to be looked at too.

For example, Joe Davis won more World titles than Stephen Hendry. However, it has to be remembered that Hendry was competing in a properly structured sport, as Davis was sometimes playing just one match to clinch the title.

With centuries, my most important yardstick is working out the percentage of centuries made per year of their professional career. I feel this reflects quality as well as quantity. However, other factors like skill, speed of thought, playing under pressure and a few other facets of the art need to be considered. Overall I consider Ronnie to be marginally ahead in the majority of these categories.

I see there is qualifying for the World Open, I was under the initial impression that it was to be a 128 player field from the televised stages. I liked the idea of this as it would give new faces and some past stars a bit of exposure. Will the final field be just 32 again?

Executor said...

During a live coverage of a tournament I don't recall anymore (year or two ago), on Czech Eurosport, the commentator said that a certain snooker EXPERT (whose name I do not recall, either) has been asked following question:

If Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan met in a game and each of them had been at his absolutely best, who would win?

His answer was Ronnie O'Sullivan, but added that if Ronnie made only one single mistake during such game, Hendry would have won.

I would say this pretty much sums up the conversation above.

PS: On the other hand, in another TV coverage another two years ago, during a match between Andrew Higginson and John Higgins at Malta Cup (or at least I think it was Malta), that same commentator expressed a thought (don't know if his own or someone else's again) that if a snooker player could have been forged together out of O'Sullivan and John Higgins, such player would be unbeatable. Interesting, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Its funny how "whos the best" discussions always weigh heavily in favour of todays player.

The discussion should be "whos the third greatest", O'Sullivan, Higgins or Williams.

Davis is second best with Hendry the clear winner.