Hercule Poirot, that meddling Belgian who sent many a murderer down despite having no actual jurisdiction in law, takes his final bow on British television tonight.

It’s apt in a way because the next event, in Belgium this week, will, like all Poirot stories, come down to a dozen or so usual suspects, all with a good claim, the eventual champion to be revealed in the final reel.

It’s noticeable how few surprise winners of Players Tour Championship events there have been, particularly since they started to be televised.

The cream has risen to the top time and time again because though prize money and ranking points are lower than in the bigger events, it’s the same difficult game with the same pressures.

What the PTCs have done, though, is given less experienced players invaluable table time against the world’s best and also imbued many with confidence to take into bigger tournaments.

Hence, Robbie Williams, a second season professional, reached the semi-finals of the European Tour event in Mulheim then went to Delhi and got to the same stage of the new Indian Open.

The PTCs have also given some lesser lights TV exposure and introduced audiences to different faces.

The Antwerp event was won last year by Mark Allen, who has just captured the last two European Tour titles this season, in Germany and Gloucester.

He was absolutely right to point out that he has interrupted Ding’s run, which encompassed the Shanghai, Indian and International titles. However, this does not detract from Ding’s three in a row achievement.

World ranking events have traditionally been solely professional tournaments. On occasion they have included amateurs, as when the World Championship was open, but were still strictly seeded according to the world rankings. The PTCs are pro-ams, open to everyone and anyone, with ranking points attached.

For statistical purposes, therefore, they are classed as ‘minor’ ranking titles, in the same way that similar events in the mid 1990s were.

This does not diminish the worth of winning one. They are tough slogs, with seven match wins required over a two-day period.

By my reckoning there have been 46 PTC events staged in the UK, Europe and Asia since 2010 with 25 different winners.

In Antwerp, Ding, Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins, Allen, Shaun Murphy, Judd Trump and Mark Selby are among the leading title contenders.

TV coverage starts live on Friday on Eurosport2 at 8.30 GMT.

In the meantime, here is a list of PTC winners, by titles:

Judd Trump, Mark Selby

John Higgins, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson, Mark Allen

Stuart Bingham, Stephen Maguire, Michael Holt, Tom Ford, Stephen Lee, Mark Williams, Ding Junhui

Rod Lawler, Martin Gould, Barry Pinches, Shaun Murphy, Dominic Dale, Marcus Campbell, Ben Woollaston, Andrew Higginson, Joe Perry, Ricky Walden, Ju Reti, Liang Wenbo


Ray147 said...

Morning Dave,
Any info. on what the prize money breakdown is for the Antwerp Open? I'm particularly interested in the earlier rounds. Thanks

idlewild_blue said...


Slightly off topic but what decides what events are ranking, and what events are invitational? For example why the 2011 Wuxi Classic was invitation only and the 2012 event was ranking. And is it true that that world ranking events cost at least £500,000 to stage?


Dave H said...

You can see the prize money here: http://www.worldsnooker.com/page/NewsArticles/0,,13165~3194469,00.html

Traditionally most ranking events have started as invitation events with small fields and then grown, as with the Wuxi Classic. Invitation events are good for testing the water in places with an interest in snooker.

They are costly to stage when you factor in prize money, venue hire and personnel.