Rififi in the balls …

It all started with this …

PHC - PTC rififi

Indeed the Paul Hunter Classic is now a full ranking event, despite having the exact same format as the PTCs, and no more prize money. This year it had a particularly depleted field too. Barry Hearn’s idea was probably that giving it full ranking status would help the event to “grow” , but this hasn’t happened, on the contrary as it used to be on television but no more so now. I have already given my views on why this happened.

it prompted this from Barry Hawkins

PHC - PTC rififi

Which didn’t go down well with Kyren Wilson

PHC - PTC rififi

The “couldn’t be bothered” part wasn’t exactly well received, and Kyren BTW later admitted that the wording wasn’t the best

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PHC - PTC rififi

And it’s going on…

PHC - PTC rififi

Now I very much doubt that Barry Hearn will change his mind, he very seldom does, and IMO in this case he shouldn’t. Everyone knew that it was a full ranking event, they also knew what the prize money was, and that it wasn’t on television and they chose not to enter. Kyren entered, won 7 matches and got the title. Fair play to him.

Of course it might not be just a case of “not being bothered”. As Barry Hawkins highlighted, this time of the year is the one when those with young families have the opportunity to spend relaxing time with their children. It’s a case of setting priorities taking possibilities into account.

When the PTCs were minor rankings, it was the same, everyone knew the status of the events they entered. Some had very competitive line-ups, other certainly didn’t, in particular those played in Asia. Some were on television, some were played behind closed doors.

You can’t change the rules and status after everything is done and dusted.

That said it’s sad that the Paul Hunter Classic has come to this, the “poorest” event in the calendar, not on television. But the name and memory of Paul should not be used to name and shame the players for not entering the event. It’s a full calendar, the structure of the tour is such that the players have a choice to manage their season and skip events if the so wish. And they are professional players, they play for a living, so pretending that money doesn’t matter is both hyppocrit and preposterous. It does matter in any line of work, sport included. It’s not all about the money, but it’s not all about the glory either. Glory doesn’t pay the bills, nor does it bring bread on the table.

And, lets not forget that the name of Paul Hunter is now on the Masters trophy. That surely is a worthy tribute to his life and achievements.

5 thoughts on “Rififi in the balls …

  1. No matter how I look at it, it is difficult not to see it as sth personal. Why did people not complain BEFORE the event? Furthermore when Michael Georgiou won the shootout and went around saying how happy he is that his hard work paid off and now he is a ranking event champion, I don’t remember others trying to put him into “his place”. Perhaps the “couldn’t be bothered” was not the most fortunate choice of wording, and just the fact that the tournament is named after someone very important for the sport is no reason to enter it or shame others for not entering, but I can imagine Wilson was angry at what he considered digs at him. It is really nonsensical to belittle someone’s victory because people who might have beaten him did not play there.

  2. He can’t change the status of past events as this would not be fair. Players at the time decided to enter them, or not, and also how they would treat them based on the events status at the time. They may have taken a different decision had this status been different. Players today KNEW that this event was ranking, they decided to enter or not, knowing that. They may not agree with the ranking status, but challenging it after the facts is useless and was always going to hurt the winner. I’m pretty certain that if Ebdon had won it, the reaction would have been different. The focus would have been on how great it is for him to win a 10th ranker at 48 (minus one day) and to have him in the CoC. But Kyren being the only top 16 player left in the draw, people seem to think he had it easy. Well, maybe, but they had the opportunity to enter and didn’t.

    • I didn’t mean that he should change the status of past events: I meant that he could change event status going forward. If the PHC is like other non-ranking events in all other important ways, then it seems to me that all of those events should either be ranking or non-ranking, rather than (seemingly arbitrarily) deciding that one or some will be ranking and the rest non-ranking. That seems to be what the players are questioning, and they seem to be leaning in the direction of making the PHC a non-ranking event rather than turning all of the other events into ranking events. (None of which is to mention the Shoot-Out…I know better than to get your started on that. 😉 )

      In some ways, Kyren was a victim of his own ranking. If Ebdon had won, he would have beaten a “top player” in Kyren Wilson, which would have given more credibility to the win than Kyren got by beating a “has been” like Ebdon. But I don’t think the other players had any beef with Kyren: they were just confused about why this event was a ranking event when other events just like it are not…

  3. It goes without saying that the proper time to discuss these issues is before the event occurs, not afterwards. By only raising concerns after the event, the person who won (in this case, Kyren Wilson) will inevitably feel unfairly attacked, even though the people raising concerns have nothing against Kyren and his victory and are speaking to a bigger issue.

    The “fault” (if that’s the correct word) clearly lies with Barry Hearn for making seemingly inconsistent decisions without explanation, and it’s good that he acknowledged as much. If he wants the PHC to be a ranking event, then it seems to me that going forward he should either make changes to it in order to distinguish it from non-ranking events or should decide that other, similar events will become ranking events too…

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