It all started with this …
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
Which didn’t go down well with Kyren Wilson
The “couldn’t be bothered” part wasn’t exactly well received, and Kyren BTW later admitted that the wording wasn’t the best
And it’s going on…
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.