Ronnie will defend his English Open title

This was published by Worldsnooker on October 4

Ronnie O’Sullivan will compete in a ranking event for the first time this season at the English Open in Crawley later this month.

The Rocket will take to the stage on the opening day of the tournament at K2 Crawley at 1pm on Monday October 15.

O’Sullivan won the title in Barnsley last season, thrashing Kyren Wilson 9-2 in the final with an astonishing 98% pot success rate.

Matches for the top eight seeds in Crawley have already been scheduled as follows:

Monday October 15
Ronnie O’Sullivan v opponent
Mark Williams v opponent

Not before 7pm
Mark Selby v opponent
Shaun Murphy v opponent

Tuesday October 16
John Higgins v opponent
Kyren Wilson v opponent

Not before 7pm
Judd Trump v opponent
Barry Hawkins v opponent

The world ranking event runs from October 15 to 21, with 128 of the world’s leading players competing for the Steve Davis Trophy and a top prize of £70,000. The full draw and format will be released early next week.

Televised by Eurosport and Quest, it is the first of the season’s Home Nations series, to be followed by tournaments in Belfast, Glasgow and Cardiff. Any player winning all four trophies will bank a massive £1 million bonus.


So, this is good news!

Meanwhile it seems that Ronnie has been doing some filming in Ireland (no clue what this is about BTW) and being his naughty self on twitter.

He’s once again hit at the system and having to play qualifiers against low ranked players.

Here are some quotes:

Do people really wanna watch poor players playing good players week in week out? It’s now getting to the point where the only time it’s worth watching the snooker is when it’s gets to qtr finals, and even then you’re getting average players creeping through to the latter stages

I find it hard to watch these events now, poor venues and poor snooker, and with no top players playing I find it hard to get excited about watching these types of events

It’s not how they improve, only 1 player has come through the new system. Wilson. Which he would have done with any system, the lower ranked players should have to earn there right to play the top guys, like the old system. The top players having to qualify is ridiculous

t’s not how I want it, it’s what is right for the bigger picture, top players are wasting on average 60 days ayear having to play qualifying match’s on a Tour that is already overloaded with travelling

Absolutely spot on, and kinda de motivating for some of the top players, one top pro, who I shall not mention, who has standards, called it degrading

Know that feeling. But it’s hard to know when the good week is gonna come? maybe the answer is that everyone’s best 10 performances count towards your ranking points, that way it doesn’t reward play in everything to gather points. Bit like Wozniak done in tennis to become no 1

You get the idea. And of course it sparked outrage, poeple calling it disrespectful to his fellow pros.

Well, of course, he’s not being nice, but the fact is that basically he IS right. The current system does NOT work. The only very young players coming through are from China, when they have a whole system supporting their development.

In the UK and Europe that’s gone. The PTCs and the very full calendar have basically killed the pro-am tour that was the incubator that produced talents like the Ebdon, Doherty, Class of 92 and then Dott, Stevens, Murphy, Paul Hunter and more.  Now the young players are thrown into the main tour pretty unprepared, they are pitted against top 64 players most of the time, and lose most of the time as well. They earn no money. They are under huge pressure financially and accumulate scars. And eventually, they lose faith in themselves, get anxious and depressed. Is that good for the sport?

And is it right that players like Ronnie, Higgins, Williams, after 26+ years of career, still going strong – they are all in the top 4 – winning half of the ranking events last season between them, have to go to qualifying events, in poor venues, in front of nearly nobody?  What other sport does that to its flag bearers? And who enjoys seeing a bored/demotivated top player going through the motions against a debutant? Nobody enjoys a total mismatch.

To me a tiered system would allow players to develop progressively.

I expressed these views on twitter (in a shorter format), and got a reply by Barry Pinches – who I quite like – that the tiered system was terribly unfair.

Why Barry? Because it protected top players? Yes, it did, but actually it protected everyone. The lower ranked players were given better opportunities to play winnable matches against opponents roughly the same strength as them, to learn and to earn some money in the process. They had to win more matches to get to the venues, true, but they also got to play more matches, hence getting more opportunities to improve. What good does someone like Rhys Clark get out of the current system? The young lad did not win a single match last season (he had the previous season) and only earned a bit this season because Mark Williams withdrew from the Riga Masters.

As for the “being nice” bit, no it’s not nice, but Ronnie doesn’t know the guys personally, therefore they should not take it personally. And if they have any fight in them such comment should spark a “Wait! I’ll show you!” reaction, not the PC all-round whining.

Right… end of rant!


One thought on “Ronnie will defend his English Open title

  1. I’ve been thinking about writing a letter to Barry Hearn, though I have no idea how to send it to him.

    I would like to point out to Barry that:

    (1) the greatest/most exciting/most popular/most genius snooker player of all time is nearing the end of his career and (probably) has no more than a handful of years left at the top of his game.

    (2) World Snooker needs Ronnie more than Ronnie needs snooker. While Snooker technically doesn’t NEED Ronnie, it’s certainly much better off with him than without him, which is something I’m sure Barry understands very well. As for Ronnie, he can take or leave Snooker events, and he is only going to choose to take it if the conditions are to his liking. If he doesn’t like the conditions, he won’t play. It’s that simple.

    (3) Barry has much of the power to determine whether or not Ronnie will play, because Barry has much of the power to determine the conditions. As long as Barry continues to require top players like Ronnie to qualify against Numpties, Ronnie will choose not to play. When Ronnie doesn’t play, everyone (except Ronnie’s potential opponents) loses out. The fans lose out because they don’t get to watch Ronnie play, the sponsors lose out because the events generate less attention, and perhaps most relevant to Barry, World Snooker loses out because the events generate less revenue and “buzz”. Much of the attention in the press focuses on the fact that Ronnie skipped an event, rather than on the players that are actually playing in it, which highlights just how important Ronnie is to the game.

    I know that Barry doesn’t like the idea that any one player is bigger than snooker, and I know that Barry doesn’t like the idea of giving some players favorable treatment over others. Barry also doesn’t like the idea of being bossed around by one or more of the players. But the fact is that, for many fans, Ronnie IS snooker. If Ronnie plays, those fans will watch; if Ronnie doesn’t play, those fans won’t watch. Whether Barry likes it or not, that’s a fact.

    We are getting ever closer to the day when Ronnie hangs up his cue forever, and that’s a day that at least 99% of snooker fans are dreading. Barry Hearn has the power to decide whether Ronnie spends the last years of his career playing a moderately full schedule of events, or whether Ronnie spends those last years only playing once a month at the most. It’s clearly in just about everyone’s best interest for Barry to do what he needs to do to make Ronnie want to play as much as possible. History will not look back favorably on Barry if he is responsible for Ronnie hanging up his cue much earlier and much more often than he otherwise should have based on his remaining talent level and competitiveness…

    As for the European Masters semi-finals, I guess the Class of 91 (King, Perry, Hamilton) was getting tired of hearing about its younger brother all the time…

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