Selby’s run as top dog started at the 2015 German Masters, 49 months ago, but he has now dropped to second place. In the past four months, O’Sullivan has won the Betway UK Championship, Coral Players Championship and Coral Tour Championship, banking £445,000 from those three events to take him to number one. The Rocket is top of the rankings for the fourth time in his career and first since 2010.
He becomes the inaugural winner of the Coral Cup, having earned £280,000 from the three Coral Series events.
O’Sullivan has earned £904,500 this season, his own personal best, and is well placed to become the first player to win over £1 million in a single campaign. He is not playing in next week’s XingPai China Open, but a run to the semi-finals of the Betfred World Championship would earn him £100,000 and take him into seven figures. With a top prize of £500,000 available at the Crucible, he could end the season with over £1,400,000.
Selby would have to win the title in China next week to regain top spot.
Neil Robertson was runner-up at the Coral Tour Championship and his £60,000 moves him one place up the official list to seventh.
The XingPai China Open, which runs from April 1 to 7, is the final event in the Race to the Crucible. The top 16 will then be handed a place at Sheffield’s Theatre of Dreams, while all other players will need to win three matches at the Betfred World Championship qualifiers.
David Gilbert occupies 16th place in the race with £300,000 and a lead of £15,000 over Ryan Day in 17th. Day needs to reach the quarter-finals in Beijing, worth £27,000, to have a chance of leap-frogging Gilbert.
With big money available in China, anyone in the field down to Xiao Guodong in 23rd has a chance of getting into the top 16 by reaching the final and earning £90,000, while anyone down to Dominic Dale in 66th could jump into the elite by winning the £225,000 top prize.
By winning in Beijing, Mark Williams could also get past Ronnie and go to the Crucible as World n°1 AND World Champion. That however would not impact the Crucible seedings as he is guaranteed to be seed n°1 being the defending champion..
Whatever happens in Beijing those three will be the top three seeds at the World Championship next months. Nobody can catch them. Ronnie and Mark Selby could swap places, should Mark win the title in Beijing.
Currently the Crucible seeding looks like this:
Mark Williams (1)
David Gilbert (16)
Barry Hawkins (9)
Kyren Wilson (8)
Mark Allen (5)
Stuart Bingham (12)
Stephen Maguire (13)
John Higgins (4)
Mark Selby (3)
Luca Brecel (14)
Shaun Murphy (11)
Judd Trump (6)
Neil Robertson (7)
Ding Junhui (10)
Jack Lisowski (15)
Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)
John Higgins can only be caught by Mark Allen, who needs the final to do so, and Judd Trump who needs the title.
Further down there can still be a number of permutations. Theoretically all player from Dominic Dale and above could still catch David Gilbert for a seeded spot at the World Championship, provided they qualified of course, and if Gilbert loses his first match in Beijing. In fact only the current top eight are safe from being caught by someone currently out of the top 16.
As it stands, Ronnie could possibly face Neil Robertson again over 25 frames, should they both reach the QF stage.