The 2021 British Open starts tomorrow and the rig is underway in Leicester.
Interlude etymologically means “between games”, hence the title of this post.
As there was no play yesterday, I listened to some recent podcasts by David Hendon and he discusses some interesting topics indeed.
In episode 165
David Hendon explains how WST “nicked” Michael McMullan for their own podcast, leaving him alone behind the mike. David is quite bitter about it and I can understand why. David has been working for Snooker Scene for years. He had a blog well before WST got any interest in social media, some 15 years ago, he has this postcast that is now up to episode 167, he’s a ES commentator. He has done A LOT for the promotion of snooker over the years. The minimum WST should have done is to discuss the situation with both David and Michael, rather than brutally disrupt an activity that, for many years, has brought a lot to the sport, and indirectly to them as well.
David also comes to the defence of Ronnie after receiving a scathing email from a fan. Basically what David says is that Ronnie is fundamentally a good person, suffering from serious mental health issues. In particular he is prone to violent mood swings over which he has little to no control. David mentions that this was the case again on the day he played in the CLS: he started the day in a positive mindset, looking forward to his match, but things changed in the four hours he had to wait before his second match. By that time Ronnie was really struggling but still managed to win his group. David admits that Ronnie can be difficult at times, but that actually things are even more difficult for him and that, in that light, what he has achieved and brought to his sport over nearly 30 years is truly remarkable. I can only agree. I have seen it close up. I have seen Ronnie being physically sick with anxiety before a match, I have seen him sobbing uncontrolably after a match he had actually won because ‘he had let the fans down” (he hadn’t played well for the first two frames… ). I have seen him “frozen” in depression in the players room, staring in the void, not moving, not talking for hours.
Finally David explains why, in his opinion, the British Open format is what it is, but he also says that it shouldn’t be named “the British Open” as it has nothing to do with the prestigious past tournament.
I haven’t finished listening to episode 167 yet but there is an interesting and slightly disturbing topic in that one. In this post WST claims that Jamie O’Neill has withdrawn from the British Open and has been replaced by Dylan Emery. This is actually not true. Jamie O’Neill has been suspended and therefore can’t play in the event. He hasn’t withdrawn, he’s been prevented to play. The reasons for his suspension are not clear. WST has said nothing either about the suspension or about the reasons for it. Those who are aware of Jamie’s social media, might have ideas about those reasons, but it’s just speculations. That the governing body is lying about a player’s situation is worrying. It won’t help fans (and players) to trust them. Already doubts have been cast about some of the recent draws outcomes… this is not going to help! Now, if the “speculations” are correct, this is indeed a very delicate situation and WST might be reluctant to explain its reasons, not because they are wrong – quite the opposite – but because of the very emotionally loaded context behind these reasons.