Yesterday’s annoucements were received favourably by players and fans alike. The return of best of 19 at the World Championship qualifiers was unanimously applauded.
The fact that first round losers still get nothing though was a disappointment for many.
The gouverning body explained their decision in this interview with Phil Haigh:
On the changes to the prize money structure and the lack of funds for first round losers, a WST spokesperson said: ‘We have made prize money increases to various events and we have made amendments which are aimed at creating a more balanced prize money ranking system. These changes are based on discussions and feedback from players and the WPBSA Players Board.
‘Our two biggest ranking events, the World Championship and UK Championship, now have tiered structures and all players inside the top 80 are guaranteed prize money in those events.
‘Our principal remains that we reward excellence and in most events players must win matches to earn prize money.
‘We are constantly aiming to provide as many tournaments and earning opportunities as possible for all players.’
I do understand and agree with the concept of rewarding excellence but not THIS way. If players do their job properly they should be able to earn from it whilst they are on the tour.
I’d rather look for a way to ensure that players who are underperforming badly can’t return on tour every two years mainly because they have experience with the surroundings and playing conditions whilst more talented/motivated amateurs fail purely because they are placed in a completely alien environment and, with short matches and a plain knock-out system, they get no real chance to adapt.
If a player can’t win a minimal number of matches – minimal to de defined – over two seasons, and have shown no or very little improvement in the second season, then, barring exceptional health or personnal circumstances, it means that either they aren’t good enough, and/or they didn’t put enough work and efforts into their snooker. I would be in favour to “ban” them from Q-school – or any other qualifying process – for two seasons. Time for them to reflect on their own situation and motivation. Time to look at the possible issues and address them.
Predictably, Hearn came back again with the “golf” comparison. Only to get this answer by Steve Feeney, Mr Sightright, who coaches snooker and golf players.
Hearn once scorned at me for saying that the comparison doesn’t hold. Well, it really doesn’t hold. In golf, you play your own ball. Where you find it is where you placed it, There is no interference from your opponent(s). It’s entirely in your hands. Same for darts, it’s entirely in your hands. That’s not the case in snooker. As Steve wrote, in snooker you can play great and lose, snooker is matchplay, it’s different.
Mark Williams also reacted in answer to Sean O’Sullivan’s tweets
It’s obvious that Willo harbours no hope whatsoever for a change regarding the prize money situation despite being convinced that no player would oppose it. The tiered system somehow “softens” the situation a bit as less players stay out of pocket and the lowest ranked ones get more winnable first round matches. But it has other drawbacks of course, notably in terms of exposure, television appearance and experience of the main venues. Exposure and television appearance or the lack of it impact their chances to find a personal sponsor as well.