Snooker News and Talking Points – 10 September 2022

WST has published the draw and format for the 2022 Hong Kong Masters

Here is the announcement:

Hong Kong Masters Draw And Format

The draw and format for next month’s Hong Kong Masters is now available.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

Six of snooker’s greatest players – as well as the two local favourites – will compete. World Snooker Tour and Hong Kong Billiard Sports Control Council (HKBSCC) recently announced that the tournament would be staged for the first time since 2017 and would be held at the Hong Kong Coliseum venue for four days from October 6th to 9th.

Tickets are on sale now and certain ticket types have already sold out. For details follow the official website of the tournament:

Prize money:

Winner: £100,000
Runner-up: £45,000
Semi-finals: £35,000
Quarter-finals: £22,500
High break: £10,000

This tournament is under exclusive sponsorship of The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC), as one of the many initiatives supported by the HKJC’s approved donation of HK$630 million to the Government of the HKSAR to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR. The Hong Kong Jockey Club is resolute in pursuing its purpose of acting continuously for the betterment of society, all in support of creating stronger communities together.

Talking point: the guaranteed £20000 prize money

Although generally well received, that initiative by WPBSA/WST has triggered some discussions.

David Caulfield (SnookerHQ) has been listening to the players reactions and analysed the pro and cons. You can read his article here.

He mentions an important element I was not aware of:

An important stipulation is in place that requires participation in every ranking event of the 2022/23 campaign, barring exceptional circumstances.

The possible pitfalls mentioned by Mark Allen and David are indeed potentially problematic. Of course players enter the tour with ambitions to succeed as professionals and, in this respect, prize money duly earned by winning matches will remain all important when it comes to ranking and tour survival. With this in mind they should have all the needed motivation to try and win. But what about a player in their second year of their tour card who knows that, realistically, they have no chance whatsoever to finish the season in the top 64 or to qualify for the Crucible. Then it could be tempting to just let go… or worse.

The simple truth though is that WST probably can’t afford the cost of the initiative plus giving away the full prize money on top of it.

My view on this is simple: there should be a “success threshold”: barring exceptional circumstances, players over 20 who haven’t won at least x matches – x to be defined – over their 2 years spell should NOT be allowed to enter the Q-School for the next two years. I know that this will be controversial BUT consider the following: why do we see so few rookies coming out of Q-School? For me an important factor is that players who just dropped off the tour are used to the conditions and environment and that’s a massive advantage. The “just let go factor” could be minimised if players know that they may not get the opportunity to immediately re-qualify unless they continue to try their best.

There is also the issue of the invitational tour cards, the women’s “development” tour cards, and to an extend the regional nominations.

There have been numerous fans on social media citing Jimmy White and Reanne Evans as players who might stay on tour for a long time without needing to go through the regular qualifying process and might therefore benefit from the initiative for many years without actually ever reaching the required level of excellence.

Regarding Jimmy, my views are simple: he tries very hard, at 60 he still wins a few AND he still puts bums on seats. Jimmy still has high commercial pulling power, the fans love him. Giving Jimmy a tour card still is a valuable commercial investment.

Regarding Reanne, people assume that she will stay at the top of the women’s game for many more years. I’m not that sure. Time will tell. If the women’s tour manages to expand and attract more girls – from Asia in particular – things could change rapidly.

3 thoughts on “Snooker News and Talking Points – 10 September 2022

  1. I guess I would give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that they did not learn, practice, invested in snooker and get to the level that they made it to the tour only to collect the 20000 a year and not make an effort. At the same time we heard so much about new pros struggling on the tour and being out of pocket, so I certainly think it is a very welcome initiative and maybe after a year there will be some experience to see the actual pitfalls and finetune. Mark Allen basically says that winning should be on top of the 20000, nit deducted from it, and I agree, it’s just a question if it is affordable.

    Well, Jimmy is Jimmy and he is 60 and won’t play forever, but this might of course lead to a rethinking of the whole wildcard system. As to the women: I might be inclined to take Christian’s view that Reanne Evans’ presence on the tour is regarded as a reward for all her efforts on and for the women’s tour. It would be wrong to single her out and use it to blast the whole idea. (Tongue in cheek remark: brace yourself for the uproar when Jamie Hunter makes it it the tout dur to some high rank on the women’s tour and starts earning 20000.)

  2. Monique I Follow the woman tour very closely and take an interest i honestly cant see Reanne Evans droping down to 5th or 6th Woman player in the Next 10 maybe even 15 years unless she calls it quit and with £20,000 for her every year thats not going to happen is it.

    • Not sure about that. Reanne is 36. Since 2016 she has won only one World title. She has been beaten regularly by Mink and On Yee. Recently by Bex Kenna too. There is at least one more talented Thai emerging: Ploy. She’s younger than Mink and she has potential. There is Jamie Hunter too who is very, very dedicated and in her mid-twenties.

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