Amongst the frantic PTC action from Sheffield today, World Snooker have also found time to release the players pack and full drawsheet for the inaugural Australian Goldfields Open. Amongst that information there is also news on why the tour will contain 99 players, as well as confirmation of the ranking points tariffs…
Australian Open 2011 Draw Released
A full qualifying preview of the tournament will follow towards the end of this week once the PTC has come to a conclusion.
Note however that both Igor Figueiredo and Marco Fu are absent from the draw, moving Matt Couch, Joe Jogia and Robert Milkins up a tier.
No Place for Muldoon
Following victory for Daniel Wells at the EBSA European Championships in Sofia last week, many were left wondering just what would happen to the final main tour place up for grabs for 2011/12 given the fact that Daniel had already qualified having received the Welsh nomination. Would it go to runner-up Vinnie Muldoon or would World Snooker award it to one of the players who came close to making it via the Q School Chen Zhe, Kyren Wilson or Allan Taylor perhaps?
As it turns out, they have decided that nobody will receive the place and having already awarded four wildcards in addition to the planned 96 players, instead the tour will house 99 players for the 2011/12 campaign.
Is this the right decision? To be honest I think that the whole allocation of tour places and the way that the information is released needs to be looked at during future seasons as whether it is the case or not, from the outside it almost appears as though the powers that be are making it up as they go along.
The annual guessing game to work out who will be on tour, followed by the decision to hand out four wildcards before now settling on 99 is confusing for both players and fans alike. Ideally it would be good to see a situation where the players know well in advance just what is up for grabs and where event winners such as Wells have already earned a place on the tour, there is a clear second choice that is known in advance.
As the new calendar becomes more established and the transitional period that the game is currently going through progress, hopefully this is something that can be improved.
Tour Points Structure
As well as publishing the draw for Australia, World Snooker also confirmed the tour points structure for the new season which you can find as the last page on this pdf document.
In short, it’s exactly the same as last year, with the new Australian event running on the same tariff as the Welsh Open and German Masters tournaments and the World Open for now, absent.
What I still remain unsure about is how starter points will be awarded for the 2010/11 season because as explained previously, the tour schedule states:
“Players who have joined The Tour commencing the 2011/2012 season will receive starter points equivalent to points earned in the 2010/2011 season by the lowest ranked player retaining a place on the 2011/2012 Tour, and starter points equivalent to the 8th player who qualified from the 1 year list in respect of the 2009/2010 season. Players on The Tour who have earned points in the 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 seasons will retain the points earned and will not be allocated any other points (even if they are less than the starter points allocated).”
The bolded part being the operative passage for me because what I am not sure is whether or not players who survived on the tour via the Q School will be treated as having retained or regained a place on the tour.
If they are treated as having retained a place on the tour then tour newcomers this season will receive the 5,755 points earned by Q School survivor Adam Wicheard.
If they are treated as having regained their places, newcomers will receive the 8,325 earned by Igor Figueiredo, quite a difference. I may well be reading too much into this and the answer may be obvious, but it just lacks clarity to me.
The other issue preventing me from really pushing my projected seedings list with confidence at the moment is that when the points from the 2009 Grand Prix will be removed has yet to be confirmed. With that tournament running between the 3rd-11th October a couple of years ago and the first cut-off point this season being on the 3rd October 2011, it comes right on the borderline.
We shall see.