Updated Rankings Published, Unfairness to Tour Returnees?

As a few of you have noticed, World Snooker have today published the new ranking list following the first PTC event of the season, in the process confirming the starter points given to newcomers to the professional circuit…

Accordingly I have tweaked my projected seedings list somewhat, specifically in relation to players who were on tour in 2009/10 but not last season who between them have been affected in rather different ways.

Previously it has always (well, for as long as I can remember anyway), been the case that if a player is on tour for a season at the end of which they are relegated, then they re-qualify for the year after next, they have always been given a clean slate and starter points rather than those actually earned. For example under the old system, players relegated at the end of 2008/9 who then got back on the tour for 2010/11 were given starter points for both 2008/9 and 2009/10, one example being Paul Davison.

That however has now changed. Now players (bar one anomaly), who competed during 2009/10 but not 2010/11 will now receive starter points for 2010/11, but retain the points that they earned back in 2009/10.

Why should this matter? Those points are coming off this season anyway so what difference does it make?

Quite a big one actually.

The first player affected will be Sam Baird who actually earned more than the equivalent starter points during 2009/10 and having lost his first two matches of that season, he loses just 560 of his 4,710 points at the season’s first cut-off. This could benefit Sam early in the season as he is in a better position to leap up into the top 64 than he would have otherwise been.

Later in the season however those points will be coming off and with 2,910 to come off from the last two events, he could then suffer a steep drop. That said, at least he has the opportunity to progress early in the season and get some points in the bank in order to off-set this.

The same however cannot be said for Andrew Norman and Daniel Wells, two players who struggled badly during 2009/10 and now as a result start the season effectively bottom of the list, well behind the other tour newcomers this season. While they will make gains towards the end of the season, this does make it far more difficult for them to move up the ranking list during at least the first half of this campaign and surely puts them at a disadvantage to the others.

I can see the arguments both for and against in relation to this change. On the one hand the players did earn those points during 2009/10 and if the top 64 have to keep those points then why shouldn’t they? On the other however it can put players such as Andrew and Daniel at a big disadvantage early in the season and slow their progress up the rankings.

As has been pointed out in the comments section of my Projected Seedings page, there is a fourth player who this situation applies to, namely David Hogan but bizarrely he has been allocated the starter points over at World Snooker. I can only assume that this has been an error but would be interested to see if there is any other sort of explanation.