Rankings, Cut-Offs and Matters Arising

As scary as it might seem, we are now little more than two weeks away from the start of the new season with the Wuxi Classic qualifiers due to start on the 5th June 2012. Furthermore, it is evident both on Twitter and in the comments section of this blog, there are a number of questions being asked, few of which appear to have answers at this stage. Click below for a round-up the matters that are currently subject to much debate…

Central to all discussion is of course the race to decide exactly who the 99 main tour players will be for 2012/13, a race that you can follow over at my roll call page here, which is regularly updated as and when more information becomes clear.

The one question that I am being continually asked however is what exactly will the effect of Stephen Hendry’s retirement from the sport, be upon this particular battle? In short, I don’t know and aside from the powers that be at World Snooker, I’m not sure that anybody does at this stage.

If I were to speculate, it would strike me that there are the following possibilities:

  • Given that Stephen Hendry has not yet resigned his tour membership (note that Ian McCulloch for example has already done so), could Hendry yet take one of the top 64 spots, meaning that while he has no intention of entering another tournament, until the points are deducted from his ranking, he could do so if he wishes? In practice, this would serve to reduce the tour to 98 players, though under new rules, any tournaments short of entries will now be topped up via a Q School Order of Merit.
  • If Hendry is to be discounted, that could see Tony Drago elevated to 64th place, thus opening up the second European nomination again. Interestingly, if this were to happen then Tony would only receive a one-year tour card, rather than the two given by the European nomination.
  • Alternatively, Drago could retain the European nomination already allocated to him, potentially opening the door for the next player on the two-year list. Even this would not be clear cut however as 66th placed Liam Highfield has already qualified via the PTC list, while 67th placed Liu Song has already resigned his professional membership.

I am however purely guessing, and until any form of clarification is received by World Snooker, we can only speculate as to how they will handle this.

Elsewhere, it had been expected that Alex Pagulayan would take the Americas nomination for next season, however it has since been revealed that he has declined to take up that offer. Other spots that are unclear include the Oceania nomination (Ben Judge has been suggested), as well as the Thai nomination.

The other matter that I am taking a number of questions on at present is when will I have the new projected seedings list up for the start of next season. Again, the short answer is that not yet, as it is difficult to do so without an official points tariff for next season, while it is also unclear as to exactly which points will be deducted at the first cut-off point.

Again if I were to speculate, it would be that the Wuxi Classic will be a ‘7,000 pointer’ in line with other Chinese tournaments, while Australia would again carry 5,000 to the winner. As for which events from 2010 will be deducted, if points are to be deducted strictly two years after they were earned, this would cover just the first three PTC events of that year, won by Mark Williams, Mark Selby and Tom Ford respectively before the first cut-off on 12th August.

Finally, there is of course the matter of starter points to be confirmed for newcomers to the tour, which if the same logic as applied this season as a year ago, would be the 4.645 earned by Simon Bedford last season. This is because last season, starter points were allocated as follows:

“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”

Last season that figure was the 8,325 earned by Igor Figueiredo, itself a relatively low figure, but due to Simon’s decision not to enter any event after PTC11, his tally for 2011/12 is barely half this. If this figure is to be used then it would make it almost impossible for any tour newcomer to break into the world’s top 64 any time soon.

Will there be another solution?

UPDATE: Having posted this, it seems that from tweets from the players, next season there will be no starter points used at all, with players having to catch up throughout their first season. Even more interesting is the fact that it appears that in fact everyone outside of the top 64 will start on zero points, seemingly making it almost impossible for anyone outside of the top 64 to move up into that bracket until the end of the 2013/14 season…

Is this the right way to do it?

As this is just speculation however, for fear of misleading people I will await further clarification before posting a potential list, but rest assured, as soon as I know more, a list will be up!

In the meantime, you can continue to see who the next four players to be confirmed on the tour in 2012/13 will be by clicking here to follow Q School Event Two.