With the Welsh Open set to conclude tomorrow, we are just three tournaments away from knowing not only who the top 16 players guaranteed to appear at the Crucible Theatre for the 2014 World Championship will be, but also how those seeded players will be placed in the draw.
Click below for a look at how the draw would look if it were to be made now and what can still change between now and April…
- Click here to view the latest projected seedings list
For those not familiar with the draw structure for the World Championship, unlike most other tournaments, the top 16 seeded players at the Crucible are placed in the draw in a very specific manner.
For example, the top seed is always scheduled to meet the 16th seed in the second round, the second seed is always poised to meet the 15th seed and so on.
With the final cut-off prior to the World Championship due be after the Players Championship Grand Finals on 29th March 2014, if the draw were to be made today under the latest in-running projected seedings list, it would look like this:
Provisional 2014 World Championship Draw
Ronnie O’Sullivan (1) / Qualifier
Robert Milkins (16) / Qualifier
Stephen Maguire (9) / Qualifier
Marco Fu (8) / Qualifier
Barry Hawkins (5) / Qualifier
Mark Davis (12) / Qualifier
Ricky Walden (13) / Qualifier
Mark Selby (4) / Qualifier
Ding Junhui (3) / Qualifier
Ali Carter (14) / Qualifier
John Higgins (11) / Qualifier
Stuart Bingham (6) / Qualifier
Judd Trump (7) / Qualifier
Shaun Murphy (10) / Qualifier
Joe Perry (15) / Qualifier
Neil Robertson (2) / Qualifier
At first glance then, the draw looks to be reasonably balanced, though regular ranking event winners this season Ding Junhui and Neil Robertson can both presently be found in the bottom half.
Having lost heavily to Ronnie O’Sullivan at both the UK Championship and Masters events earlier this season, I am sure that Robert Milkins would rather be placed elsewhere in the draw, although he is of course not yet certain of his place at the Crucible, with Mark Allen and Mark Williams hot on his heels in the race for the final spot.
Indeed, the complexion of the draw will always take on a different look once the qualifiers have been added to it and if the likes of Allen, Williams, Graeme Dott and Matthew Stevens to name just a few are to miss out on a top 16 seeding, there will be few players who will want to draw them early on.
Of course though, much can still change during the course of the next month. In particular Ding and Selby are close on points and could still swap halves in the draw, while Barry Hawkins, Stuart Bingham and Judd Trump could all switch places depending on results in Haikou and Preston.
Similarly, Mark Davis, Ricky Walden and Ali Carter are separated by little more than 1,000 points at the moment, while as mentioned above, Mark Allen in particular will have his sights on ensuring an eight consecutive appearance at the Crucible by overtaking Robert Milkins between now and then.
Time will tell – who do you think the draw would favour as it stands at the moment? Leave your comments below…