While the Haikou World Open continues this weekend in China, one announcement this week that came somewhat under the radar was that of the draw for the Players Championship Grand Finals, which will take place in Preston from 25-29 March 2014…
You can view the draw itself here at snookerorg, while you can click here to read my previous post detailing how the 32 players involved made it there and how the seedings were determined. You can also view the tournament format here.
Though the tournament will continue to be played under the best of seven format that has become synonymous with European and Asian Tour events (not ‘PTCs’ as people still refer to these days), with a top prize of £100,000 the event is one to be taken seriously and that all of the players will be wanting to win.
The event is also the final tournament prior to the seedings revision for the World Championship, although with Graeme Dott’s defeat to Shaun Murphy in China yesterday, the identity of the 16 seeds for the Crucible is now known, albeit not yet their respective positions in the draw.
As for the PCGF itself however, which will see the return of ranking event snooker to Preston’s Guild Hall for the first time in nine years, the draw is an interesting one with the unseeded (he finished 17th on the combined Order of Merit), world number one Neil Robertson drawn to play a returning to Shaun Murphy in the opening round being the stand-out tie.
With Robertson, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Selby, Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy, Stuart Bingham, Barry Hawkins and Stephen Maguire among those in the same half in particular, it will be very interesting to see how the tournament unfolds and whether any psychological blows will be landed ahead of the fast-approaching World Championship.
While the top half is not short of quality players either, with Ding Junhui and Mark Allen among those involved, there are a number of players in that section who will be looking to come through and take advantage of the chance to reach the latter stages of a significant ranking tournament.