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Tour Structure 2015/16: Making 128 (ish)

As we enter the closing months of the 2014/15 season, attention is beginning to turn to how the tour will look next season, with the European Tour set to reach its conclusion before the end of February and tour places up for grabs at upcoming amateur events such as the European U-21 Championship in March.

Though a full qualification criteria has yet to be confirmed by World Snooker, we can nevertheless draw some conclusions based upon what we do know…

The Top 64 (64)

It is traditionally the case that the top 64 in the official two-year ranking list at the end of the season will automatically retain their main tour place for the following campaign and there is no suggestion that this will be any different this year.

You can view the latest provisional end of season ranking list here at PSB.

Players qualifying via this route will receive a one-year tour card for 2015/16 only.

The ‘Second Years’ (Max 31)

Remember last season that everybody who gained or regained a tour card for 2014/15, who began outside of the top 64, was awarded a two-year tour card?

This means that everybody who is highlighted in green on my provisional end of season ranking list, eg the 31 players who joined or survived on tour last season without having finished inside the top 64 during the previous season, will remain on the tour for the second year of that two-year card.

Interestingly, this amount is five fewer than last season.

The Top Eight (European Order of Merit) (8)

Wakelin

Chris Wakelin – Safe

As was the case in 2013/14, the top eight performers on this season’s European Order of Merit, not already qualified for next season (eg inside the top 64 on the two-year list or already on a two-year card), will earn a tour place.

At the time of writing, those eight players are:

  1. Chris Wakelin (6,833)
  2. Fraser Patrick (4,500)
  3. Joe Swail (4,500)
  4. Noppon Saengkham (4,333)
  5. Jimmy White (3,666)
  6. Allan Taylor (2,749)
  7. James Cahill (2,583)
  8. Stuart Carrington (2,500)

There does remain one event still to run during this season’s European Tour, the Gdynia Open later this month, while there is also still scope for this list to change, depending upon how the main two-year ranking list fluctuates between now and the end of the season.

For example, should one of the above players break into the top 64 on the main ranking list, then an extra place could be opened up to the European Tour.

The eight qualifiers will receive a two-year tour card.

Asian Order of Merit (4)

Similarly, four places will go to the top four players on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, not already qualified for the main tour via other means.

The top four are:

  1. Ross Muir
  2. Sean O’Sullivan
  3. Zhang Yong
  4. Cao Xinlong
MuirRoss Muir – safe

Although all three of the season’s Asian Tour events have now been completed, the above four names could yet change, depending upon whether there are any major changes on the main two-year ranking list between now and the end of the season.

In respect of Sean O’Sullivan, he also looks set to qualify via the European Order of Merit, however will take his tour places through the Asian list due to that series having completed first chronologically.

These players will receive a two-year tour card.

Q School (8)

As was the case last season, eight players will earn a tour card via two Q School events to be staged in Burton at the end of this season.

These players will receive a two-year tour card.

EBSA Play-Offs (2)

In a change to last season, the 2015 EBSA play-offs will see just two players come through a 16 man play-off event later this year to earn main tour cards.

The players involved will be taken from the new EBSA Order of Merit after the Gdynia Open, with the list currently looking like this after five events.

The two successful players will receive a two-year tour card.

International Nominations (9)

Assuming that the international nominations remain as they did last year, that leaves 9 places up for grabs as follows, assuming that they all choose to accept their nominations.

IBSF:

  • 2014 IBSF World Champion – Yan Bingtao
  • 2014 IBSF World Under-21 Champion – Hosein Vafaei Ayouri

ACBS:

  • 2015 Asian Champion – (tbc)
  • 2015 Asian U-21 Champion – (tbc)

EBSA:

  • 2015 European Champion – (tbc)
  • 2015 European U-21 Champion – Darryl Hill

Americas:

  • One nomination – Itaro Santos

Oceania:

  • 2014 Oceania Champion – Vinnie Calabrese

Africa:

  • One nomination – (tbc)

These players will receive a two-year tour card.

Invitationals (3/4)

Although not strictly tour places, there are currently three players, namely Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis and James Wattana, who have the option to participate in professional events, should there be fewer than 128 entries.

These three players will continue to have that option during the 2015/16 season, while there is also potentially provision for a fourth, perhaps Jimmy White if he were to be relegated from the tour, to receive such an invitation.

  • likahokeith

    Does Reanne Evans be one of the invitationals?

  • rob147

    As of April 13th 2015 the top 56 in the world have all definitely qualified to stay on the tour next season.
    The following players are still fighting to be in the top 64:
    Peter Lines
    Anthony Hamilton
    Cao Yupeng (out of world championship)
    Tom Ford
    Rory McLeod (out of world championship)
    Nigel Bond (out of world championship)
    Jamie Cope (out of world championship)
    Stuart Carrington
    Joe Swail
    Robin Hull
    Marcus Campbell
    Chris Wakelin
    Jimmy White
    Noppon Saengkham
    Igor Figueiredo
    Jak Jones

    • rob147

      The following players have definitely been relegated from the tour (though they may be promoted back on through the euro/asian tour or q school):

      Alfie Burden
      Alex Davies
      Fraser Patrick
      Dave Harold
      Andrew Pagett
      Lyu Haotian
      James Cahill
      John Astley
      Elliot Slessor
      Ross Muir
      Hammad Miah
      Alex Borg
      Andrew Norman
      Allan Taylor
      Lee Page
      Chris Norbury
      Ratchayothin Yotharuck
      Cao Xinlong
      Ahmed Saif
      Alexander Ursenbacher
      Ryan Clark
      Khaled Belaid Abumdas

      • rob147

        The following players will definitely be promoted (back) onto the tour through the euro/asian tour:
        Ross Muir
        Sean O’Sullivan
        Zhang Yong
        Fraser Patrick

        The following players have a chance of being promoted (back) onto the tour through the euro/asian tour, depending on who finishes in the top64:
        Tom Ford
        Alfie Burden
        Jamie Burnett
        Chris Wakelin
        Joe Swail
        Stuart Carrington
        Noppon Saengkham
        Jamie Cope
        Jimmy White
        Anthony Hamilton
        Joel Walker
        Allan Taylor
        Nigel Bond
        James Cahill
        Elliot Slessor
        Jak Jones
        Alex Davies
        Peter Lines