World Snooker has today published the entry pack for the 2015 Haining Open and in amongst the standard conditions of entry there are a couple of important changes to note concerning qualification for the 2016 Players Championship and the 2016/17 main tour.
Continue reading for a summary of what has changed…
Players Championship Qualification
As was the case last season, it was originally envisaged that of the 32 players to compete at this season’s Players Championship event, eight of those would come from the Asian Order of Merit, with the remaining 24 to come from the European Order of Merit.
With the amount of Asian Tour events on the 2015/16 calendar having been reduced however, this has now been amended, with alternative criteria laid down depending on whether there will ultimately be one or two Asian Tour events held this season, something that has yet to be confirmed.
The relevant section of the conditions states as follows:
“If there is only 1 Asian Tour event, the top 24 players on the Kreativ Dental Clinic European Tour Order of Merit will qualify for entry into the Players Championship. In addition, the winner and runner up of the one Asian Tour event will also qualify for entry into the Players Championship. The remaining 6 places will be awarded to the top 6 players, who have not already qualified, on a combined Asian Tour and Euro Tour list.”
“If there are 2 Asian Tour events, the top 24 players on the Kreativ Dental Clinic European Tour Order of Merit will qualify for entry into the Players Championship. In addition, the winner and runner up of the two Asian Tour events will also qualify for entry into the Players Championship. The remaining 4 places will be awarded to the top 4 players, who have not already qualified, on a combined Asian Tour and Euro Tour list.”
“Qualification for the Players Championship will be determined chronologically. If a player qualifies through being the winner or runner up more than once, the space will be allotted to an additional qualifier through the combined Asian Tour and Euro Tour list.”
Interestingly then the big point to note is that of the introduction of a combined order of merit, which will be used to allocate either four or six places at next year’s Players Championship, depending upon whether there are one or two Asian Tour events held this season.
Such a list is of course not entirely new, as this has been used to determine seedings for the Players Championship for a number of seasons now, but nevertheless it would still represent a change to the qualification criteria that only further increases the importance of the season’s six European Tour events.
The change is though in my opinion a sensible one and preferable to places being awarded on the sole basis of one or two Asian Tour events as might otherwise have been the case.
2016/17 Tour Qualification
There is also a notable change to tour qualification for the 2016/17 season, with the amount of tour places available now reduced from four to two.
As previously, these two places will be earned by those who are able to finish highest on the Asian Order of Merit, who are not already qualified for the main tour for 2016/17 and will again be full two-year tour cards.
This change will apply whether there are one or two Asian Tour events held and it will be interesting to see how the extra two places freed up are re-allocated, if indeed they are at all.