The new generation - Possible Spoiler

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Post by TwisT on Mon 12 Dec 2011, 10:00 am

Judd Trump and Mark Allen contested a fantastic UK Championship on Sunday, and I am sure we will see many more major championship finals with either one or both of these young players. Judd proved to be victor this time around, but I can see Allen moving up the rankings considerably from his number 10 spot.

One of the telling things for the whole championship was a change in how many established names went out in the 2nd Round. Mark Williams, Mark Selby, John Higgins and Ronnie O'Sullivan all went out at this stage, with the Rocket slipping to number 15 in the rankings and facing the possibility of having to qualify for major tournaments if he slips further. Is this just a blip, and will these players come back to the fore? Or are other aspects playing against them?

Hearn's re-vamp of World Snooker has meant that there are more tournaments with larger prize money. The downside to this is that, although taking part in a very lucrative profession, many of the players have grumbled that there are too many tournaments and are missing time with family. This may affect the older statesman in the game more, while the younger hungrier players with no ties, look at jetting off to foreign lands as a huge adventure.

With the additional problem of these smaller tournaments carrying substantial ranking points, certain players will tend to yo-yo through the rankings as the seasons progresses, and you will find relatively unknown players slipping into the top 16 while more recognisable players (regardless of age) slip down. This coupled with the rankings being set over a 2 year rolling list.

Comparing the 2009/2010 rankings to the current 2010/11 rankings shows considerable yo-yo-ing. O'Sullivan moves from 1st to 15th, Williams from 15th to 2nd. Names such as Ryan Day, Joe Perry, Marco Fu and Peter Ebdon are not even currently in the top 16 (Day going from 6th to 27th). Other names such as Jamie Cope, one of the next big things, are again struggling after so much promise.

It seems that the changes have caused a new generation, but not in the sense of age. The ranking system and the far off tournaments offering a glut of points at the moment means that the top 16 will look markedly different after every season. And with the top 16 being so vital for those in the profession, it is even more important to carry form over to all tournaments, not just for the big 3.

Is the ranking system a fair interpretation of the state of snooker right now? Would you prefer the big 3 tournaments to have such emphasis over the snooker calendar as previously, or do you welcome the smaller tournaments getting a substantial boost, not only in prize money, but also in ranking points?

Before answering, ask yourself this question - If you had to bet money, who do you think would win the following matches.

Marco Fu v Martin Gould
Ronnie O'Sullivan v Stuart Bingham
Stephen Hendry v Andrew Higginson

With your results in mind, now take into account that the 2nd name in each contest is higher up the rankings than the 1st.

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Post by The Special Juan on Tue 13 Dec 2011, 11:11 am

Gouldie
Ronnie
No idea. Both are pretty bad.

I don't think Higgins being beat in the 2nd round was that much of a shock. Maguire played out of his skin that day, it was one of his best performances that I've seen. Maguire will always be an underachiever considering his talent.

An in-form Ronnie against and in-form Trump would be an excellent match. With Ronnie whinging about retirement again, I can see no way back for him unless he bucks up his ideas.

The 2 big shocks were Williams and Selby. To be fair to Selby, he didn't turn up. If he had, he would have beaten Fu comfortably. As for Williams, as much as I feel Ricky Walden is underrated, Williams shouldn't have lost that match. I never saw all of it so I can't comment too much.

There are too many ranking points associated with the PTC. Some of the players with family simply can't be jetting off all over the world every other week, spending money which they can ill afford to. Barry has to learn this otherwise it will not go well for him.

As for Allen's remarks at the UKC, well, he has a point. I read the interview where Barry said he wouldn't touch any of the "big 3", aside from moving locations which I don't mind. Lo and behold, we suddenly find ourselves as a "best of 11". I love darts, don't get me wrong, but if Barry wants to hype up snooker with razzmatazz and make every event short, the players will come down on him like a ton of bricks.

I love snooker as it is now, with more major events on the calendar next year and the year after, it's going places, but I hope it doesn't change too much.

Note: I'm not a traditionalist, I think the new events are great, but the ranking points in the PTC events need to be fixed for those players who just can't travel all over the world, for one reason or another.
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Post by TwisT on Tue 13 Dec 2011, 1:13 pm

I hear what you are saying TSC. I think the PTC events have become far too important. Missing a few here and there would seriously dent your ranking. Then the following season you will have no choice but to play them, so as to get back into the top 16.

In regards to Hearn changing the format for the UK, to be fair to him it was the BBC that kicked up a stink. They wanted matches to be finished in one session because it is better TV wise. His hands were tied.

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Post by eirebilly on Wed 14 Dec 2011, 4:03 pm

I am not so sure that Mr Hearns hands were as tied as whats being made out to be. He is ultimately responsible for the decisions made in sport and the suggestion that the WC may also be shortened has me worried. I am all for all of the new events but still believe that the three biggest tournements should not have their formats tinkered with.

As for the original question, there are fare too many points available in the PTC tournements. With a bit of tinkering i am sure that this would all even out and i still think that Mr Hearn is doing a great job. The older stars will fall by the wayside as the new younger generation are fighting tooth and nail to get up there.

Ronnie is in my opinion still the best player in the world on his day but his days are becoming scarily fewer and farther between so its no suprise that he is dropping rapidly down the ranking list.
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