The Gdynia Open takes place this week in Poland as the European Tour as we know it comes to an end.
Since 2010 the calendar has been saturated with minor-ranking events all across Europe, a mostly successful initiative from the Barry Hearn era that heightened snooker’s popularity across the continent.
However, the satellite series is being wound down which potentially means the end for many events like the Gdynia Open.
The Paul Hunter Classic, Riga Open and Gibraltar Open have so far definitely survived the cull, but it remains to be seen what will happen to the remainder of the Players Championship competitions.
In recent seasons, the Gdynia Open has played a significant role in the outcome of several important races in the various rankings and order of merits.
Rather than go into it in so much detail here, your safer bet is to read Matt Huart’s blog on the various battles that will ensure over the coming days.
Basically, though, the final places for the upcoming Players Championship and World Grand Prix will be determined, while there are also permutations for players further down the rankings and amateurs who are seeking to feature of the Main Tour next season.
Despite that, quite a number of the pros have decided not to make the trip.
Most of the big names are in action, though, so it is expected to be another fiercely contested weekend of snooker.
Mark Selby, Judd Trump, John Higgins, Shaun Murphy, Mark Williams and world champion Stuart Bingham are among the star competitors hoping to land the title.
Defending champion Neil Robertson is one of the marquee names not in attendance, while Ronnie O’Sullivan is an obvious absentee as the event is staged outside the UK.
For Ireland’s David Morris, it marks one of the last chances he’ll have to secure his tour survival.
Morris has struggled for much of this season and with only one win since August the 27 year-old has dropped outside the top 64 in the world rankings.
Failure to earn enough money in Gdynia or at the World Championship in April to move back above the cut-off line will lead to Morris’ relegation from the tour for a second time.
The Kilkenny cueist takes on Rod Lawler in the first round with a potential outing against Marco Fu of Hong Kong in the last 64.
Even if Morris wasn’t to do enough to qualify for the Players Championship – another event which could bolster his ranking – or earn one of the eight available spots for the circuit next season from the European Tour, a couple of wins could at least get his confidence going ahead of the World qualifiers in Ponds Forge.
Dubliners Ken Doherty and Fergal O’Brien are also contesting the event, with the latter hoping for a similar run that saw him go all the way to the final in 2014.
The amateur preliminary rounds have been ongoing since Tuesday but the pros enter the fold from Friday.
Eurosport will be covering the action across the weekend and, as always, there’ll be daily articles with updates right here for you to keep up-to-date with.