World Snooker supremo Barry Hearn has held the first of his annual press conferences at the Crucible.
Perhaps the biggest announcement which was made concerned the renaming of the Masters trophy – which from 2017 will be known as the Paul Hunter Trophy.
Paul Hunter famously won a hat-trick of Masters titles between 2001 and 2004, each under memorable circumstances as he came from behind to win all three in deciding frame thrillers.
However, the player affectionately known as the ‘Beckham of the Baize’ due to his good looks and boyish charm, tragically passed away following a battle with cancer in 2006 aged just 27.
There were immediate calls at that time to honour Hunter, with many suggesting that a renaming of the Masters trophy would be a fitting tribute to the Leeds man.
But for some reason the powers that were at the time ignored those pleas, so it is fantastic news today to learn that the commendation has finally been attributed to Paul Hunter’s legacy.
Hearn also announced that prize money on the circuit will exceed £10 million, with the World Championship prize fund to rise to a staggering £2 million over the next couple of seasons.
The champion of the world is set to earn half a million pounds – which will be the highest ever prize for a professional snooker tournament.
Meanwhile, there’s set to be a minimum of 20 annual ranking events by 2017.
Hearn is scheduled to have a second press conference on the 28th April.