Today, World Snooker announced a rather ridiculous intention to make next February’s Snooker Shoot-Out a ranking event.
So let’s get this straight.
A tournament that involves a format of a mere one frame per round, with a shot-clock and other variations from the general rules of the traditional game, will count towards ranking points.
One frame per round. Shot clock. Ball in hand for fouls. One frame! One frame!
This event began back in 2011 and has enjoyed mixed reviews from the various types of snooker follower but, in general, was regarded as a bit of mild fun in the middle of the campaign – certainly not to be taken too seriously, although with enough cash up for grabs to make things competitive and interesting.
However, as well as Robin Hull played to capture the 2016 trophy, at the end of the day it’s all a bit of a lottery.
Anything can happen in a single game of snooker; it certainly doesn’t properly represent the best in the business.
Indeed, no cueist from inside the world’s top 16, at the time, has ever won the event.
One might argue that, with the tournament growing from 64 to 128 players, it offers the players down the order an opportunity to jump up the standings.
But how fair is that? It’s not fair, is the logical response to that question.
World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn disagrees, saying,“the Shoot Out is all about who can handle the pressure and think fast when the clock is ticking. And that pressure will be intensified now that every pound earned counts towards the ranking list.
“For the players, competition will be fierce, and that’s the way sport should be. And they have 18 other ranking events to compete in next season so there is plenty of opportunity to climb the ranking list. We’re delighted to expand the tournament to all 128 tour players to give everyone a chance to experience this unique event with an opportunity to go all the way to the top prize.
“The Shoot Out has quickly become established as one of the most thrilling events on the calendar, much loved by fans. Tickets will be on sale soon and must be booked quickly because they always sell out.”
So the players who work long and hard to perform well in the “18 other ranking events” must just accept that someone will take their place thanks to a decent run of five or six frames.
The ranking list is being made a mockery of with the inclusion of the Shoot-Out.
This is basically like saying a single hole in golf will count towards its world rankings, or a leg in darts, a game in tennis.
What next for the rankings? Power Snooker? A trick-shot World Championship?
A farcical decision.
All open snooker events should count towards the rankings. It’s a logical follow on from basing rankings on a money list. The impact it has on the rankings is determined by the popularity of the event with sponsors, how much they are willing to pay out. Events that shouldn’t count are invitation events, like Champion of Champions, Masters, Grand Prix finals, Players Championship, although I think the way things are going, everything will count for rankings. While they are at it, they need to scale back the WC. Make every match a best of 19, and all matches are 1 day. Currently its a test of endurance more than skill.
Is the Shoot-Out a test of skill?
It’s still snooker and there is a demand for it. If I had a rough season but picked up £32k for winning it, I’d be a bit pissed if it didn’t count. Also, the winner will get plenty of exposure and how can you have him falling off the tour cos it didn’t count when fans are expecting to see him. Robin Hull is 59 in the rankings, £11k from dropping off the tour. If the £32k counted, he’d be up to 37. I think Hearn’s view is he is giving fans and sponsors what they want and purists come second.
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