There wasn’t a lot of snooker talk around the Christmas and New Year period but it’s all systems go again for the remainder of the 2019/20 season.
World Snooker Tour Launched
World Snooker officially announced its rebranding this week, with the commercial arm of the sport now recognised as the World Snooker Tour.
A restructuring had widely been rumoured and expected in the last few months, as snooker attempts to move forward with its rapid development.
The last ten years, since the Barry Hearn era began, has seen the sport transform from a professional game on its knees to a major global player.
With overall prize money at around £15 million and rising, a worldwide audience in the hundreds of millions, and with an ever-expanding array of tournaments to compete in, the WST is hoping make even greater steps into this new decade.
Snooker only has to look at its sister organisations in golf and tennis in order to gain motivation and inspiration to succeed further.
A lot of the snooker talk of late has revolved around the controversial ten-year deal to host a ranking tournament in Saudi Arabia.
Hearn said this week: “We are all aware of the situation, but sport knows no boundaries in our view and we are there to spread the gospel of sport, and in this case the gospel of snooker.”
Championship League Continues
The first snooker action of the year, professionally at least, took place at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.
On Tuesday, Group 5 was won by Anthony McGill before three-time Championship League winner Judd Trump took the honours in Group 6 on Thursday.
The pair joins Neil Robertson, Stuart Bingham, Gary Wilson, and Scott Donaldson in March’s Winners’ Group.
The Championship League is an invitational event played behind closed doors and aimed primarily at the betting market.
It provides the players involved with an opportunity to gain useful competitive practice, a bit of extra dosh, and the dangling carrot of a spot in the prestigious Champion of Champions in Coventry towards the end of the year.
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World Snooker Federation Returns
After a nightmare 2019 for the sport’s fledgling amateur organisation, in which its flagship tournament was cancelled, the World Snooker Federation is back with a bang in Malta.
The inaugural WSF Junior Open launched the two-week extravaganza with 15 year-old Gao Yang from China emerging with the title.
Gao triumphed with a 5-2 scoreline over Sean Maddocks on Thursday and will earn a two-year professional ticket as a result.
Attention will now turn to the WSF Open, the blue riband event in which the champion will also gain the opportunity to compete on the Main Tour.
A lot of familiar names are in action, including former professionals Tony Drago, Rory McLeod, Leo Fernandez, and Jamie Jones.
There’ll be plenty of snooker talk in the upcoming week with the 2020 Masters set to be staged at the Alexandra Palace in London.
Seven-time winner Ronnie O’Sullivan is notable in his absence but reigning champion Judd Trump is the main contender along with 15 other elite participants.
Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)