Players Championship draw
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Players Championship Draw and Preview

The Players Championship draw was confirmed on Sunday after Michael Holt secured victory in the Snooker Shoot Out in Watford.

Players Championship draw
The Players Championship trophy. Photo credit: WPBSA

Success for the “Hitman” earned him £50,000 and a maiden ranking title, but also a potentially lucrative place in this week’s prestigious tournament in Southport.

Holt squeezed out Shoot Out runner-up Zhou Yuelong on the one-year ranking list to land the coveted 16th and final spot in the Players Championship draw.

The pair’s match-up in the final also meant that Ronnie O’Sullivan, who had been desperately hanging onto the 16th seeding, duly misses out.



O’Sullivan is the two-time defending champion, but as the Coral Series relies only on this season’s rankings there’s no automatic return for the “Rocket”.

In addition, while the Shoot Out incorporated a random draw, the Players Championship draw follows a simple formula of the first seed facing the last seed in the first round, and so on.

That means Holt’s reward for his late inclusion is a meeting with top seed, world number one, and world champion Judd Trump.

As expected in a tournament of this calbire, there are eight intriguing ties right from the outset to look forward to.

Everyone in the field has demonstrated form at some point of the campaign, otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to get into the line-up.

The top half of the draw also features an all-Scottish battle between John Higgins and Graeme Dott, a repeat of the UK Championship final with Ding Junhui facing Stephen Maguire, and a duel of the three-time world champion Marks in Selby and Williams.

Shaun Murphy is the second seed and the “Magician” entertains David Gilbert on the other side of the bracket, with the winner facing either Mark Allen or Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.

Kyren Wilson meets Yan Bingtao and Joe Perry is up against close pal Neil Robertson in the other couple of clashes.

The latter prevailed in the first event of the Coral Series earlier this month when he emerged with the World Grand Prix silverware in Cheltenham.

As a result, the Australian lies in first place on the Coral Series order of merit, in which the player who finishes top after the Tour Championship next month will receive a £100,000 bonus.

The Players Championship couldn’t really be any more different from the ranking event that preceded it on the calendar.

Last week was all about time duration, shot clocks, and matches that were over after just a single frame.

This week, traditional snooker returns and the longer format utilised as the matches from the last 16 take place over the best of 11 frames, before a 19-frame final on Sunday where £125,000 will be at stake.

Players Championship Draw (L16)

Judd Trump (1) vs Michael Holt (16)
John Higgins (8) vs Graeme Dott (9)
Ding Junhui (5) vs Stephen Maguire (12)
Mark Selby (4) vs Mark Williams (13)

Neil Robertson (3) vs Joe Perry (14)
Yan Bingtao (6) vs Kyren Wilson (11)
Mark Allen (7) vs Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (10)
Shaun Murphy (2) vs David Gilbert (15)

Live coverage is on ITV4.
Click here to view the full draw. (Times: CET)



Creator of SnookerHQ and a journalism graduate, David has been actively reporting on snooker since 2011. He has been published in national publications and has appeared on BBC World News and on talkSPORT radio as an analyst.

13 Comments

  1. Adrian Megson

    What a disgrace that shootout is also now a non discript gets to play instead of the defending champion am slowly going of snooker

  2. Hugh Mcguinness

    Well that’s me not watching the players championship the rocket was the defending champion he should have been allowed to play still I am sure viewing figures and people going to it will be down

  3. Ronnie is the defending champion,he should be there with a RED CARPET waiting.
    Tickets and TV audience will both be down.
    I for one will not be watching !!!

  4. World Snooker are a complete disgrace. I note no mention of their defending champion not playing this event as he was edged out by the shoot out winner on their website. Just hoping folk won’t notice? Defending champion should ALWAYS be allowed to play. To miss out due to a lottery is mind boggling. No Ronnie = no watching the tournament for many. Me included. I bet the sponsors are gutted.

  5. Paul Mullins

    Ronnie should have played more events this year

  6. Where is Barry Hawkins…? I don’t understand the draw

  7. Typical O’Sullivan fans whining and gurning that they wont watch the tournament because he ‘failed’ to qualify.

  8. Any one know if my Ronnie is going to play in Sheffield

  9. Pingback: Players Championship Draw and Preview – Bouncing Bill

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World Rankings Top 16

World Rankings after the Tour Championship – won by Neil Robertson.

1. Judd Trump
2. Ronnie O’Sullivan
3. Neil Robertson
4. Mark Selby
5. John Higgins
6. Kyren Wilson
7. Shaun Murphy
8. Stephen Maguire
9. Ding Junhui
10. Yan Bingtao
11. Barry Hawkins
12. Mark Williams
13. Mark Allen
14. Jack Lisowski
15. David Gilbert
16. Anthony McGill

Fin Ruane Snooker Academy