Players Tour Championship

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Players Tour Championship
Players Tour Championship logo.jpg
Tournament information
Established 2010/2011
Organisation(s) World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association
Format Minor-Ranking event (Regular events)
Ranking event (Final)
Current champion(s) England Barry Hawkins

The Players Tour Championship is a series of snooker tournaments comprising six minor-ranking events played in Europe, and an Asian leg comprising three minor-ranking events. The series concludes with a Grand Final, where qualification is based on performance in the other PTC events, and carries the status of a full ranking tournament. Each regular event lasts for at least three days, with qualifying days for amateurs should the event be oversubscribed. Each event costs £100 to enter, and Main Tour players can gain ranking points in the events.

History[edit]

The inaugural series ran from late June, with six events at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield, one in Gloucester and another five in mainland Europe (with 3 in Germany). The finals took place in March featuring the best 24 players who had won the most money and played at least 6 events; 3 in Sheffield and 3 in mainland Europe. The prize money at each event was £50,000 or €50,000 at the regular events, with a total of £200,000 available in the Finals.[1] The first event was held in the World Snooker Academy from 25 to 27 June 2010.[2] In the first season the six events at the Academy were sponsored by Star Xing Pai.[3] The prize money for the Finals was increased to £250,000 in 2011/2012.[4] Originally the events played outside Sheffield were called Euro Players Tour Championship, but this distinction was abandoned for the second season.[5]

In the 2012/2013 season the Players Tour Championship was expanded. The PTCs would no longer take place at the World Snooker Academy and instead were played at the South West Snooker Academy. In addition there was a decrease of PTCs being played in England, reduced to four events,[6] with three new PTCs being created in Asia, called Asian Players Tour Championship. From this season the European events formed the European Tour, their prize money was increased to €70,000,[7] and they were sponsored by Betfair.[8] Finally as a result the Finals was expanded to accommodate 32 players instead of 24; with each tournament winner from the APTCs and the next top 4 players on the Asian Order of Merit qualifying; with an additional player qualifying from the UK/European Order of Merit. The seedings of the final were based on the combined list of both Order of Merits.[9] The prize money of the Finals was also increased to £300,000,[10] excluding the £1,000 prize money for Ding Junhui's maximum break.[11]

In the 2013/2014 season the number of minor-ranking PTC events was reduced to twelve. The number of events played in England was further decreased to two, and the number of Asian events was raised to four.[12] From this season the events held in Asia formed the Asian Tour, and the English events became part of the European Tour.[13] The prize money of the continental European Tour events was increased to €125,000.[14] The Finals still accommodated 32 players, but the number of qualified players from the Order of Merits has also changed with 24 coming through the European Tour Order of Merit and eight through the Asian Tour Order of Merit.[15] The calculation method of the European Tour Order of Merit was also changed this season. The previously used €1=£1 system was changed to accommodate the increasing prize money of the continental European events. World Snooker decided to use the €1.2=£1 conversation rate.[16]

In the 2014/2015 season the number of minor-ranking PTC events was further reduced to only nine events. There are no events played in England, and the number of Asian events was reduced to three after the second event, originally planned to be held in August, had to be cancelled.[17][18] The prize money of the Grand Final was increased to £350,000.[19]

Criticism[edit]

The PTC has been criticised by several players for its comparatively low prize fund and associated costs. The events offered a top prize of just £10,000 while the first professional round offered no prize money at all.[4] Ronnie O'Sullivan believed that the top players were not rewarded appropriately for what they do, while the lower-ranked players were left with financial losses, and stated that he felt "blackmailed" into entering the events due to the governing body's decision to attach ranking points to them.[20] O'Sullivan likened the experience of competing on the PTC to being "raped",[21][22] but later apologised for the comment.[23] Stephen Maguire echoed O'Sullivan's sentiments, commenting that players were left out of pocket unless they did "really well", and that he felt like a "prostitute" being "forced" to play in the events. Maguire further criticised the lack of atmosphere and audience at some of the events. Another player described the European PTC events as "buying ranking points".[24] John Higgins has been critical of the Sheffield based PTCs which do not accommodate spectators, stating that "nobody enjoys playing in front of no-one", and believed the game would be better served if they were replaced by more overseas events.[25]

Steve Davis, on the other hand, believed that the events have been well received by most of the players and fans, and that they are integral to reinvigorating the circuit.[26] Neil Robertson concurred with Davis' view and considered them important in developing the game overseas, and expressed his hopes that they would develop into fully sponsored and televised tournaments.[27] Stephen Hendry welcomed the increase in playing opportunities for the players, but sympathised with O'Sullivan's view about being 'blackmailed' into entering the events, stating that he believed the events were too "top heavy" on ranking points considering "how little money there is to win".[28]

The World Snooker Association responded that they had an obligation to provide playing opportunities for all players on the tour, and that while the top prize for the PTC events was relatively low, 24 players qualify for the Grand Final, which offered a top prize of £70,000 in 2011/2012. It affirmed its stance by stating "Two seasons ago there were only seven or eight events on the main tour calendar; now there are nearly 30 and total prize money has virtually doubled."[29] Barry Hearn, chairman of the WSA, conceded he is blackmailing the players into playing in the PTCs to stimulate growth of the game internationally, citing the Brazil Masters—where nine of the top sixteen did not enter—as an example of why he allocated rankings points to the PTC events.[30]

Series finals and Order of Merit winners[edit]

Season Winner Runner-up Final score Order of Merit winner(s)
2010/2011[31] England Shaun Murphy England Martin Gould 4–0 England Shaun Murphy[32]
2011/2012[33] England Stephen Lee Australia Neil Robertson 4–0 England Judd Trump[34]
2012/2013[35] China Ding Junhui Australia Neil Robertson 4–3 England Mark Selby[36]
England Stuart Bingham[37]
2013/2014[38] England Barry Hawkins Northern Ireland Gerard Greene 4–0 Northern Ireland Mark Allen[39]
China Liang Wenbo[40]
2014/2015[41]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Euro Players Tour Championship 2–6 Entry Pack". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. Archived from the original on 21 August 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  2. ^ "PTC helps form Snooker's 'brave new world'". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. 21 May 2010. Archived from the original on 27 May 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "Star Xing Pai To Sponsor PTC Events". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. 25 June 2010. Retrieved 25 June 2010. [dead link]
  4. ^ a b "Players Tour Championship 2011/2012 Entry Pack for Events 5–9". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. Archived from the original on 29 January 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2011. 
  5. ^ Turner, Chris. "Players Tour Championship". cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. Archived from the original on 16 February 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  6. ^ "Gloucester To Host PTC Events". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  7. ^ "Announcements From Barry Hearn". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. 23 April 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  8. ^ "Betfair Sponsor New European Tour". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. Retrieved 20 September 2012. 
  9. ^ "The Players Tour Championship 2012/2013 season qualifying criteria". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  10. ^ "Prize Money". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "Maximum Man Ding Beats Allen In Classic". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
  12. ^ "Tournament Calendar 2013/2014". Snooker.org. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  13. ^ "Letter to Tour Players from Barry Hearn". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. 8 April 2013. Archived from the original on 9 April 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  14. ^ "Prize Money Breakdowns 2013/14". worldsnooker.com. World Snooker. 1 May 2013. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  15. ^ "European Open 2013/2014 Entry pack for the Bulgarian Open (ET1)". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. Archived from the original on 21 May 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  16. ^ "Corrected Order Of Merit". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. 13 June 2013. Archived from the original on 19 February 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  17. ^ "Calendar 2014/2015". Snooker.org. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  18. ^ "Asian Tour Event Two". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. 10 July 2014. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  19. ^ "European Tour 2014/2015 Entry pack for Riga Open 2014 – Latvia (ET1)". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. 23 June 2014. Archived from the original on 18 July 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  20. ^ "Ronnie O'Sullivan feels 'blackmailed' taking part in smaller tournaments". BBC Sport. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  21. ^ "Ronnie O'Sullivan accuses snooker's governing body of 'raping' him". London: guardian.co.uk. 19 October 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  22. ^ "O'Sullivan hits out at World Snooker". Sporting Life. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  23. ^ Sportsmail (28 October 2011). "O'Sullivan apologises for 'rape' comment, saying: I'm really sorry if I offended anyone". Mail Online (London: Daily Mail). Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  24. ^ Hendon, David. "Trouble In Paradise". Snooker Scene Blog. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  25. ^ "'Nobody enjoys playing those events': Higgins begs Hearn to scrap Sheffield PTCs". London: Mail Online. 24 November 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  26. ^ "Steve Davis shares his thoughts". PTC Killarney 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  27. ^ "Robertson – I'm The Best I've Ever Been". worldsnooker.com. World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  28. ^ O’Connor, Jason. "Rocket suffers shock reverse". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  29. ^ "O’Sullivan under fire for ‘rape’comment". Times of Malta. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  30. ^ Metcalfe, Nick (10 November 2011). "I am guilty of blackmailing O'Sullivan and other top stars, admits Hearn". London: Mail Online. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  31. ^ "PTC 2010/2011 Finals". Snooker.org. Retrieved 22 December 2010. 
  32. ^ "Order of Merit 2010/2011". Snooker.org. 17 October 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2010. 
  33. ^ "Betfair Players Tour Championship Grand Finals (2012)". Snooker.org. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  34. ^ "Order of Merit 2011/2012". Snooker.org. 8 January 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  35. ^ "Dafabet Players Tour Championship Finals (2013)". Snooker.org. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  36. ^ "Order of Merit 2012/2013". Snooker.org. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  37. ^ "Asian Order of Merit 2012/2013". Snooker.org. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  38. ^ "Wyldecrest Parks Players Championship Grand Final (2014)". Snooker.org. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  39. ^ "European Order of Merit 2013/2014". Snooker.org. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  40. ^ "Asian Order of Merit 2013/2014". Snooker.org. Retrieved 8 March 2014. 
  41. ^ "Players Championship Grand Final (2015)". Snooker.org. Retrieved 16 May 2014.