Challenge Tour (snooker)
|Venue||World Snooker Centre|
|Organisation(s)||World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association|
|Final champion(s)||Jamie Cope|
The Challenge Tour was a series of professional snooker tournaments that ran from the 1997/1998 season until the end of the 2004/2005 season. The tour was immediately below the level of the World Snooker Main Tour. The series was initially known as WPBSA Minor Tour and then UK Tour.
The concept of a secondary professional tour was first experimented with in the 1994/1995 season in the form of the WPBSA Minor Tour to provide competition for lower ranked professionals, but only ran for a season. Due to over-subscription of the World Snooker Tour, a two-tiered tour structure was adopted from the 1997/1998 season resulting in the Main Tour and the UK Tour. The Main Tour had an exclusive membership, whereas initially the whole professional membership could compete on the UK Tour and the best performers could earn promotion. From the 1999/2000 season entry was limited to players not competing on the Main Tour, and from the 2001/2002 season the UK Tour itself had an exclusive membership. From the 2000/2001 season it was rebranded the Challenge Tour.
In its first season there were five events, but the number was reduced to four in the following seasons. There were two official maximum breaks at the UK Tour, both being made in the 1998/1999 season. In Event 3 Stuart Bingham made it against Barry Hawkins and in Event 4 Nick Dyson made it against Adrian Gunnell.
The tour was discontinued after 2004/2005 season, but the concept was revived with the introduction of the Pro Challenge Series in 2009/2010. Only four of the planned seven events were played before the series was axed due to low player participation. The 2010/2011 season saw the introduction of the Players Tour Championship, a secondary tour comprising tournaments carrying ranking points, but at a much lower tariff than the major televised tournaments.
Order of Merit winners
- a Played under the variant six-red format.
- b Event 4 was cancelled, so Event 5 ended up being the fourth and final event.
- "WPBSA Secondary Professional Tour". Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. Archived from the original on 28 February 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2010.
- Hayton, Eric (2004). The CueSport Book of Professional Snooker. Suffolk: Rose Villa Publications. pp. Introduction, 166, 167 & 171–186. ISBN 978-0-9548549-0-4.
- "2000 / 2001 Challenge Tour". fcsnooker. Preston, Lancashire: The Frank Callan Suite. 26 April 2002. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
- Hendon, Dave (30 June 2009). "Pro Challenge Series Launched". Snooker Scene Blog. Snooker Scene. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
- Hendon, Dave (2 March 2010). "Pro Challenge Series Axed". Snooker Scene Blog. Snooker Scene. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
- "Pro Challenge Series 2009/10". Global Snooker. Retrieved 25 February 2012.