SOME of snooker’s biggest names have slammed the decision to upgrade the single-frame and quick-fire Snooker Shoot Out to a full ranking event.
Big name stars including former world champions Neil Robertson, Mark Williams and now retired Stephen Hendry, to name a few, blasted the announcement saying it makes a mockery of the sport.
For the first time next season, all 128 professional players will be entitled to play in the three-day event which sees snooker played in fast mode with matches decided in a single frame lasting only ten minutes long.
THE RULES TO SNOOKER’S NEWEST RANKING EVENT
It is a one-frame shootout format.
Each frame lasts just ten minutes, the highest score wins.
There is a 20 second shot-clock for the first 5 minutes of a frame and a 15 second shot-clock for the last five minutes.
A ball must hit a cushion OR be potted with EVERY shot.
Players will “lag*” to decide who breaks
In the event of scores being tied, there is a blue ball shoot-out.
The 64-player Snooker Shoot Out has been going for three years but has been considered as a fun addition to the calendar like other events such as the Six Reds World Championship where no ranking points are on offer.
But today World Snooker announced the fun will get more serious from next season with the Shoot Out now carrying ranking points.
It means the winner of the event could claim more ranking points than a player getting into the latter stages of a ‘proper’ snooker ranking event.
Big names such as Ronnie O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson and Judd Trump have pulled out of the event in recent times so the decision to upgrade it to full ranking status could be seen as a way to ensure the top names play at the event.
Neil Robertson, who won the World Championship in 2010, said on Twitter: “Absolutely nuts. A huge slap in the face to any player who has actually won a proper ranking event.
“I love what Barry Hearn has done for the game and gave me the kick up the backside I needed to push on with my career.
“But making fun/short events that have their own place in snooker, full ranking events is greatly devaluing what full ranking winners have achieved.
“The winner of the Shoot Out would receive more ranking points than the quarter-finalist of the World Championship.”
Stephen Hendry also announced his shock over the decision by saying on Twitter: “Ranking points for shootout is just wrong but standard now #anybodycanwin.
And Mark Williams tweeted World Snooker to describe the decision as ‘pathetic’.
But World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn said he was thrilled to be expanding the event.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Next year’s Snooker Shout runs between February 24 and 26, with a venue yet to be announced. It will be televised by ITV4.