It’s that time of the year again when we see snooker played in its newest and probably its most controversial format ever.
The Snooker Shoot Out returns today and for the next three days and all matches will be shown live on ITV 4. Brilliant you might think, but not everyone’s happy about it!
That’s because the tournament which sees snooker played in a totally different format to any other competition in the calendar has been upgraded to a ranking event – a move which appears to have upset many fans, especially some of those on Twitter.
Firstly lets explain why the Shoot Out is so different to any other existing tournament – here are the basic rules.
- Frames are played for a maximum of ten minutes with the player scoring the most points at the end of the match being declared the winner.
- A shot clock is in operation meaning players have little time to think and play their shots.
- All fouls result in ball in hand.
- Crowd can make noise during matches (ok, not a rule as such but a bit of a difference)
When the Snooker Shoot Out was first introduced it was all aimed to be a bit of fun but two years ago World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn opted to increase the pressure stakes by giving it ranking status – meaning every match won would count towards a players world ranking position.
Hearn said in 2016: “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.”
But it would be fair to say some of the big names in the sport disagreed with the idea saying the event does not warrant ranking status.
Neil Robertson, who won the World Championship in 2010, certainly didn’t mix up his words. He said at the time: “Absolutely nuts. A huge slap in the face to any player who has actually won a proper ranking event.”
Even Anthony McGill cheekily laid some criticism at the decision even after winning the event twelve months ago. “In no way on God’s earth should this be a ranking tournament,” he said.
But a ranking event it is, and the uniqueness of the format means serious prize money is up for grabs and a chance for someone to win the jackpot of £32,000.
The likes of Mark Selby, Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins, Judd Trump, and Ding Junhui have decided to opt out meaning the door is wide open for someone to make themselves a hero. Who will that be?
Live coverage is on ITV 4 from 11.45am.