Snooker’s top boss Barry Hearn has announced a £1 million prize pot for 20 players who make a maximum during a season – hoping it will make players try harder to pot all the balls.
The announcement came at the 2019 Betfred World Snooker Championships in Sheffield, with Hearn also announcing that World Snooker was proud to extend their partnership with the betting company Betfred until at least 2021. [Click here for the full story on that:
On maximums, Hearn said: “We all know it’s the ultimate accolade for a player – but there’s a lot of them.”
He said that for 20 maximums in a season, there would be a share of the £1 million and added: “I think this will make the players try harder and try and pot all the balls.”
Dave Gilbert, going strong in this year’s flagship snooker event, was the lucky player to make the 147th 147 earlier this season.
And Ronnie O’Sullivan made his record 15th career maximum at the 2018 English Open.
At present, there is a “rolling prize” for a maximum and the “pot” grows if there is no maximum made in an event. However, the flat prize for a maximum at the moment starts at £5K.
So far this season, there’s been 12 maximums, with the record being 13 made in a season.
Changes to World Championship Qualifiers
There will be 16 amateurs invited to the World Championship Qualifiers and they will join the players ranked 81-128 to make up Round 1.
The 32 players going through to round 2 will then meet the players ranked 49-80.
For round 3, the winners of round 2 will face players ranked 17-48.
Finally, round 4 will see the 32 winners from round 3 play each other for a place at the Crucible. There, they will, of course, meet the top 16 seeds.
This system means that only 32 players go home with nothing instead of 64 as there are this year.
It is interesting to note that this seeding system is the one suggested by many as the preferred method for all the ranking events with 128 players, rather than the flat draw. Could it be the way forward for the following season?
Jimmy White gets an invitational tour card
In other major announcements, Hearn confirmed that the Legend Jimmy White had been given a two-year extension to the tour – for his service to snooker – where his achievements include winning 10 ranking events and reaching six World finals.
Four more tour cards for Q School
There would also be four more tour cards extended on the Q School – the annual graduation event to the main professional tour, from 12 – now 16 players receiving a tour card upon graduation.
There will be four cards for each event and a further four being allocated to the top four players on the Order of Merit.
Q School has around 200 entries Hearn said and the event begins in May after the World Championships in Robin Park Leisure Centre, Wigan.
Hearn also said there were more announcements to come later.
Written by Chris Gaynor of SnookerZone.co.uk