This event was originally drawn with Stephen Hendry in Group G. However, the 7 times world snooker champion, has pulled out and been replaced by amateur John Astley. Astley gets his invite courtesy of his ranking on the Q School Order of Merit.
Hendry’s further-delayed comeback has caused a lot of disappointment amongst his fans but he cited his media duties with the BBC as preventing his preparation for this event.
There has been many a suggestion that Hendry has wasted a spot on the main tour which could have been used by an up and coming player. This is misguided though as Hendry was offered a place as an extra, not at the expense of anyone else.
That said, whenever Stephen Hendry enters an event, it does reduce the number of amateur top-up places available. As for this series, if Hendry hadn’t entered then John Astley would have been in from the beginning