Mark Davis faces a future without the cue he had used for 20 years as it was stolen shortly before he was due to play in the BetVictor European Masters on Friday morning.
Davis was set for a third round clash with Mark Selby in Milton Keynes but had to pull out when he realised the cue had gone missing.
He had leant it against his car while putting his suitcase into the boot in his hotel car park. He went briefly to reception to check out, then returned to his car and drove to the venue, assuming that his cue was in the boot. It was only when he reached the venue he realised that the vital tool of his trade was not there.
“I rushed back to the hotel, asked in reception and even went to check my room, but I knew what had happened, the cue was gone,” said the 48-year-old from Sussex. “Someone must have seen it leaning against the car and nicked it. I was ridiculously stupid. I must have been on auto pilot and not paying attention to where I had put it. I realised I was going to have to pull out.
“My head is spinning and I am absolutely gutted, firstly because my cue is gone and secondly because I’ve had to withdraw from a tournament, which has hardly ever happened to me in nearly 30 years as a pro, and never for such a daft reason.”
The only silver lining for world number 39 Davis is that he has a replica cue at home, which was made for him by master craftsman John Parris.
“I had it made at a time when I was struggling and thinking of changing,” added the two-time Six Red World Champion. “I decided not to take the plunge and stuck with the same cue. But now it looks like I have no choice. Mentally, switching cues is a very tough thing to do and I don’t know how I will deal with it. I’ll have to start practising with it straight away and hope I can get used to it before the Championship League next week.”