Mark Allen won the Players Championship last season
The 2016/17 snooker season gets underway later this month and all professional players will already have one eye on the race to qualify for the World Grand Prix and Players Championship.
The campaign starts on May 28 and opens with the qualifying rounds of the Indian Open, World Open and Kaspersky Riga Masters at the Guild Hall in Preston.
And every pound earned in ranking events over the next eight months counts towards the World Grand Prix, with only the top 32 on this season’s money list to qualify for the tournament, which will also be staged at the Guild Hall. The final qualifying event is the German Masters which ends on February 5th, 2017, with the World Grand Prix starting the following day and running until February 12th.
Following that event, there will be three more qualifying tournaments for the Players Championship: the Welsh Open, the Shoot Out and the Gibraltar Open. The top 16 on the list will then qualify for the lucrative Players Championship to take place at Venue Cymru in Llandudno from March 6-12.
Earning a place at these two prestigious events provides an added incentive for all players throughout the season to enter each counting tournament and earn as much money as possible.
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “Last season we saw one player miss out on a place in the Players Championship on countback, which meant that if he had earned an extra £1 during the season he would have qualified. That sends a message to all players that every pound counts, and once the season begins it’s all to play for. Those who don’t make it to these two big tournaments will only fall further behind on the ranking list.
“The qualifying list for the World Grand Prix and the Players Championship will be fascinating to follow throughout the season, just as the race to be in the top 16 in time for the Masters generates interest. There will be 19 ranking events in the coming season so there’s plenty of opportunity for all players to make a name for themselves. Let the race begin!”
Both the World Grand Prix and the Players Championship will be televised by ITV4. Ticket details for both events will be announced soon.