Ronnie O’Sullivan will be playing in this month’s BetVictor Welsh Open – and potentially that could be his only warm-up tour tournament for a tilt at a sixth world title in April.
Having missed so much of the season O’Sullivan will not be at the Players Tour Championship finals in Manchester.
And to make it to the World Grand Prix in March in Llandudno, where he lost in the final to Judd Trump 12 months ago, the 40-year-old may well have to win in Cardiff. A place in the final could be good enough, depending on other results.
O’Sullivan won the Masters last month almost at a canter, claiming a sixth crown with a 10-1 thrashing of Barry Hawkins in the final.
That came despite another eight-month sabbatical– with O’Sullivan opting to focus on exhibitions rather than the grind of the circuit.
The player knows he needs some form of testing practice ahead of the 17-day World Championship marathon, the extended format of which he criticised last week. In addition to the only guaranteed ranking event appearance, there is also the winner's group of the best-of-five frame Championship League if he fancies it. O'Sullivan breezed through Group One in January.
But the world No6 is relaxed and putting no pressure on himself to get a second tournament under his belt before the big one in Sheffield.
O’Sullivan said: “I will play the Welsh Open, that is fairly close and fits in with my schedule before the World Championship.
“But I am very happy, I can use the exhibitions as well, I don’t want or need to run around chasing ranking prize money.
“I don’t have to play in all these events. If I did happen to do well at the Welsh, get to the final or win it, I probably would play the Grand Prix.
“In snooker terms it is round the corner in Llandudno , so why not if it didn’t clash with anything else. But I am really not bothered.”
Photograph courtesy of Monique Limbos