A move to make snooker’s quickfire Shootout a full ranking event has been slammed as “ridiculous” by former world champion Peter Ebdon.
World Snooker announced on Wednesday that the single-frame tournament, 10 minutes maximum, with a shot-clock dropping to 10 seconds will count towards prize-money world rankings.
The 2017 event will be open to all 128 tour players, rather than last year’s 64 – who played for a £32,000 top prize.
But traditionalists see the Shootout as a simply bit of fun with a good prize – and unworthy of its new status.
Personally I have found it hard to get as upset as some over the Shootout as a concept, believing there is room in the calendar for certainly one such tournament.
I have been to the event, it is different but pretty enjoyable, but being so clearly distinct from the proper version of the game some strong reactions were to be expected over actually making the prize money count towards a world ranking - and they were not long in coming.
Ebdon said: “It is so ridiculous I would never have thought of it even being considered.
“If I won the tournament I would say it was ridiculous, and would be embarrassed it would count towards my ranking.
“As a tournament it is a bit gimmicky but I don’t have a problem with the odd event like that on the calendar.
“But why would this be done? To make those who don’t enter it take part? Most play anyway. I can’t think of a single reason.
“You can’t compare this to money earned at other ranking events, but this is the road we are going down.
“The Welsh Open and Indian Open are best of seven frames – and that is too short already. Events that count towards your ranking should be minimum best of nines.
“Look what a great World Championship we had with longer matches.
“But this could make a lot of difference to people for something that is not really proper snooker. Where’s it all going to end?”
World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn said: “The Shoot Out is all about who can handle the pressure and think fast when the clock is ticking
“And that pressure will be intensified now that every pound earned counts towards the ranking list.
“For the players, competition will be fierce, and that’s the way sport should be. And they have 18 other ranking events to compete in next season so there is plenty of opportunity to climb the ranking list.
“We’re delighted to expand the tournament to all 128 tour players to give everyone a chance to experience this unique event with an opportunity to go all the way to the top prize.”
This season’s Shootout will run from February 24-26, although a venue is yet to be announced. Last year it took place at the Hexagon in Reading, and was won by Finland’s Robin Hull.
Photograph courtesy of Monique Limbos