25.3.08

DO WE STILL NEED WILDCARDS?

I’ve always been a supporter of local wildcards in ranking events such as the China Open but I wonder if the time has come to get rid of them.

They are used for one reason and one reason only: to attract local interest to the event.

However, this did not happen yesterday in what transpired to be one of the most poorly attended days of any ranking event ever staged.

Why? I’d say the tournament has now outgrown the wildcard round. Ding Junhui is firmly established as part of the top 16 and, anyway, the Chinese crowds would rather see Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis than their own local hopes.

This is because they have become fans of the top stars over the last few years, in the China event and through watching snooker on TV.

What happened yesterday gave snooker’s enemies the ideal opportunity to claim that the Chinese snooker boom is a myth.

It isn’t. I know this having been to China several times and seen some of the mania first hand.

But the crowds have become more discerning and aren’t interested in the eight lowest ranked qualifiers against the wildcards.

I have no doubt at all that it will be close to packed for Ding against Joe Perry and O’Sullivan’s match with Marco Fu.

It would have been better all round to hit the ground running with these top players coming in on day one.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

slightly off topic - in response to your commentary regarding a ball ending up on the cushion. I believe I remember from years ago that if all balls in play are not on the bed of a table at the conclusion of the shot it is a foul.
Great blog and enjoying your commentry
John Hogarth

Matt said...

Also off topic but I figure this is the best place to ask, I understood that players were only allowed to have two sponsors logos on their waistcoats, but Ding/Perry today appeared to have four each. Has there been a rule change there?

Dave H said...

Thanks for that John - I figured it out eventually, it was just one of those questions that caught me off guard

Matt - the 2 logo rule is, as far as I'm aware, only for BBC tournaments

Matt said...

Ah that makes sense, thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

There were people there, but they sat further up as the seats around the table are very expensive.

Anonymous said...

There were people there, but they sat further up as the seats around the table are very expensive.