The first day of the Haikou World Open was largely underwhelming but this was down primarily to poor scheduling.
This is not just down to the wildcard round. There were two first round matches played but no stardust.
Perhaps World Snooker could explain why they didn’t put a big name on. They were all there. They have to be for pre-tournament promotion.
So why not put Judd Trump or Ding Junhui or Neil Robertson or John Higgins or Mark Selby on the first day and launch the tournament with some momentum?
Then again, this is a preview for what could happen next season under the new system. You toss aside your star names at your peril. Television sport isn’t about some nebulous concept of ‘fairness’ but the entertainment it provides for those watching on television.
The game’s big hitters – and we all know who they are – are the ones who regularly provide this.
Ronnie O’Sullivan has provided plenty and will today take advantage of his own box office appeal by tying in an announcement as to whether he will play in the World Championship with publicity for the Snooker Legends exhibitions.
As I write this, ITV4 have just begun their coverage with the words – and this is a verbatim quote – “the only story in the world of snooker today concerns Ronnie O’Sullivan.”
This is an eccentric way to begin nine hours of live coverage of a tournament he isn’t in but I suppose reflects the interest in today’s press conference.
In the meantime, thankfully the big names are entering the fray today on Hainan Island.
Trump in particular will be keen to beat Mark Joyce, who beat him 6-5 from 5-2 down in the first round of the UK Championship last December.
This was the start of a poor run of form for Trump but he played much better at the Welsh Open and has returned to the top of the rankings.