Ryan Day’s breakthrough victory at the Kaspersky Riga Masters last weekend not only secured him his maiden ranking event title, but also puts him into contention for a place at this year’s Champion of Champions at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena.
But how will the full field be made up and what would have to happen for the Welshman to miss out?
Once again, qualification for the event will be determined by the winners of professional tournaments dating back to John Higgins’ victory at the event in 2016, events having been ordered in a specific line of priority.
Players currently qualified are set out below, numbered by qualification priority, not seeding:
1. 2016 Champion of Champions – John Higgins (1)
2. 2016 UK Championship – Mark Selby (2)
3. 2017 Masters – Ronnie O’Sullivan (3)
4. 2017 World Championship – Mark Selby
5. 2017 German Masters – Anthony Hamilton (4)
6. 2017 World Grand Prix – Barry Hawkins (5)
7. 2017 Championship League Snooker – John Higgins
8. 2017 Players Championship – Judd Trump (6)
9. 2017 China Open – Mark Selby
10. 2017 China Championship (Aug) – tbc
11. 2017 Shanghai Masters (Sep) – tbc
12. 2017 Indian Open (Sep) – tbc
13. 2017 European Masters (Oct) – tbc
14. 2017 International Championship (Nov) – tbc
15. 2016 Northern Irish Open – Mark King (7)
16. 2016 Scottish Open – Marco Fu (8)
17. 2017 Welsh Open – Stuart Bingham (9)
18. 2017 English Open (Oct) – tbc
19. 2017 Gibraltar Open – Shaun Murphy (10)
20. 2017 World Championship runner-up – John Higgins
21. 2017 Riga Masters – Ryan Day (11)
22. 2017 Paul Hunter Classic (Aug) – tbc
23. 2017 World Cup (Jul) – tbc
24. 2017 World Cup (Jul) – tbc
25. 2017 Shoot Out – Anthony McGill (12)
26. 2017 6 Reds World Championship (Sep) – tbc
Changes for 2017
Compared to last year’s final list there are a few changes of note to the order of qualification priority as follows:
- The World Championship has moved from 10th to fourth on the list of priority, to reflect the status and prestige of the event
- All Home Nations Series events have been grouped together from 15-18 on the list
- Places have been allocated for both members of the winning World Cup team, as in 2015
Who is safe?
At the time of writing, 16 of the 26 counting events have been won by 12 individual players, who are all currently in line to secure a place at the Ricoh Arena in November. This leaves nine events remaining (two spots at the World Cup), through which players not yet qualified can still earn themselves a place at this year’s event.
In terms of who is definitely safe, everyone down to Gibraltar Open winner Shaun Murphy can already be certain of their places in Coventry, while Ryan Day and Anthony McGill must hope that there are a few more ‘repeat’ winners from the list above to be sure of their places. This is because there are still events to be played, that are higher on the order of priority for Champion of Champions qualification.
Of those still looking to secure their places, the most obvious are world number four Ding Junhui and 2015 Coventry winner Neil Robertson, both without silverware since last year’s Champion of Champions. Tenth ranked Mark Allen is also yet to qualify, as well as Kyren Wilson, Liang Wenbo, Ali Carter and Mark Williams who also complete the world’s top 16.
The next chance to earn a place will come at next week’s World Cup, with two spots up for grabs for the two-man winning team in Wuxi.