Following the announcement of the prize money schedule and money drop-off dates for the 2016/17 season by World Snooker last week, the first provisional seeding list of the new campaign is now available.
As a reminder for those not familiar, the latest provisional seedings list looks ahead to the next mid-season seedings revision, in this case following the 2016 World Open at the end of the July. The updated ranking list on this date will be used to determine the seedings for the Shanghai Masters, at which the top 16 players will be seeded through to the venue stages.
By the end of the World Open, prize money from the 2014 ET1, AT1, Wuxi Classic and Australian Goldfields Open tournaments will be removed from the world rankings. The latest provisional list therefore already takes this into account, as well as including minimum prize money earned by players at this season’s events following qualifying tournaments in Preston last week.
So what stands out at this early stage and who could see a significant ranking change over the coming weeks?
Robertson, Trump defending
At the sharp end of the rankings, the distribution of prize money to be removed during the next two months is relatively balanced, meaning that Mark Selby maintains a healthy cushion of almost £80,000 to closest challenger Stuart Bingham.
The most notable player with significant money to defend is current fifth placed man Neil Robertson, who is set to lose over £100,000 as he won the 2014 Wuxi Classic and finished as runner-up to Judd Trump at the Australian Goldfields Open.
As a result, Robertson is currently forecast to drop three places to eighth, while Trump is on course to drop one position behind Shaun Murphy, who would equal his previous career-high position of number three.
The top 16
In the battle for top 16 places, which for the Shanghai Masters are more important than most events as it remains one of only two tournaments not to have adopted a flat draw structure, Martin Gould is the man in most danger of losing out.
Set to lose his prize money from reaching the semi-finals of the Wuxi Classic two years ago, Gould is forecast to drop one place behind Kyren Wilson, who only looks set to rise this season with little to defend during the season.
His closest challengers include the likes of Stephen Maguire, Michael White and Liang Wenbo, who are separated by just £432.
It was a good week in Preston for Allan Taylor and Zhang Yong, who were the only two players ranked outside of the top 64 to win all three of their qualifying matches.
Though he was not able to make it to Riga, it was also a strong week for Alfie Burden, who as the highest ranked player outside of the top 64 at the start of the season is now less than £14,000 away from breaking back into that important bracket.
With no money to defend from two seasons ago as he is now on the second year of his current two-year card, expect Burden and those immediately behind him to close the gap on those in the lower half of the top 64 as this season progresses.
Elsewhere, Robert Milkins and Xiao Guodong are currently set to drop four and five places respectively, although Xiao is one of 17 players to have qualified for all three of this season’s opening events and so has a chance to change that.
Robin Hull, who reached the quarter-finals in Wuxi back in 2014 is also set to drop three places as the £12,000 earned by that run is due to fall, while former world champion Ken Doherty is also sliding closer to the top 64 trapdoor in 59th.
The next chance for players to add to their tallies comes at the venue stages of the Kaspersky Riga Masters, with £37,500 available to the winner.