The battle to end the 2015/16 season as snooker’s world number one reaches its climax following the conclusion of the Betfred World Championship and defeat for defending champion Stuart Bingham yesterday has now left the race wide open.
Officially ranked as world number two following his success at the Crucible a year ago, Bingham came into this year’s tournament in pole position to become only snooker’s 12th different number one since the rankings were introduced in 1975.
Mark Selby has held top spot since February 2015 and ended the last four seasons as number one, but with the prize money earned from his victory at the 2014 World Championship set to be removed from his ranking after this event, Bingham currently holds a lead of £136,662 to Shaun Murphy on the latest provisional ranking list, with Selby set to drop to 7th.
Bingham’s dramatic 10-9 defeat to Ali Carter on the tournament’s opening day however now means that up to nine players can still mathematically overtake him by taking the title at the Crucible.
Best placed to do so is Shaun Murphy, who could rise to top spot by just £588 if he is able to reach the final for a second successive year, depending upon his opponent in the final.
For Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Mark Allen, John Higgins, Mark Selby, Ricky Walden, Joe Perry and Ronnie O’Sullivan however the equation is simple, with the title required to guarantee the world number one ranking. The jump in prize money from £137,250 to a massive £330,000 for becoming world champion means that even tenth placed O’Sullivan would be assured of top spot by winning the event, regardless of other results.
To view keep track of the battle as it unfolds during the remainder of the tournament, click here for the latest provisional ranking list. This list excludes prize money earned at the 2014 World Championship, which will be removed from the rankings after this event.