Almost one round in at the 2015 Betfred World Championship and the battle remains on to finish the 2014/15 season as snooker’s number one ranked player.
Favourite to do so is defending champion and current number one Selby, who despite the introduction of a ‘rolling’ ranking system some five years ago now, has finished each of the last three seasons in top spot.
At the time of writing, he is forecast to finish the season with £760,382 and by winning the tournament here in Sheffield, could still become the first man to pass the £1,000,000 mark since the introduction of a prize money based ranking system at the start of this season.
In terms of who can deny Selby top spot at the end of the tournament, only Neil Robertson and Ding Junhui remain close enough to do so, with Ronnie O’Sullivan unable to overtake him, even with victory a week on Monday as the prize money won by him at this event in 2013 is set to be deducted from his ranking at the end of the event.
For Robertson, a second world title would be enough to see the Australian return to top spot, regardless of Selby’s progress, while Ding would also need to win the event and hope that Selby goes no further than the semi-finals.
A final between Robertson and Ding then would set up a winner takes all battle for the trophy and the world number one ranking, but it remains Selby who is currently on course to finish on top for a fourth successive season, a feat bettered only by Ray Reardon, Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry before.