It was announced yesterday by World Snooker that three key ranking events during the second half of the 2018/19 season will form the new Coral Series – but what are the events and how can players qualify?
The three events that will form the Coral Series are the World Grand Prix, Players Championship and the new Tour Championship. All three events will be broadcast in the UK by ITV4.
World Grand Prix
The first tournament to take place will be the World Grand Prix, to be held at the first time at Cheltenham Racecourse from 4-10 February 2019. First held in its current form as an invitational event in 2015, the event has been won by Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy, Barry Hawkins and most recently Ronnie O’Sullivan earlier this year.
Once again, the top 32 players on the one-year ranking list (more below) will qualify and contest a £100,000 top prize.
Exactly a month later comes the Players Championship, which moves back to Preston’s Guild Hall and will run from 4-10 March 2019. First held in 2011 as the Players Tour Championship Finals, the event has run in its current form since 2017 when Judd Trump defeated Marco Fu 10-8 to capture the title and last year was won by Ronnie O’Sullivan who ran out a 10-4 winner against Shaun Murphy.
As during each of the past two years, the event will comprise 16 players, again taken from the one-year ranking list who will battle to win a first prize of £125,000.
The final event of the Coral Series will be the Tour Championship, an all-new event to be held at Venue Cymru in Llandudno, Wales from 19-24 March 2019.
Intriguingly, the event will include just eight players who will compete for a bumper £150,000 top prize. The event will be run under an all-new long format, which will see all matches played across at least two sessions as follows:
- Quarter-finals – best of 17 frames (8/9)
- Semi-finals – best of 19 frames (8/11)
- Final – best of 25 frames (8/8/9)
The three-session final will be the first two-day final at a ranking event outside of the World Championship for many years, evoking memories of the extra-long UK Championship finals last seen in the early 1990s.
As in previous seasons, qualification for all three events will be determined not by the official world ranking list, but instead the one-year ranking list meaning that there could be some surprise names missing out if they have earned less prize money during the current campaign than the 2017/18 season.
Qualifiers for each event will be taken from the one-year ranking list following three defined ranking cut-offs as follows:
- World Grand Prix – top 32 following the German Masters (4/2/2019)
- Players Championship – top 16 following the Shoot Out (25/2/2019)
- Tour Championship – top eight following the Gibraltar Open (18/3/2019)
Importantly, as full-ranking events, the prize money from each of these events themselves will count towards the one-year ranking list, making it even more important for players to qualify for the World Grand Prix to give themselves the best opportunity to then make it to the Players Championship and ultimately the Tour Championship.
As part of yesterday’s announcement by World Snooker, it was also revealed that the player earning the most prize money across the three Coral Series events will become the first recipient of the new Coral Cup, while a player winning all three events would earn a prize money bonus of £125,000 taking their potential total to a staggering £500,000, as much as will be won by this year’s world champion in Sheffield.
Tickets for all three Coral Series events are on sale now, for details CLICK HERE.
Further information about the Coral Cup and who is in line to qualify for the World Grand Prix will be published here at wpbsa.com over the coming weeks…