Following the announcement of the minimum guaranteed tour structure for the 2023/24 season, today we take a look at the current standings in the race for ‘Tour Survival.’
How can tour places be retained?
At the end of this season (i.e. after the 2023 World Championship), all players not on the first year of a two-year tour card must finish inside of the world’s top 64 on the official world ranking list to remain on the circuit next term.
Additionally, the top FOUR money earners during the current 2022/23 season, who are outside of that top 64 on the two-year list, will earn a fresh tour card. All other players will be relegated, unless they are able to re-qualify through Q School.
What is the provisional end of season ranking list?
The provisional end of season ranking list includes all money earned during last season (2021/22), and from the current 2022/23 season.
This differs from the official rolling world ranking list, which still currently includes prize money from the 2020/21 season which will not count towards the race for next season’s tour places. To provide the most accurate picture of the Tour Survival battle, this money has already been removed from the table.
Who is safe?
All players who were able to earn a two-year tour card for the 2022/23 and 2023/24 seasons, are guaranteed to remain on tour for next season.
All of these players have been highlighted in green on the latest provisional end of season ranking list.
Who is at risk?
All players who finished in the top 64 at the end of last season, or who began their two-year tour cards at the start of 2021/22.
Those higher up the rankings can be confident of their places, but the closer they are to the all-important ‘top 64’ cut-off on the provisional end of season ranking list, the more uncertain their position.
How can players stay on tour?
By finishing in the top 64 at the end of the 2022/23 season.
Traditionally the cut-off point for tour survival, the top 64 on the official world ranking list following the 2023 World Championship will retain their places on tour for at least another season.
What is the cut-off point likely to be? At the end of the 2021/22 season, 64th placed Stuart Carrington stayed on tour with £65,500, while the previous season saw Nigel Bond survive with a two-year total of £71,750.
At the time of writing, David Grace (who currently occupies 64th position on the provisional end of season ranking list), has £50,000 to his name, meaning that the final figure is again likely to fall somewhere between £60,000-70,000 to retain tour status – and importantly – carry ranking points into next season.
The top 64 players next May will each earn a fresh one-year card for the 2023/24 season.
By finishing in the top four of the one-year list, not already qualified
Under the ‘one-year list’ route, the top four players taking into account prize money earned solely during the 2022/23 season, who finish outside of the top 64 on the main two-year ranking list, will earn a new tour card.
This means that players out of the running on the two-year list, for example due to a poor first season (in this case 2021/22), still have every chance of earning a fresh two-year card with strong performances during their second year.
At the time of writing, those currently in place to earn tour places via this route are:
- Xu Si (£22,000)
- Hammad Miah (£20,500)
- Pang Junxu (£18,500)
- Chang Bingyu / Daniel Wells (£18,000)
The four players who finish in these positions at the end of this season will earn a two-year card for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 seasons. Unlike those who qualify through the top 64 however, their ranking points will be reset to zero at the start of next season.
Players to Follow
As ever, the Tour Survival battle looks set to go down to the wire with 12 players within £10,000 of current 65th placed player Mark Joyce.
An ever-present on the professional circuit since 2006, Joyce currently finds himself just the wrong side of the crucial top 64 cut-off, with £1,000 separating him and David Grace. With £17,500 banked on the one-year ranking list so far this season, he is also just £500 behind the final qualifying place on the one-year list, so remains well in contention to retrieve his situation.
Among the other established names who currently find themselves in difficulty, Mark Davis is in need of a strong second half of the season if he is to extend his 31-year stint on the World Snooker Tour beyond the end of this season. Currently £15,000 outside of the top 64 on the two-year list, with only £5,000 earned so far during the 2022/23 campaign, he is in significant danger.
Also in trouble are the likes of Li Hang and Stuart Carrington, who have both enjoyed unbroken spells on the World Snooker Tour since 2013. Like Joyce, both remain in contention via each ranking list, although Carrington has more ground to make up on the two-year list with £9,500 between him and David Grace.
In greater danger is Swizerland’s Alexander Ursenbacher, who having earned just £18,000 last season, looks to have his hoped pinned upon one of the four places on offer via the one-year rankings. With only £8,000 earned so far this season, he will need to find improved form between now and the end of the campaign to avoid a return to Q School for the first time since 2019.
Among those currently inside of the top 64, but far from safe, include two-time ranking event winner Dominic Dale and former German Masters champion Martin Gould, who will both be hoping to extend their current spells on tour.
Follow the latest provisional end of season ranking list between now and the end of the season for the latest standings, with regular updates to follow as the season reaches its climax.