Next week sees the start of the new snooker season as the World Snooker Tour heads to Preston for the Kaspersky Riga Masters and China Championship qualifiers from 31 May – 6 June 2017.
The draws for both events were released by World Snooker (now updated to include Q School qualifiers) a couple of weeks ago, but what you might have missed was the information included regarding wild cards at the China Championship:
“For the 2017 China Championship there will be four Chinese wild cards, selected by the Chinese Billiards and Snooker Association. These four players will come into the draw at the first round (last 128) stage with their round 1 match being held over to the final venue, leaving 124 places available for tour players in the same system as was used in the Home Nations and Riga Masters during the 2016/17 season. These players are guaranteed these spaces and so there are 124 places remaining available to tour players which, had more than 124 players entered would have resulted in pre-qualifiers to reduce tour players down to 124. This is a change to the previous system, where the Chinese wild cards would take part in an additional round, competing against players who had already won their first round matches. Invitational Tour Cards and Amateur Top Ups will then be used to top up the field to 124 players in the event that fewer than 124 tour players enter.”
- At this event there will no longer be the separate wild card round that we have become familiar with over the past decade
- The four wild cards will instead come straight into the draw at the first round (r128) stage.
- A player can only be selected to play a wild card match once per season
- The main tour players selected to play wild cards at this event are: Tian Pengfei, Daniel Wells, Andrew Higginson, Mark Selby
- Had more than 124 professional players entered, there would have been a pre-qualifying round, including players from the bottom 64 places (excluding wildcards) in the rankings. Main tour players can only play on one pre-qualifying round per season. Winners of a pre-qualifying round would have received half of the last 64 prize money and this would count towards the world ranking list.
- At this event, 122 professionals have entered, in addition to two invitational tour card holders and four wild card players, meaning that there is no requirement for a pre-qualifying round.
At the time of writing, this structural change has been confirmed for the China Championship only.
Tickets for the qualifiers are available now, for details CLICK HERE for the Riga qualifiers (May 31 to June 2) and HERE for the China qualifiers (June 3-6).