2016/2017 WORLD SNOOKER CALENDAR OF EVENTS
11th-22nd - 2016 Q-School, Meadowside Leisure Centre, Burton-on-Trent
28th-30th - Indian Open Qualifying, Preston Guildhall
31st-2nd June - China Championship Qualifying, Preston Guildhall
3rd-4th - Riga Open Qualifying, Preston Guildhall
22nd-24th - Riga Open, Riga / Latvia
5th-9th - Indian Open, Hyderabad / India
25th-31st - China Championship, China
25th-28th - Paul Hunter Classic, Stadhalle / Furth / Germany
30th-2nd September - Shanghai Masters Qualifying, Barnsley Metrodome
5th-10th - 6 Reds World Championship, Thailand
19th-25th - Shanghai Masters, Shanghai / China
27th-30th - International Open Qualifying, Preston Guildhall
3rd-9th - European Open, Bucharest / Romania
10th-16th - English Open, Manchester / England
23rd-30th - International Open, China
7th-12th - Champion of Champions, Ricoh Arena / Coventry / England
14th-20th - Irish Open, Belfast
22nd-4th December - UK Championship, Barbican Centre / York / England
6th-9th - German Masters Qualifying, Barnsley Metrodome
12th-18th - Scottish Open, Glasgow
2nd-5th - Championship League Snooker
9th-12th - Championship League Snooker
15th-22nd - The Masters, Alexandra Palace / London / England
21st-26th - China Open Qualifying & Potential Event Qualifying (Australian Open?)
1st-5th - German Masters,
13th-19th - Welsh Open, Cardiff / Wales
20th-25th - Championship League Snooker
27th-2nd March - Championship League Snooker
3rd-5th - Gibraltar Event
20th-25th - Potential Event (Australian Open?)
25th-2nd April - China Open
5th-12th - World Championship Qualifying
15th-1st May - World Championship
Probably the most striking thing looking at the calendar is how busy the players are going to be come the end of May / start of June - pretty much within a month of the 2016 World Championship Final being played. Gone are the days of a long summer off!
Record breaking numbers for 2016 Q-School means the eight available two year professional tour cards will be played over 12 days. The following week there will be a qualifying triple header at the Preston Guildhall for events in Latvia, India and China, as the 2016/2017 professional circuit officially begins.
As we knew earlier this season, the European Tour / PTC era is now over, although some of the tournaments previously staged in that series - Riga, The Paul Hunter Classic and Gibraltar, will be their own separate events.
It appears as if the Riga and Gibraltar competitions will be open to just professionals (and any top-ups), although it is great to see that the Paul Hunter Classic remains open to anyone, as it has always had roots with amateur snooker.
After not being played in the 2015/16 season, it is great to have the Indian Open back - a country with significant Cuesports heritage. Previous editions have been held in October and March, but this time it will feature at the start of July.
Usually in July we also see the Australian Open (a permanent fixture since 2011), but I believe this may be the 'Potential Event' lined up for March. I certainly hope it is, as I feel it is important for professional snooker to have a foothold in that region.
There are four events in China again this campaign. 2015 was a World Cup year (team event), so this time around it is an individual competition called the 'China Championship'. I was expecting the Wuxi Classic to return, maybe this has just been rebranded? Same could be said of the International Championship / Open?
Basically replacing the European Tour is this new 'Home International' series of events that consists of new ventures the English, Irish and Scottish Opens, alongside the established Welsh Open. Should anyone claim all of these titles in the same season, there is an incredible £1million additional bonus up for grabs.
Another exciting addition is the European Open that is scheduled to take place in Bucharest, Romania during October. This will be a major ranking title with all 128 entrants playing at the venue. I think World Snooker have been very clever with this - they have obviously seen how popular recent exhibitions over there have been.
All other regular events remain, although the Snooker Shootout, World Grand Prix and Players Championship are yet to have confirmed dates. The Gibraltar (Open?) moves from December to March, whilst The Masters is still in January, but a week later than usual.
Written and published by Michael Day on the 18th April 2016