This is Part 2 of the Short which explained the One-Year ranking list in snooker and how it is used for certain events. Click here to read that. This post will now look at the Provisional Seedings list and how this is observed in the context of snooker rankings.
Provisional Seedings are basically updates to the world rankings list which is used to determine the seeding positions for future events. This aids event organisers in scheduling matches for specific tournaments. They are also used to predict changes in the rankings and give an up-to-date representation of the current standings.
The official world ranking list is updated after each event however, instead of sticking to a ranking list at a fixed point in time, provisional seedings are updated and used throughout the year. Imagine stockbrokers at Wall Street staring at the prices changing at the end of a quarter. Yeah, it’s the same. This is particularly useful/daunting for those who hover around positions 8 and 16 for specific events – mainly as the Top 16 automatically qualify for the WSC.
With the exception of the Coral Cup and Masters, most other events in the calendar have a ‘cut-off’ point for which their ranking points will be included up to this point to determine ranking positions or seedings for that event. There are seeding cut-off points spread throughout the season so that seedings are as up-to-date as they can be.
For example (at the time of writing), once the China Championship has ended the rankings will be updated to reflect those who have competed. This new ranking list will be used to determine who the seeds are going into the next tournament: the English Open. Similarly, after the Northern Ireland Open is the cut-off for the UK Championship and Scottish Open. The provisional ranking positions can be calculated to determine the seeds for the UK and Scottish Open. Consequently, the performances in the UK Championship will not affect the positioning of the following Home Nation event.
Provisional seedings are observed before and during tournaments by taking into account the minimum a player will be taking as prize money based on the tournament at that current point in time. For example, we are currently in the Last-64 of the China Championship where each player in this round will be taking home at least £4750. This is pretty much a fact so we can add this to all competing players rankings. At the same time, since the rolling system is used where the previous 2 years are accounted for, we can deduct whatever earnings the player gained from this same event 2 years ago (World Open 2017) as it’s no longer applicable to their ranking total.
This gives an idea with reasonable accuracy as to what the standings will look like going forward to the next event. This provisional ranking is updated as the tournament progresses. So, if a player makes it to the QF of the China Championship, we can easily change that £4750 that was added before to £20000.
When Ding Junhui was eliminated from the China Championship, we saw him lose £150,000 worth of ranking points (from World Open 2017) which was replaced with £4750 based on his performance in this year’s China Championship. Due to his first round exit, we were able to look at provisional seedings and see that this would take him out of the Top-16 and view which players are likely to take his position.
In the case of the Masters, it uses the same 2 year rolling ranking method (up to the UK Championship) to determine who qualifies but at the start of a season, we can look at who are in the best spots to make the Triple Crown. For the 2020 Masters, we know those who qualify will be based on ranking points accumulated from the UK Championship 2017-19. If we were at July 2019 – the start of the season – we could take the ranking list and just subtract any of the points earned before UKC 2017 (i.e. July 2017-Nov. 2017) as they are irrelevant, and look at who is in the driving seat.
Hopefully, this makes some kind of sense when it comes to understanding the Provisional Seedings list. It’s easy to think of it as similar to the official world rankings but updating them as each tournament and match goes on to observe potential future changes in the ranking list. And by being to look at these changes will allow you to see who will be able to qualify for certain events.
Provisional Rankings: http://www.snooker.org/res/index.asp?template=35
WPBSA Ranking FAQ: http://www.wpbsa.com/rankings/rankings-faq/