Back in late March, you may remember an ITV tournament which Ronnie O’Sullivan won while also achieving a historic 1000 career centuries. This was the inaugural Tour Championship and the first of its editions. So, what’s the deal with this new ranking event?
Not much, to be honest. An addition to the Coral Cup, which already consists of the World Grand Prix and the Players Championship, the Tour Championship was added for the top of the top of the top. The Grand Prix consists of the Top 32 in the one year ranking list; the Players Championship consists of the Top 16; and now the Tour Championship exists for the Top 8 players.
Unlike most other tournaments, where finals are contested in a best-of-19 frame match, the Tour Championship recognises a slightly longer format where the finalists must try to reach 13 frames to take home the trophy. Not to mention, a prize of £150,000.
Much like the Tour Championship, the Coral Cup is something newly introduced in the 2018/19 snooker season. Starting from next season, whichever player collects the most money from the collective tournaments in the Coral Cup will also net a £100,000 bonus. If this bonus was in effect this season that would have gone to ROS with his considerable wins at the Players and Tour.
I had always been quite fond of the Players Championship especially because you were basically guaranteed top matches every single time where players go all out. But now the Tour takes things to the next level with an increased prize pot and the highest echelon of players. I mean, this was clearly evident in arguably the match of the season with ROS trailing from 6-2 down to beat Trump in the semi-final decider.
All that being said, February to March is a great time to be watching snooker in the coming seasons.