Ronnie O'Sullivan has become the latest player to slam snooker's move towards shorter format events at the expense of sustained quality after suffering a 4-3 defeat to Yan Bingtao in the last 16 of the Northern Ireland Open.
O'Sullivan opted out of participating in the season's first two ranking events – the second stage of the Championship League and the British Open in August – with both of those tournaments settling matches over only four frames, five frames and seven frames respectively.
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Mark Williams – who lost 4-3 to John Higgins from 3-0 ahead in the last 16 in Belfast – has called for longer format matches to be reintroduced to the calendar after winning the British Open final with a 6-4 win over Gary Wilson, the longest match of the week in Leicester by some distance.
Judd Trump has told Eurosport the current trend towards shorter matches is a concern with the British Open played over the best-of-five frames until the quarters which saw an increase until the best-of-seven frames before the final.
He compared the British Open to a "junior event" and said: "There was always going to be shocks in that. The format was too short. They tried to fit an event in, but everything seems so rushed and desperate at the moment."
It is a point O'Sullivan was keen to pick up on after suffering a narrow defeat to Yan as he likened the tournament to a "pro-am" at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.

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"These tournaments are very, very minor, they’re like match practice really," said the record 37-times ranking event winner, who had lost the past three Northern Ireland Open finals 9-7 to Trump. "The three big events that are important are the Worlds, the Masters, the UK.
"These best of sevens are just like pro-ams, like we used to play when we were amateurs.
Obviously Sheffield is the place, York, the Masters. You could probably chuck a few of the Chinese events in there now as they’re quite prestigious tournaments. But otherwise, if you look at the calendar, they’re not the greatest tournaments.
"If I had to choose between winning 10 of these, what are these tournaments called? Home Nations, and one world title, I’d take one world title.
"Obviously that’s a proper event. This is just a bit of match practice. No-one is going to remember you for winning a Home Nations, are they?"

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Length of matches is certainly an issue in the sport in the search for true quality and the correct outcome.
The UK Championship was played over the best-of-17 frames with the final contested over the best-of-31 frames until it reverted to a shortened format after 1992 and a shorter format beyond 2010.
The Masters is the best-of-11 frames until the best-of-19-frames final.
To win the World Championship, a top-16 seed needs to be the first man to win 71 frames over five matches. There is nothing like the World Championship in the sport.
Trump believes that the World Championship will remain snooker's only true major until issues around length of matches and fair distribution of prize money are addressed at other key events on the World Snooker Tour.
O'Sullivan compared himself to 15-times major winner Tiger Woods in coming good under pressure at the game's bigger tournaments rather than eight-times European Order of Merits winner Colin Montgomerie, who infamously failed to lift a major tournament despite winning 31 times in Europe.
"I’d rather have Tiger Woods career than Colin Montgomerie’s. Or even Brooks Koepka," O'Sullivan told reporters. "I know he doesn’t win many of the other events, but you still want to have those four majors tucked away. That’s where the pressure is, that’s where it counts. They’re the blue riband events.

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"Speaking from everybody else I get why they’re excited about them events. If I was Yan Bingtao I’d be super excited about it. My heart has gone out of giving blood, sweat and tears on the tour. I’m happy just to come and hit a few balls.
"I really enjoyed that today. I enjoyed pitting myself against a good youngster who played well, who probably outplayed me and deserved to win.
But at 45 I can take a lot of positives out of that. I’m not sure a 45-year-old Yan Bingtao would beat a 21-year-old Ronnie O’Sullivan, so I kind of flip the coin sometimes. I’m not doing too bad for someone that’s getting on, you know.
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Stream the Northern Ireland Open live and on demand on discovery+, the Eurosport app and eurosport.com.
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