How will coronavirus crisis affect Tour Championship?
The Tour Championship is the last ranking event of the season before the World Championship, but how will the coronavirus crisis affect the elite eight-man event?
When is the Tour Championship?
The Tour Championship begins on Tuesday 17 March and finishes on Sunday 22 March.
Where is it held?
Venue Cymru in the Welsh coastal town of Llandudno. It involves the top eight players on the one-year world ranking list after the Gibraltar Open finishes on Sunday.
Will the coronavirus crisis affect the tournament?
The Tour Championship will be played behind closed doors - with no access to fans due to coronavirus. The first match on Tuesday will see Neil Robertson face Ding Junhui.
A statement from WST said: "Following today's advice from the UK Government, there will be no access for fans at this week's Coral Tour Championship.
"At 5pm today the government advised the public to avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues. We have reacted to this advice with the decision to close the doors at Venue Cymru in Llandudno to all fans.
"We realise this will be disappointing to fans, but we must act according to the latest government advice."
Ronnie O'Sullivan is the event's current champion, but has not quaiified for this year's event. Play begins on Tuesday with world champion Judd Trump meeting John Higgins.
Who is defending champion?
Ronnie O’Sullivan lifted the trophy last year with a 13-11 win over Neil Robertson in the final. It was a memorable final with O’Sullivan equalling Stephen Hendry’s record of 36 ranking events. Unfortunately, the five-times world champion will be forced to watch this year’s tournament from his sofa at home.
Why isn’t O’Sullivan defending the title?
He failed to defend his Players Championship last month after Michael Holt, a talented life-long nearly man, lifted the Shoot-Out and his first ranking title to ensure him 16th place on the one-year list and entry to the event. The knock-on effect means O’Sullivan could not qualify for the Tour Championship.
There are ranking points available in Gibraltar, but O’Sullivan has never expressed a desire to play at the venue. The next time you will see him in a ranking event will be the World Championship at the Crucible Theatre in April which is due to begin on Saturday 18 April. Assuming he decides to participate.
Who is involved?
Six men have already qualified for the £380,000 event that boasts a £150,000 first prize.
- Judd Trump
- Neil Robertson
- Shaun Murphy
- Mark Selby
- Ding Junhui
- Yan Bingtao
- Mark Allen
- John Higgins
Who is favourite?
World champion and world number one Judd Trum became the first man in snooker history to win six ranking events in a single season with his victory in Gibraltar. He is also on course to break the record for centuries in a season. He is on 97 with Neil Robertson's haul of 103 from 2013/14 under serious threat.
What is the draw?
- Judd Trump v John Higgins
- Neil Robertson v Ding Junhui
- Mark Selby v Yan Bingtao
- Shaun Murphy v Mark Allen
The quarter-finals are the best of 17 frames, the semi-final the best of 19 frames and the final the best of 25 frames over 21 and 22 March.
- Judd Trump 13/8
- Neil Robertson 3/1
- Mark Selby 9/2
- Shaun Murphy 7/1
- Mark Allen 11/1
- John Higgins 16/1
- Ding Junhui 16/1
- Yan Bingtao 25/1