John Higgins is adamant the elite eight-man £380,000 Tour Championship is the third biggest tournament in snooker behind the World Championship and Masters.
Speaking after his epic 10-9 quarter-final win over young UK champion Zhao Xintong on Monday evening from 8-4 behind, Higgins warmed to the theme of what constitutes a genuine snooker major.
While the self-styled 'Triple Crown' of the World, Masters and UK Championship have been unquestionably promoted by the BBC and World Snooker Tour over the past decade – with players also sporting an emblem if they complete the treble in their respective careers – the Scotsman, one of only 11 men to achieve the feat, rejects the suggestion they are the three key titles.
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The 31-time ranking event winner has placed the World Championship, the invitational Masters, involving the top 16 in the world rankings, and the Tour Championship – fought out between the top eight on the game's one-year list – as the three most prestigious on the professional circuit.

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"It has taken over the UK Championship without a shadow of a doubt," insisted Higgins, who is aiming to end a memorable season with victory in Llandudno before he chases a fifth world title next month.
The Masters is an incredible tournament now obviously at the Alexandra Palace, but in my eyes this is far bigger than the UK.
"When I turned professional, you were maybe past your best in your late 30s," said Higgins, who qualified for the Tour Championship alongside Ronnie O'Sullivan and Mark Williams, a remarkable 30 years after the 'Class of '92' turned professional.
"You see other guys like Joe Perry and Rob Milkins winning tournaments, the old guard are still in there fighting," he told ITV ahead of a semi-final meeting with Judd Trump or Luca Brecel on Saturday.
"Ronnie and Mark still here competing. They should be proud because the standard is really high now.
"In my eyes, it is the highest it has ever been, but the three of us are still there competing in the top eight in the last tournament of the season which is a great achievement I think.
"Without a shadow of a doubt, even if I lose I enjoy the moment and the occasion because it won't last forever. I'll certainly be savouring the semi-final," commented Higgins, who has lifted four world titles, three UKs and two Masters over the past 30 years.
Higgins' viewpoint is shared by Eurosport commentator David Hendon, who questioned why any player would base their success on only three events.

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"The modern metric for success is the ‘Triple Crown’ of World Championship, UK Championship and Masters, although this is not the historic measure many would have us believe," wrote Hendon.
"Steve Davis would not have recognised the ‘Triple Crown’. In his day, the new events which counted towards the world rankings were considered majors. At the 1987 Masters, Davis lost in the first round and, when asked why he thought he had only won the tournament once, replied that he possibly did not try as hard as in the ranking events.
"The last player to actually complete the Triple Crown in the same season was Mark Williams in 2002/03, but not much was made of this at the time.
"However, when Williams also won the other BBC televised event – the LG Cup – at the start of the following season, he was said to have completed the ‘Grand Slam.’ Nothing more has been heard of this since the BBC dropped their fourth event in 2010."

Latest Tour Championship results

Quarter-finals
Monday, March 28
  • Zhao Xintong [1] 9-10 John Higgins [8]
Tuesday, March 29
  • Neil Robertson [2] 10-6 Mark Allen [7]
Wednesday, March 30
  • Ronnie O'Sullivan [3] 10-9 Mark Williams [6]
Thursday, March 31
  • Judd Trump [4] v Luca Brecel [5]
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