chengdufan wrote:Although the focus of these rankings is at the top end, what we see is that there isn't a great deal of difference there. The players get into and leave the top 16 a bit sooner than in the official rankings, but overall the differences are small.
Where the real difference is, is lower down the rankings. There are very significant gaps between players' rankings here, and the official rankings. For the majority of the important snooker players on tour (ranked 17-128) getting the ranking right can be the difference between having a career in snooker, or having to find another job.
That is all subjective though. For the past 20 years Joe Perry has sat quite happily at rank 17-25, he's been through a gazillion ranking tinkers but his ranking never changes. That's one example to prove how the tinkering doesn't change much even down the lists.
And then you have to consider the experienced players dropping out the rankings. Like, having a year off to tour the world or whatever else. Sure, their rankings get dumped, but surely they've already 'earned' the 'right' to be placed when they come back - rather than give the place to someone who potentially just had one lucky run in one big money competition once, but is generally not a 'winning' type player.
And also you have to consider whether snooker ever intended to support 128 professionals in the first place. Barry Hearn can work miracles, there's no doubt, but to go from part-timers with a handful of pros to 128 well payed professionals in 20 years is quite the leap, and many, including myself, don't know whether that's even a realistic goal to aim for.
The real problem is the same as it's ever been - the leap from full-time snookering in your youth suddenly changing to "I need to make a living wage now", meaning that the player can't dedicate themselves to snooker full-time unless they're already winning lots of matches - hence why you get a lot of drop-offs occurring from people's early 20s onwards. It's a form of socialism to suggest supporting the poorer players in their endeavours rather than an issue of ranking positions and ranking tinkering.
The old chicken and the egg, I can't improve my snooker to win matches because I have to work to pay my bills whereas the established pros can practice full-time meaning they're much more likely to beat me in snooker matches, hence I never get the opportunity to quit the day job with my winnings to help me get more winnings.
You could subsidize promising players, but then who decides who's 'worthy' and who's not. And who can ever predict the future mental state of any person as to their future consistency potential.
Which is why Rex Williams and his generation were so keen on the idea of raw natural talent and light hearted dedication. A sort-of You've Either Got It Or You Haven't approach that doesn't 'care' too much if people fall by the wayside, because the naturally talented people will still win-out anyway and will still rise quickly to the top anyway. But to not be mean about it, just treat it as the wonders of a random life, who turns up turns up, who falls down, falls down. The most important thing is ensuring that the players who show up on tele are interesting and engaging potential fan favourites.
And viewers tend to like naturally talented players rather than 'workhorses'. (Naturally talented players wouldn't need to practice full time to win matches regularly).