With the greatest of respect, the announcement about wild cards/former world champions being let back into the game seems a lot of hot air. Let's be brutally frank here, if you're not good anymore you're not good anymore so trying to pretend you're still good enough to
A) qualify for the last 32 of the WC
B) qualify to stay on the main tour
is pointless. History proves this:
Jimmy White got a wild card to play in the 2010 Masters. He played badly and lost 6:2 to Mark King.
But the 47-year-old, who won the Masters in 1984, was candid when assessing how he performed. "It was woeful. It was sickening to play like that," White told BBC Radio 5 live. "
If wild cards are given to veteran players it won't make them better, won't make them win more matches
. The idea is a non-starter in terms of enhancing the sport. It's just old players making a few quid coming back and losing in the earlier rounds. If Hearn thinks great players of the past deserve a comeback, why not create a 'Classic Players' League. Sort of like the Premier League Snooker on Sky but for older players only. The League can run for much of the year, six to eight months, and you win ranking points and some decent prize money. This league has nothing to do with the main pro tour for all the other players.
I think something like that would be the best compromise.
Hearn's approach is a mish-mash. He goes on about stopping the top 16 being protected but then wants to bring his pal, Steve, back onto the tour. It smacks of favouritism or hypocrisy. That may not be Hearn's intention but that's how it comes across.
It's also silly not to have the 128 format or whatever number it is (144?) for the WC. In hindsight, Hearn should have guaranteed all events in the snooker calendar were the flat 128 format - all contracts signed - before announcing this major change. But as it stands, the most prestigious tournament - the WC - is not 128 whereas lesser tournaments are so it seems inconsistent and gives the impression Hearn is making it up as he goes along or contradicting earlier decisions.