Roland wrote:Well under the Flat 128 it's hard to see how you can give it its own identity apart from keeping it at the same venue.
I'm really interested to see how it's going to work for the Welsh Open next year. That's another 128 to the venue and people will no doubt say it's like a PTC, but the PTC is Flat 128 all at the venue. So rather than thinking of it as being too much like a PTC, you should perhaps look at it as the PTC being the introduction of the Flat 128 as the new standard when compared with Top 16 to the venue facing 16 qualifiers.
I understand the Chinese are still not too happy to embrace Flat 128 so there are plenty of stumbling blocks still ahead for those who are in charge of putting on the ranking events. Let's just hope they come around because it's no guarantee that China will have as many ranking events next season as this. And that's including the World Open being removed from the calendar.
Perhaps the last line about the future being very bright is a bit optimistic because there are still big challenges ahead. But let's face it, who would want to replace the current administration given the progress they have made in the last 5 years?
I was a sceptic surrounding the flat 128 draw because I think the comparisons to it were poor, yes Wimbledon and the Tennis Grand Slams use the 128 draw for the tournament but that isn't simply a 128 man entry - players had to come through qualifying and in essence a truer comparison would be saying that all the tennis entries should be playing a flat draw even if it includes playing an opening round at Roehampton the week before.
In practise though it was rushed, it's proven not to be so bad, it may have been more ideal to start it at the beginning of a season rather than trying to bring it in half way through as they did with the Welsh Open in 2013 but the merits of the system have become more and more apparent - with some of the problems on the way to being ironed out such as allowing the reigning champion, reigning world champion and keeping two players of the host country to play their last 128 matches at the venue but the test is coming which will determine if the system is to have any credit. If it is then all the rankers (barring the Crucible) must have the 128 system. Yes you've said that the promoters of the Chinese events aren't happy at embracing the 128 format but the whole credibility of the 128 flat draw format will begin to be undermined if promoters are able to introduce tiered structures to their events. If everything he has said about 128 is to carry weight then it needs retaining for all the tournaments.
You said Roland that it's hard to give a tournament any identity other than its the one which is played in the Barbican, that one that's played in Cardiff etc, Doesn't this just prove some of the problems that stripping some of the key features of the UK Championship had intimated and highlighted. The UK Championship had it's own identity, all the books I've got at home on the sport all describe the tournament as being Unique in that the matches had the longer distance, the 17 frames is what gave it it's identity now we've got a tournament with 11 frame matches bar the final and as Wildey said you play from four to six single session matches and a double session final, which puts it on a comparison with eight other ranking events, it doesn't make it anything like a major like it used to be.
The reason why people see the Welsh as a PTC is that it's in essence a PTC with full ranking status, You spend three days playing best of 7 frame matches, and in the early rounds you play multiple matches on the same day. All standard features of a PTC. It's only in the later stages does it become slightly different to the PTCs.
Yes the game is in a much better state of health than December 2nd 2009 I'm the first to admit that and you cannot knock Hearn for that but too much change (and in some cases change for changes sake) can and probably will cause problems, particularly if he's puts himself on the record with one thing and then does the complete opposite.