I'm surprised that nobody reacted to Phil Yates comments though...
Phil was commenting on Marco Fu, who isn't particularly fast as a player, but still proved himself a handful for everyone in PL this season. Marco was playing a shot with the rest, putting an extension on both the rest and his cue, and Phil observed that 25 seconds is actually plenty of time. He then went on saying something along the lines "A couple of seasons ago I would have thought this is heresy, but now I think that ranking events should actually be played under shot clock". Phil elaborated, saying that he would favour a 30 seconds shot clock with ample provision of timeouts. Interestingly he also stressed on the reason for his change of opinion. "That would prevent players to deliberately slow down for the sole purpose of putting their opponents off" and he added that nobody needs over 25 seconds to play a shot bar exceptional circumstances.
Now I must admit this pleased me.
First and foremost because IMO players should win on the table, not by putting their opponents off with questionable tactics. The rules state clearly that the ref should warn a player who takes excessive time over a shot as this is deemed ungentlemanly conduct. The weakness of the rule is that it's left to the ref to judge it and most have been afraid to put it into force. But the fact that that rule is there is evidence that this practice is NOT what snooker should be about. It's ungentlemanly conduct just as much as making noise when your opponent is on the shot would be (or actually is, because I've seen at least one occurence of a player doing this, by crunching ice several times just as his opponent was down on the shot, and again the ref didn't intervene; it's his opponent who confronted him.)
Next it pleased me because if came from Phil Yates, a man nobody can accuse of being stupid. Nobody neither can claim Phil doesn't know his snooker and doesn't love the game: he's devoted his live to it and it's promotion. He's also not a "Barry Hearn man", he's always been his own man. He's not a ROS fanboy neither, he's actually a massive Hendry fan.
Phil hinted that the outcome of the World Open played a part in his change of opinion.
What the World Open has proved is that it is a myth that you need a long format to have the best players come out on top. Pressure is a main factor and pressure can be triggered in several ways. The very short cut-throat format of the World Open did it. The shot-clock time pressure does it too. Under shot-clock the best players will come on top, the others will struggle more.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not pleading for the disappearance of long formats. I love the UK as it is (bar Telford, it should be brought back in a better place), I love the WC provided a bit of tweaking is done in order to make the final better and fairer.
I'm pleading for variety. For the sake of the audience first of all: different formats will attract more of a cross section. For the sake of the players being tested on all facets of their skills and that includes the ability to think and excecute correctly under (time) pressure.
And before anyone jumps at me saying the PL is a mickey mouse event ... here is what Selby has to say about it: http://www.edp24.co.uk/sport/potters_go ... t_1_719710
Make no mistake: the top players value it very much. Now Mark is going a tad too far ... you can't have a 7 men event, almost purely on invitation, being ranking! "Ronnie moment" Mark?
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