The 2020 Snooker shootout is back on the calendar for the 10th year on the trot in what is expected to be a highly entertaining tournament.
It is particularly thrilling this time because a lot of the big guns will be participating, unlike what was obtainable in the past.
In previous years, a host of the marquee names usually opt out of the event, with the event believed to be down to sheer luck and speed. However, for a prize of £50,000, only five of the world’s top 16 could resist jumping in on the train.
That said, this is not the only reason why a lot of the big guns have opted to participate this time. In addition to the increase in prize money to be won, the event is the third of the Inaugural European series – with the series comprising four events in which the highest earner from all four tournaments a grand prize of £150,000 for bonus.
The duo of Neil Robertson and Judd Trump are the current forerunners for that prize. However, since they won’t be involved in the Snooker Shootout, others are given a fine chance to climb that ladder of merit before the Gibraltar Open scheduled for next month kicks off.
The event’s closeness on the calendar to the next event on the Coral Series is one other factor that makes it very important to the top cueists.
With both Robertson and Trump out, Ronnie O’Sullivan is naturally one of the favorites to come out tops at the end of the day. However, with the tournament centering on factors like speed, it remains unknown whether the 44-year-old can vie favorably with the younger folks.
Defending champion, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, who has compiled the event’s highest break of 139, is poised to take on Alex Borg in the opening round under a boisterous, boozy atmosphere.
Elsewhere, Shaun Murphy, winner of the 2020 Welsh Open, would have to Kishan Hirani to contend within the opening round, an encounter that is expected to be a one-sided affair. However, this is only a possibility if Murphy doesn’t suffer from the hangover of the hectic Welsh Open schedules.
Written by: Roland Arum