Along with the World Championships and the Masters, the UK Open makes up the Triple Crown of snooker. The Big Three. There are seemingly thousands of ranking events in snooker nowadays, but these are the trio that the major players really set their sights on. The big boys get pumped up, the outsiders up their game and fans across the world are treated to some top drawer sporting entertainment. What’s not to love?!
The second biggest event in the snooker calendar – after the World’s – this prestigious competition has run since 1977 and seen virtually every big player from the sport get their chalk-marked hands on the trophy. It’s the first Triple Crown event of the 2017/18 season and snooker fans from far and wide will be tuning in to catch the action.
Here’s everything you need to know about the 2017/18 UK Open Snooker Championships…
Where’s it happening?
Since 2011 the UK Championships has been held in York, at the rather lovely Barbican Centre. In the southern end of the city centre, it’s a venue that holds up to 1,500 seats and not too long back had a £1.5m refit. If you fancy it, tickets start from a very reasonable seven quid and go up to £72.00 for snazzier seats in the later rounds.
When is it on?
The action begins on the morning of Tuesday 28th November. Matches take place throughout most of the next two weeks, reaching their final crescendo on Sunday 10th December. Morning sessions begin at 9.30am. Afternoon sessions start at 12.30pm. And evening sessions kick off at 7.30pm.
The TV coverage
As ever, the BBC will have exclusive coverage of the event with live play, highlights and red button efforts. The BBC’s coverage begins on Saturday, though – they don’t show any of the matches from the previous four days’ worth of first round matches. For that, you can head on over to Eurosport if you have access. Or sign up to their online service, Eurosport Player.
128 players will converge on York and tussle it out in the first round. It’s a straight knockout format, so it’s nice and simple. Win your first round match and you’re into the next round. You’ve then got rounds two, three and four. After that we have the quarter finals, semis and – you guessed it – the final.
Like we say, 128 players will be taking part, so they’ll all be there. From Ronnie to Ding, Trump (Judd, not President) to Robertson. Barry Hawkins and Shaun Murphy always up their games come the big tournaments and we quite fancy Kyren Wilson to come good here. Plus Luca Brecel could impress. But even at a tight 4/1, you really can’t look past Ronnie…
Oh, one chap who won’t be there? Former world champion Stuart Bingham. Why? Well, he’s just started serving a six month suspension for betting on the sport…
The reigning champion
The ironically-titled ‘Jester from Leicester’ Mark Selby currently holds the title after winning it for a second time last time out. He beat Rocket Ronnie in the final, having previously bagged the trophy back in 2012. Can he make it a hat trick? Of course, the man is top class. Last year Selby became only the ninth player to ever win the UK Open Championship more than once.
The prize fund
The total prize pot for the entire tournament sits at a rather tasty £850,000. Here’s the breakdown of who gets what:
- Winner: £170,000
- Runner-up: £75,000
- Semi-final: £35,000
- Quarter-finals: £22,500
- Last-16: £15,000
- Last 32: £10,000
- Last 64: £5,000
Who do you fancy for it? Playing the percentages and backing Selby? Seen O’ Sullivan’s recent form and think he’ll win it? Or do you fancy an outsider like Wilson or Brecel? You can start the conversation in the comments or over on social media…