Monday, 13 May 2019

Random thoughts

Thank fuck they didn't pick Barney for the World Cup and they did actually go on rankings and select Wattimena. I've said before that I care little for the event, but with the thing giving spots straight into not insignificant ranking money, it needs to be done somewhat transparently.

On the Challenge Tour. The ranking list I popped up in the previous post looks like this - won 2 events, won event (x6), then everyone else. By the time we get to the next Challenge Tour, we've already played another four Pro Tour events, and they'll have already had the entries for two more (PC 19/20 take place three days after CT 9-10/11-12 respectively). So by the time we've got to a stage where any form of consistency comes into play, they've already played two thirds of the Players Championship events.

So while I was thinking that the top heavy payout structure is unfair to those who are playing on a consistent basis and not getting Pro Tour spots in favour of those who bink one event, they're not actually playing Challenge Tour events early enough in the season to make any sort of remodelling take any effect before the season's almost done. So what can we do? I think first, you need to assume that they move some of the Challenge Tour events to earlier in the season before you think of anything - what's to stop them holding back to back weekends with the second weekend during the Masters? Sure, some players may prioritise the Dutch Open (unless, of course, they do what I suggested would be a cool idea and use the Dutch Open venue and run straight before/after while many players are already there), but you'd then have 8 events in the bank. Or swap the first Dev Tour weekend in March with the third weekend of the Challenge Tour in June.

How could we rework the prize fund? I think you need to look at both ends initially - but I don't think you can trim off a round of prize money to bump higher up levels. Players are spending a decent wedge of cash to play these, so allowing a decent percentage of the field to get some return is important. So you need to look at the top end - £2k to the winner and £1k to the runner up is 30% of the prize pool. In comparison, a Players Championship event gives 21% to the top two, a Euro Tour event pays 25%, although that does have a huge jump to the winner. Then again, the winner's cheque is less percentage wise than it is on the Challenge Tour.

I think that the players who are capable of getting to the business end of events would not completely hate lowering the prize money to the top two places a touch. If you changed the prizes to the following:

Win - £1500
R/U - £700
Semi - £500
QF - £350
L16 - £225
L32 - £125
L64 - £50

That'd have the same amount of prize money, but you get move for reaching the last 32 to the quarter finals - this'd have this shift in the top 10:

Stephen Burton 3900
Ritchie Edhouse 2700
Boris Koltsov 2375
Jesus Noguera 2125
Cameron Menzies 2000
Andrew Gilding 1775
Shaun Carroll 1675
Callan Rydz 1650
Darren Beveridge 1625
Dave Prins 1600

It's the same top ten, but in a different order - Gilding now goes up to 6th, and Rydz moves to 8th. Gilding has a final, semi, quarter and last 16 in the bank, while Rydz has a final, quarter, last 16 and three last 32 runs. Both of them seem to be better than binking one and getting either one last 32 run (Beveridge), or one last 32 and one last 64 (Carroll). It's still not going to shift Burton off the top spot - and it shouldn't, winning two should still be huge. Similar with Edhouse, he's got four last 16 or better runs. Koltsov has a semi final as well. If you're binking an event and backing it up in others, you should still be on top, but you can see after just two weekends, that it's allowing players with a bit more consistency to edge up the rankings over those with just the one decent result.

It's also making a lot of people slightly better off in the middle order - the number of players with £1k and £750 is basically the same, but if we scan down a bit more, currently 33 players have £600, which would rise to 39. 46 players have £500, this would rise to 49. 58 players have £400 right now, that would rise to 70. That £400 is an interesting one, as that's the amount you'd need to break even, pre expenses, if you played every event.

It's a pity you can't do a rolling ranking of the last twelve months - because of the way players shift on and off tour cards, it'd shaft those like Burton and Edhouse who'd just come off a tour card run.

Of course, the best thing would be to try to somehow improve the prize money throughout - if they could get to a 2000-1200-800-500-325-200-75 payout structure, which would require a 50% increase in funding (or, to put it another way, half of what they waste in holding the Masters - bin that off and you can do the same to the Development Tour as well), you still get the £2k first prize but every other spot gets a decent bump in funding to boot. Maybe I'll roll it back in 2018 and see what might have changed.

Should just mention Beau Greaves in a bit of a BDO spot. It seems as if she did the double in the Welsh Open weekend of events. By double, I mean the senior events. I wonder what odds you'd get on Greaves/Bennett against any other junior pair in the world...

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