Monday 4 November 2019

Grand Slam - dear god

There's been a hell of a lot of bitching on social media about the Grand Slam qualification process, why it only just came to prominence on Sunday I have no idea other than that the main protagonists were huge Mensur Suljovic fans, who think that by him eschewing the qualifier, he should get priority because he won some event over Noppert, despite the fact that the qualification criteria have been known all fucking year and he simply didn't do enough in that period. Deal with it.

So we get to the qualifier itself - and oh my, did some awful players get through there. It looks like it was kind of seeded, in that the top sixteen players in the Order of Merit that were not already qualified that entered the qualifier were on sixteen separate boards, it doesn't look like a perfect seeding order, but then again I'm looking at the live order, if they took it at the cutoff point which might have been before the Euros it'd probably make more sense (de Zwaan's positioning lends something to that theory at least). Not sure why Mervyn King didn't enter?

The qualifiers - we had the following:

Clayton/Evans board - Clemens won
Ratajski/de Zwaan board - Harrington won
Wattimena/Hopp board - Thornton won
Cullen/Brown board - Dolan won
Whitlock/Henderson board - Hughes won
Webster/Beaton board - Webster won
Bunting/Dobey board - (Ross) Smith won
Lewis/West board - (Adrian) Lewis won

That's not pretty. I think a lot of them are fine - certainly no qualms with Clemens, Dolan, Hughes and Ross Smith getting more airtime, and while Webster's been playing like trash he's at least defended his seeding, but Robert Thornton? Ryan Harrington?

As mentioned, I think they should seed this in order of countback first and foremost. This'd have given us seedings of (players not entered italicised, have gone with Pro Tour rankings as tiebreakers because fuck the official order of merit):

(1) Ratajski - Suljovic - (2) Cullen - (3) Hughes; Durrant, (4) de Sousa, (5) Dolan, (6) Clayton, (7) Lewis, (8) de Zwaan, (9) Ward; (10) Wattimena, (11) Brown, (12) Evans, (13) Beaton, (14) Bunting, (15) Dobey, (16) van der Voort

There's no system that pleases everybody, but I think this order would be a heck of a lot more equitable than what's happened. Personally, as stated on Twitter, I'd drop the number of qualifier spots down to 4-6 and let in some of the secondary tour winners directly, as well as eliminating the spots that players get for non-ranked events. The key thing is to debate the issue before it already becomes an issue, there's a heck of a lot of lazy journalism going out there whereby you say something sucks, get challenged as to how you would do it better, and then ignore the issue and just complain about how your favourite players aren't there.

Back tomorrow for the draw, got to get a lot of stuff in before I'm on holiday - will Vegas books have the Grand Slam lines up?

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