Qualifying for the Players
The top sixteen on the one-year ranking list up to and including the Gibraltar Open for the season gets their places. The draw will be split out over the seeds, so the top seed plays the bottom seed, the second seed plays the second from bottom seeds and so on.
So there is a tricky road ahead for both of them. You would get the feeling that he gets past Trump the title is his. John Higgins bombed last season in the first round, losing a decider in his opener against Ding Junhui. He is short in the odds because of his win at the Welsh Open recently. That was his second title this season. He has a pretty shocking record though at the Players Championship and is worth skipping over. However, there was a bit better from him at the non-ranking Romanian Masters last week where he made the quarter finals.
He should definitely be in the mix in this one as he has a comfortable draw. He just busted out a win at the Romanian Open in early March for the second ranking tournament of the season. He followed that up with a win at the Romanian Masters too last weekend, a non-ranking event.
However as the Rocket has swerved a couple of lesser events over the past fortnight, a rival for player of the year has emerged. Until last August, Ryan Day had precisely zero ranking titles to show for two decades on the professional circuit.
Now he has three. Winning this week's Players Championship and extending what is now an match unbeaten run would dwarf those previous achievements but the Welshman is the form man and would not have to meet Ronnie in the final. Back Ronnie O'Sullivan 10u [3.
Given the draw, trying to manufacture an argument against O'Sullivan seems futile. There is simply nobody in his half of the draw whose form has been in the same league. He's got arguably the easiest first round opponent in Graeme Dott and will be a red-hot favourite against any quarter or semi-final opponent.
Mark Allen and Ding Junhui are, of course, potential champions too but certainly inferior, especially on the most recent evidence. Ronnie showed some of his best ever form - which we know to be an unbeatable standard - to land the World Grand Prix and started his Welsh Open bid in similar fashion before running into John Higgins.
That looks the likeliest final and, if it materialises, the similarly resurgent Wizard of Wishaw will warrant the utmost respect. Until then though, there is nobody of that pedigree to worry about. Apologies for what must seem like endless repetition but this quarter is all about taking on the over-rated Judd Trump.