2024 Masters Snooker Tournament: Road to the Top 16

Photo: (World Snooker)

With just under three months to go and six world ranking events left to complete, the stage is being set for the 2024 Masters. This prestigious snooker invitational event, scheduled to take place at London’s Alexandra Palace from January 7th to 14th, 2024, will showcase the world’s top 16 ranked players following the conclusion of December’s UK Championship. This period encompasses all prize money earned at ranking events starting from the 2021 Scottish Open up to and including the 2023 UK Championship.

The remaining counting tournaments leading up to the crucial cutoff date are as follows: Cazoo British Open, BetVictor English Open, Wuhan Open, BetVictor Northern Ireland Open, International Championship, and the UK Championship.

As tradition dictates, the defending champion and reigning world champion will claim the first spots in the draw. Judd Trump, with £558,500 in earnings, and Luca Brecel, boasting £784,000, will be seeded one and two, respectively.

Joining them will be a lineup of former Masters champions, including the legendary Ronnie O’Sullivan with a staggering £831,000, 2018 victor Mark Allen at £760,000, the three-time champion Mark Selby with £547,000, two-time champion Neil Robertson with £472,500, and 2015 winner Shaun Murphy with £466,000.

Likewise, former runner-up Kyren Wilson, with £381,000, and two-time champion John Higgins, with £341,500, seem all but certain to qualify once again, with Higgins maintaining a lead of nearly £120,000 ahead of the 17th place.

Beyond the top nine players, two-time champion Mark Williams, who has earned £307,000, is in a favorable position to secure his 25th appearance at the Masters. Recent winners of ranking events, Robert Milkins with £289,500 and Ali Carter with £283,500, are also in close contention.

The remaining four spots in the top 16 are currently occupied by Jack Lisowski with £258,000, two-time finalist Barry Hawkins with £242,000, Ryan Day with £240,000, and 2011 champion Ding Junhui with £229,500. However, it appears that they will need to work hard to ensure their places, as several players currently outside the provisional top 16 are more than capable of securing a coveted spot by winning one of the upcoming six ranking tournaments.

Among those closely trailing Hossein Vafaei with £223,000 are Gary Wilson with £204,500, Anthony McGill with £183,500, Tom Ford with £182,500, and the 2020 champion Stuart Bingham with £171,000. The competition is fierce, and the battle for a place in the Masters is far from over.

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