Nine of the world’s top ten ranked stars are coming to Galway for the 32-player tournament, which takes place in Galway at the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway from 12 to 17 March. World number one and Masters champion Mark Selby, four-time World champion John Higgins, potting sensation Judd Trump, Asia’s top player Ding Junhui and Ireland’s Ken Doherty are among the star names who will appear.
World number five Higgins has been handed a tough opening match against world number 11 Ali Carter, while Mark Allen, currently ranked eighth, will battle it out with world number 16 Mark Davis.
Ken Doherty has been drawn against Kurt Maflin, while Belfast’s Joe Swail has remarkably qualified for this tournament as an amateur.
One of snooker’s richest prizes, €119,000, will be up for grabs in the event, which has been brought to Ireland by Galway brothers Shea and Niall McNelis. Forty million TV viewers worldwide are expected to tune in as the tournament will be televised by channels around the world including Eurosport, Shanghai TV, Beijing TV, Guangzhou TV and Hong Kong’s Now TV as well as stations in New Zealand and the Middle East.
Tickets are selling fast for the tournament which has been expanded to six days this year, with the number of players increasing from 24 to 32.
The PTC series has seen players battling for Order of Merit points over the past six months in 13 locations including China, Bulgaria, Poland, Germany, Belgium and the UK. The top 25 players from the Order of Merit plus the top seven from the Asian Order of Merit have qualified for Galway to battle for the world ranking title.
Tickets from €10 per session are available from www.worldsnooker.com/tickets and www.ticketmaster.ie.
Full draw details are available on www.worldsnooker.com.