Judd Trump admits he was disappointed to see a master’s project in Saudi Arabia canceled during the Covid pandemic.
Goodernaut insists that if the Middle East offered a big-budget golf-style competition round, all snooker players would rip their hands for it.
An event scheduled for Riyadh in October 2020 was expected to offer a massive first prize of £500,000 – like the World Championships – and a total prize pool of £2.5 million.
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This level of rewards has exceeded even the lucrative Chinese tournaments that were removed from the schedule due to Covid and remain absent.
Match Room Group, the owner of the World Snooker Tour, has promoted massive boxing shows in the country.
Anthony Joshua won his match there against Andy Ruiz, but lost a second fight in an effort to avenge the first loss to Oleksandr Usyk earlier this year.
Trump, 33, is closely watching a golf situation that has seen confirmed PGA stars move to the Saudi-backed LIV Tour after receiving millions of dollars.
Direct financial comparisons between the two sports are clearly unrealistic because only a handful of snooker players, including Trump, are able to earn seven figures in a single season.
Some golfers with fortunes in the tens of millions rejected the Saudis, realizing they were already prepared for life anyway, which made the decision to stay loyal easier.
And of course, Saudi Arabia is often accused of using high-profile sport to cover up its questionable human rights record.
Amnesty International has highlighted the country’s “bad” reputation, due to restrictions on freedom of expression and women’s rights, as well as the application of the death penalty for crimes not recognized elsewhere.
But the former world champion Trump is hoping to revive a 10-year deal for the current tournament, while saying no snooker player can turn down a competition circuit in the Middle East.
Trump said, “I don’t think the event is going to happen again now — I’m afraid it’s gone. Look, you don’t really know what’s going on behind the scenes.”
“It was great to see the numbers on display when this tournament was first proposed and announced in Saudi Arabia. It has been a long time now, but hopefully they can replace it with something similar.
“If something happened to golf for snooker and there was an alternate round that the Saudis gave, I think all the players would leave.
“The golfers were of course in a different situation, and they were financially secure at first. So, for me, some of them made the wrong decision.
They already had 30, 40 or 50 million dollars in the bank and they didn’t need to do that. In snooker, 99% of the players live from one selection stage to the next.
“So that would be kind of a no-brainer. Snooker could only help if there was money and competition.
“It will benefit everyone in the long run. We have seen in golf that the PGA raised money for some of its events and found the money somewhere.
“A few players were a little greedy, but I think golf will benefit in the long run.
“I hope we can organize new tournaments in new regions in the future. The entire Middle East is trying to take an interest in their sport now.
“Hopefully we can be a part of it in the future, as well as in countries like America. I got many calls from America to go and do exhibitions there.
“So there is interest, although we had to change the format here and there to make it faster and more free.”
Trump would like to see snooker continue to look for new areas to host tournaments, but he believes the players themselves are playing a big role in spreading the word about their style of play.
He added: “We hope to have more big tournaments especially without the Chinese events which left a big void and something was missing.
“It is also up to the players to make the game bigger and more attractive. Some of them may not always do their best in this regard.
“Things like riding a peloton and things like that will never help. So it’s partly the fault of the players themselves.
“They have to take responsibility and make the game more attractive as a spectacle and more fluid.
“The more exciting the game, the more countries will see and raise their hands and want to organize and host events.
“If there is 128 Ronnie O’Sullivan, I have no doubt that there will be a championship every week of the year.
“I think you have to look at the style of play, and also the players realize that they can be shown on TV playing a certain way.
“And it works both ways, players have their part to play, but they also want World Snooker to bring in more sponsors behind the scenes to try and help us run more events.”
Betfred * The rights of mixed doubles around the world.