Mark Allen will not defend his Champion of Champions crown after withdrawing from this year’s event due to personal reasons.
The Pistol romped to the title in emphatic fashion 12 months ago; beating Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump before seeing off Neil Robertson 10-5 in the final.
However, the world number nine has chosen not to participate in this year’s tournament, which takes place at the Bolton Whites Hotel from November 15-21.
Shortly after the announcement, Allen tweeted: “Sorry to Matchroom and anyone who was coming to watch me. Hopefully be back next year.
“One of my favourite events of the year. Hope the event is a massive success. Good luck to all involved.”
The recently crowned Northern Ireland Open champion has racked up career earnings of around £3.3 million, but recently declared himself bankrupt.
World number 10 Ding Junhui has been invited to the event as the third player to earn his place via the world rankings after Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stephen Maguire.