Ronnie O’Sullivan misses out on Players Championship title defence
Reigning champion Ronnie O’Sullivan will miss out on the 2020 Players Championship after being displaced from 16th position on the one-year ranking list.
O’Sullivan claimed a second consecutive Players Championship title in Preston 12 months ago, sealing glory in sensational style with his 1,000th career century break.
The prestigious tournament is comprised only of the top 16 players from one-year ranking list up to and including the 2020 Shoot-Out.
O’Sullivan entered the Shoot-Out in 16th spot, but Michael Holt’s triumph on Sunday saw him displace ‘The Rocket’ and secure a coveted place in the Players Championship.
O’Sullivan would have faced rival Judd Trump in Round One, but it’s Holt who now faces a show-down with the reigning World Champion in Southport.
With next month’s China Open having been postponed due to the Coronavirus outbreak, just three ranking tournaments now remain before the World Championship in April.
O’Sullivan must enter the Gibraltar Open from March 11-15 if he is to have any chance of qualifying for the Tour Championship the following month, which features the top eight players on the one-year list.
However, the five-time World Champion has never competed in the Gibraltar Open and stated earlier in the season that he could not guarantee he would be playing in the World Championship.
He remains locked level with Stephen Hendry on 36 ranking titles, having lost in the final of the Northern Ireland Open this season – his best run of the campaign so far.
The Players Championship takes place from February 24 to March 1, with other stand-out ties including John Higgins against Graeme Dott, Mark Selby versus Mark Williams and Mark Allen up against Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.