'It doesn't make sense' – Judd Trump explains why snooker's Triple Crown Series has major problem
Judd Trump is one of only 11 players in history to lift the World Championship, Masters and UK Championship, but does not believe the sport's self-styled 'Triple Crown' can be viewed as true snooker majors until rewards for winning each of them are rectified. Ahead of his bid for a fourth straight Northern Ireland Open, Trump tells Eurosport why the theory behind snooker majors lacks credibility.
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It is why he was knocked off his perch in the first place that Trump is still struggling to understand having been undisputed number one between August 2019-August 2021 and winning 11 of his 22 career ranking titles in that period.
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Trump lifted the English Open, Northern Ireland Open, World Grand Prix, German Masters and Gibraltar Open last season while losing the UK Championship and Championship League finals in a rousing run of consistency.
Yet the Bristolian somehow still surrendered the sport's top spot to world champion Mark Selby after losing 3-2 to Elliot Slessor in the last 32 of the British Open in August.
If snooker had majors of equal standing such as golf and tennis in terms of prize money and points, Trump would still be number one, but the rewards for claiming the World Championship blow the rest of the tournaments on the calendar out of the water.
Even winning the Masters and the UK Championship in the same season do not amount to achieving success at the Crucible.
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Neil Robertson earned £200,000 for his 10-9 victory over Trump in the UK final with Yan Bingtao collecting £250,000 for winning the Masters – an non-ranking event Trump was forced to miss due to a positive Covid-19 test – courtesy of a 10-8 triumph over John Higgins.
That is still £50,000 short of the £500,000 handed over to Selby for his 18-15 win over Shaun Murphy at the World Championship in May.
“They are big tournaments, but they should all be the same prize money or it should be the same points because you can’t have the biggest event being two-and-a-half times bigger than any other event," said Trump, who wears a golden crown on his waistcoat as one of only 11 men to claim the World (2019), Masters (2019) and UK (2011) titles.
Phil Mickelson won the US PGA title in golf in May yet didn’t make the American Ryder Cup team last month. And that is on form because the rewards for that one tournament were matched by other big events on the tour.
“It would be similar to Mark Selby failing to play in the World Cup for England even though he’s won the World Championship. It [winning the World Championship] does not mean he’s the best player.
"Like the ranking system, that is another thing that doesn’t quite work. You need three or four tournaments of the same prize money at least for the idea of snooker majors to work.
“The World Championship is a special event. Winning it is enough on its own. I don’t think you should automatically be back to number one on one tournament.
“It doesn’t really make any sense at all."
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Length of matches is another issue. The UK Championship was played over the best-of-17 frames with the final contested over the best-of-33 frames until it reverted to a shortened format after 1992 and a shorter format beyond 2010. The Masters is the best-of-11 frames until the best-of-19-frame final.
To win the World Championship, a top-16 seed needs to be the first man to win 71 frames over five matches.
Trump rates the experience of playing at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast as highly as appearing at the Masters at Alexandra Palace in London.
"I’m confident I can have another good season. I’m just eager to get started because I haven’t played for so long," said Trump.
"Just to be able to get out and travel again and get back to Belfast. Just to play in front of a big crowd again, everyone is excited to get back there.
“I always get good support there so hopefully I can win it again."