The 2017 UK Snooker Championship – Who Will Win the Triple Crown Event?

With a total prize fund of £850,000 on offer, and the tournament winner receiving £170,000 and a glittering snooker trophy, there’s a lot at stake for those competing in the 2017 UK Championship. The tournament began yesterday – but what’s it all about and which players are being tipped to take the title?

The UK Championship – The Tournament’s History

The UK Championship has been part of snooker’s calendar of events since 1977. The first edition of it took place in Blackpool, where Patsy Fagan defeated his opponents to claim the £2000 first prize. The tournament gained ranking status in 1984 and it’s now one of the sport’s Triple Crown events. Generally considered second only to the World Snooker Championship, it’s a competition that the sport’s top players are all keen to win.

The prestigious snooker trophy has been raised aloft by some the biggest names in the sport. Steve Davis currently tops the table for the most UK Championship successes, with six wins to his name, while Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O’Sullivan are in joint second, having claimed the title five times each. Other players to have won the tournament include John Higgins, Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, Mark Williams, Doug Mountjoy, Ding Junhui, Jimmy White and John Parrott. 

The 2017 UK Championship – A Guide to the Event

This year’s edition of the tournament is taking place at the Barbican Centre in York. The championship was held at this famous venue from 2001 to 2006, and has been taking place there annually since 2011.

128 players are set to take part in the event, with the first rounds taking place from the 28th to the 30th of November. The successful players will have a well-deserved day off on Friday 1 December, with the second round commencing the following afternoon. Round three begins on Monday 4 December, with the fourth round starting two days later. 

The quarter-finals begin on Friday 8 December, with the semi-finals taking place the following day. The final, which is held over the course of two sessions, will be held on Sunday 10 December. 

Eurosport Player subscribers will be able to watch the first three days’ play via the app, while the BBC will be broadcasting live coverage of the competition from Saturday 2 December onwards.

Top Contenders in the Tournament – Who Could Win the Title?

The winner of the 2016 event, Mark Selby, will be back to defend his title this year. The Leicester-born player will be hoping for a successful start to his campaign to win the famous trophy for the third time when he takes on Basem Eltahhan tonight. 

Former winner Stephen Hendry claimed that, while Selby could certainly claim the title again, Ronnie O’Sullivan will be the player to watch. Speaking to the York Press last week, Hendry said: “He’s getting that winning aura about him again, and it looks to me that players are intimidated by him, which means Ronnie can win matches even when he’s not playing at his best.”

Other bookies’ favourites to take the title this year include Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, John Higgins, Ding Junhui and Shaun Murphy.

Who do you think will win the 2017 UK Championship? Will you be watching the action on TV? Share your tournament predictions with us on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments section below.

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