Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis could be painful viewing for snooker fans

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - MAY 02: Stephen Hendry of Scotland waves goodbye to snooker in front of Ex World Champions Steve Davis, Dennis Taylor, Terry Griffiths, John Parrott and Ken Doherty before the Betfred.com World Snooker Championship Quarter Final match at Crucible Theatre on May 2, 2012 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Legends Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis being offered places on the professional snooker tour makes a mockery of the game.

World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn has come up with the idea of handing these two greats of the game complimentary tour cards.

"Both have said they'd be delighted to receive an invitation," said Hearn.

But let's get real here. They may have 13 world titles between them, but Davis is 56 and Hendry 45.

Davis played on the tour this year and failed to keep his card, not even getting close to qualifying for the World Championship currently being played at the Crucible, where he was the fall guy in that dramatic 1985 black ball final against Ulsterman Dennis Taylor.

Hendry – who won a record seven world titles – retired two years ago with his game, as you'd expect, a pale imitation of its 1990s heyday.

There are hundreds of players trying to make a breakthrough in the professional game. Let them get on with scrapping it out for their day in the sun. People still enjoy seeing the old players in action, but let the stars of yesteryear battle it out on the so-called legends tour.

That could be taken a step further with legends events run in tandem with the main tour at the same venues. What a great chief support Hendry versus Davis would be to, say, the World final.

Hearn managed to rocket the popularity of darts and he is now trying to regain some of snooker's lost lustre.

But throwing Hendry and Davis to the wolves in the cut-throat world of professional snooker will make for painful viewing.

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