The Irish Open, as part of the newly formed “Home Nations” series of world ranking events to run during the 2016-17 season, will feature two amateur wild cards from the host nation.
Along with the Irish Open, the series will comprise the new English Open and Scottish Open, as well as the existing Welsh Open.
Each tournament will feature 128 players in a flat draw. Once all professional tour players have entered, the two wild cards will have next priority, followed by Q School top-ups.
The wild cards will be selected by the respective National Governing Bodies of the four countries involved, using criteria to be agreed between each NGB and World Snooker.
A similar system was used for the recent Riga Masters ranking event, where amateurs Darren Morgan and Tatiana Vasiljeva were handed wild cards. Morgan enjoyed a superb run to the semi-finals before losing to eventual champion Neil Robertson.
The intention of introducing wild cards is to provide an incentive for the best amateur players to compete in their NGB tournaments with the chance to qualify for a televised ranking event.
Each of the Home Nations events will have total prize money of £366,000, with the winner to receive £70,000. All four tournaments will be televised by Eurosport. Any player winning all four events will receive a £1 million bonus.
The Irish Open takes place at the Titanic Belfast from November 14th-20th 2016.
Full ticket information can be found at www.worldsnooker.com/tickets.