Titanic Belfast to host new Irish Open tournament

Joe Swail
Belfast player Joe Swail reached the World Championship semi-finals in 2000 and 2001

Titanic Belfast is to be the venue for the new Irish Open tournament in November, at which 128 of the world's leading players will compete.

The world ranking event is part of the new Home Nations quartet of events - any player who wins all four tournaments will receive a £1m bonus.

It is the first professional tournament in Northern Ireland since 2008.

"It's brilliant. Everyone's been asking about an event here and now we've got one," said Belfast player Joe Swail.

The format for the tournament, to take place from 14-20 November, will be a flat draw with all players starting in the first round.

Total prize money for each of the Home Nations events will be £366,000, with the winner to receive £70,000.

"There's definitely an appetite for a ranking event. Belfast is a brilliant place and I think the event will be a great success," added the two-time World Championship semi-finalist.

"I feel as if snooker is coming home with these new big events in the UK.

"I know the game is growing massively in China and it's nice to travel.

"But for snooker in the UK to keep improving, it's important that we develop the game at grassroots and it helps the profile of the game having tournaments like this."