Stephen Hendry and Ken Doherty get tour cards for two seasons; UK Championship revamped

Stephen Hendry and Ken Doherty
Ken Doherty beat Stephen Hendry in the 1997 World Championship final

Stephen Hendry and Ken Doherty have received invitational tour cards to play on the World Snooker Tour for the next two seasons.

Seven-time world champion Hendry, 53, has won three out of his 11 matches since coming out of retirement in 2020.

Doherty, 52, who won the world title in 1997, reached the third round of the Shoot Out in January.

Both were due to see their current tour cards expire after the World Championship.

Hendry originally retired from the sport in 2012 having won 36 ranking titles and his total of seven world crowns is unmatched in the modern era.

While he elected not to enter qualifying for the Crucible after not practising enough,external-link the Scot and his former adversary Doherty remain hugely popular with fans and the media.

The news of their continued participation came at the same time that World Snooker announced an increase in prize money and a major overhaul to the format of the UK Championship.

Instead of conducting an open draw, a set-up that paved the way for Chinese amateur Si Jiahui to upset 2005 world champion Shaun Murphy in 2021, the new format will mirror the World Championship with the top 16 players seeded and entering at the last-32 stage.

The other 16 players will have to come through qualifiers to reach the Barbican in York.

The overall prize money for the tournament will increase from about £1m to just over £1.2m, with the first prize up from £200,000 to £250,000.