Starting the tournament proper on Saturday, so begins the highlight of the sporting year. Seventeen days of shitloads of snooker, culminating in a bank holiday draped over the sofa fully absorbed. Ronnie O'Sullivan is a strong favourite with the bookies at 9/4, not least because many of the other top dogs look below par this season. No one can write off Mark Selby, the best player of his generation, but his form this season has been a long way short of the previous years. Judd Trump and Ding Junhui are both getting to the point in their careers where they need to fully deliver in Sheffield, or they won't be remembered in the pantheon of greats. That John Higgins and Mark Williams, as well as O'Sullivan, are among the favourites suggests that the crop who've come through in the last ten years, Selby apart, haven't fully fulfilled their potential. So, this is the thread to discuss all things baizey for the following two weeks or so.