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Last Updated: Friday, 5 January 2007, 13:19 GMT
Hunter Masters tribute ruled out
By Phil Harlow

Paul Hunter
Hunter enjoyed great success at Wembley
Snooker bosses have decided not to rename the Masters trophy or tournament in honour of three-time winner Paul Hunter, who died of cancer last year.

But this year's German Open pro-am in Furth will be known as the Paul Hunter Classic in memory of the Englishman.

World Snooker has also created an annual Paul Hunter scholarship but the Masters tournament - sponsored by Saga Insurance - will not change its name.

Hunter made his name at the Masters, winning in 2001, 2002 and 2004.

"We felt that a scholarship was the most fitting tribute to Paul," a World Snooker spokesman told BBC Sport, who also confirmed that there were no plans to hold a minute's silence at Wembley.

Former Masters champion Jimmy White, a close friend of Hunter, had led calls for a renamed trophy or tournament at the Masters, which starts on 14 January.

"I won the Masters once in 24 years - he did it three times and came back from ridiculous scores to win," White told BBC Sport.

"He just played out of his skin at Wembley."

Jimmy White attended Hunter's funeral in Leeds
Whoever wins the Masters will dedicate it to Paul, I'm sure

Jimmy White

Hunter trailed in all his Masters finals, coming from 7-3 down against Fergal O'Brien, 5-0 behind against Mark Williams and 7-2 down against Ronnie O'Sullivan to win all three 10-9.

White, who has also suffered with cancer, said the tournament could be a somewhat sombre affair as players and fans reflected on Hunter's absence.

"It's just devastating to know that he's not going to be at any tournaments, but I think it's going to kick in a bit more at the Masters," he said.

"Whoever wins it will dedicate it to Paul, I'm sure."

The new Paul Hunter Classic tournament, which is not a World Snooker tournament, will take place from 23-26 August, and is expected to attract a field including Ronnie O'Sullivan, Matthew Stevens and Neil Robertson.

Hunter made his comeback after his first spell of cancer treatment at the German Open in October 2005.

Organisers contacted Hunter's widow Lindsey before renaming the tournament.


"She not only agreed but also underlined that the new official name is an honour to Paul," said organiser Thomas Cesal.

"She remembered Paul always enjoyed to play this event and experience its the unique atmosphere."

Meanwhile, the Paul Hunter scholarship will be awarded annually to a promising player aged between 16 and 21 with a proven record of performance.

The scholar will be invited to attend the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield, where he will receive support in areas including talent development, psychology, media training and sponsorship.

In October last year, the Snooker Writers' Association renamed its Newcomer of the Year award in honour of Hunter.

Lindsey Hunter has also set up the Hunter Foundation in her husband's memory, a charity to help disabled and underprivileged youngsters play snooker.

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