Bendigo's history is steeped in gold mining and World Snooker will be hoping to strike green baize gold, if such a thing existed, with the new Australian Open.

It can only be good news that a new ranking event is being staged down under and let's hope it's a successful first event (it will be on for three years).

Only two of the world's top 16 have failed to make the trip. Ronnie O'Sullivan, as we know, made it to Bangkok and then turned around again.

"We're a long way past the situation where the game revolves round one player. There are several exceptional players that snooker fans and viewers all over the world want to see," is Barry Hearn's view on that.

Graeme Dott was suffering from neck trouble at the Wuxi Classic, where he lost 5-0 to Mark Selby. Those speculating that Dotty withdrew for financial reasons obviously don't know that players in the Wuxi Classic had their business class flights to Australia paid in full.

Thankfully everyone else has made it and the stage is set fair for what is still the game's biggest draw: ranking event snooker, something that palpably matters.

It's not only the locals hoping that Neil Robertson has a good run. For the sake of the event, the 2010 world champion needs to do well and I suspect he will step up to the plate.

He has every right to be proud that his Crucible triumph last year was the catalyst for the Australian Open happening at all.

There are some interesting first round matches, not least the first TV game on Eurosport tomorrow, Stephen Hendry v Martin Gould.

Hendry said last week that he thinks he can return to the top eight. Actually, he comes into the event outside the top 16 in the latest rankings and desperately needing to find a consistent vein of form.

It's not like his game has completely gone, it just goes walkabout too much. Gould has beaten him before and doesn't seem to fear anyone. This is a tough starter for the former Winfield Australian Masters champion.

Judd Trump is also in action on the opening day, against Mark Davis. Judd was the star of the last part of last season but that's all in the past now and he knows he will be under more scrutiny than ever.

Wherever tournaments are staged, one of the usual suspects invariably wins, but as at last season's German Masters the identity of the eventual champion scarcely matters when set against what a week like this can do for snooker.

It's a venture into a new territory and hopefully all involved can play their part in making it a significant one.