Shaun Murphy has responded to calls that he contradicted himself by attempting to qualify for The Open Championship golf event - despite criticising the inclusion of amateurs in professional snooker tournaments.
The 39-year-old was dumped out of the UK Championship in the first round by China’s Si Jiahui after suffering a 6-5 defeat at the York Barbican.
Murphy was furious with the decision to allow amateurs to play at tournaments, insisting Si should never have been allowed to play - prompting fans to point to his own appearance as an amateur when he took part in regional qualifying for The Open in Royal Portrush in 2019.
The 2005 World Champion played down the comparisons, saying: “People are comparing apples and oranges with the golf.
“The Open - the clue is in the name. It is open.
“I know other professional players will have sympathy for my view. I thought the same thing last week.
“I know how bad it looks having said it after losing to an amateur, but that’s what I think.”
Murphy unleashed a tirade of frustration at the decision to allow amateurs after his defeat earlier this week, telling BBC Radio 5 live: “He played like a man who does not have a care in the world, because he does not have a care in the world. It is not fair, it is not right.
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“I am not picking on him as a young man, he deserved his victory. Amateurs should not be allowed in professional tournaments, the end.
“Since turning professional at 15, I have earned the right to call myself a professional snooker player. He hasn't done that. He shouldn't be on the table.”
However, the fallout from Murphy’s comments was massive, with most bar a few players fiercely opposed to Murphy’s unromantic view – not least snooker authorities and World Snooker Tour president Barry Hearn.
In the public domain the Murphy story was the lead on the BBC Sport website almost all day with over a million views.
Even arch-troll Piers Morgan took a day off baiting Meghan Markle to brand Murphy “a massive baby”.
And it was a day to bunker down for the star, with other online critics calling him “a disgrace” and “pathetic”.
Some also noted Murphy had received event invites as a teenage amateur himself.