RONNIE O'SULLIVAN has withdrawn from the Northern Ireland Open due to "medical reasons".
According to the BBC, O'Sullivan had to pull out of his scheduled opener against Ahmed Aly Elsayed on Sunday.
Full details for why the seven-time world champion won't be competing are not yet known.
The World No1 has ultimately been replaced by Rory McLeod for the event.
The 47-year-old's absence poses as yet another blow for the tournament.
That is after reigning world champion Luca Brecel, Mark Selby, John Higgins, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Ali Carter opted against playing in Belfast.
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The five players decided to skip the competition to play for an exhibition event in Macau instead.
That event has been rescheduled to December but they all remain absentees as they never entered the Northern Ireland Open.
O'Sullivan has been beaten in the final of this tournament three times in a row.
The Wordlsey-born star lost the 2018, 2019 and 2020 deciders to Judd Trump.
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The snooker legend's absence paves the way for yet another triumph for World No4 Mark Allen.
Allen won both the 2021 and 2022 editions of this esteemed snooker competition.
The event is scheduled to run from October 22-29 at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.
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