TWO-TIME Masters champion Mark Williams has been drawn against Stuart Bingham in the first round of the 2020 tournament next month.

Cwm cueman Williams, who won his titles in 1998 and 2003, is the only Welshman in the 16-man field.

Snooker's top players will convene at Alexandra Palace from January 12-19 for the 46th staging of the non-ranking event.

Defending champion Judd Trump starts the defence of his title against 2015 winner Shaun Murphy.

Ali Carter faces Mark Selby, John Higgins plays Barry Hawkins, Neil Robertson takes on Stephen Maguire, Mark Allen plays Dave Gilbert, Kyren Wilson tackles Jack Lisowski and UK champion Ding Junhui encounters Joe Perry.

Carter is involved because seven-time champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has opted not to play, a decision he insists has nothing to do with personal reasons.

World Snooker issued a statement saying the 44-year-old had withdrawn from the tournament "for personal reasons", but O'Sullivan denies that is the case and says he simply did not want to take part in January's event.

Speaking in his role as a pundit on Eurosport, O'Sullivan said: "I didn't enter so I didn't pull out and there certainly aren't any personal reasons so it's news to me about the personal reasons. I just chose not to enter.

"Everything is fine, I think it's just a mistake on World Snooker's part. I think maybe they felt they needed to put something out. Putting personal reasons out I thought was a bit strong.

"Hopefully they are going to correct it and say it's a mistake and everything is fine."

Asked why he did not want to enter, O'Sullivan added: "No particular reason, it's a fantastic tournament, I just didn't want to really play in it this year. I'm looking forward to doing some other stuff.

"The Masters is such a fantastic tournament, I just think that spot should go to someone who loves the game, is dedicated to the game and is going to give 100%.

"I think the place is better off going to somebody else really."

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia will host a ranking event for the first time next year after signing a 10-year deal with World Snooker.

The Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters will be held in Riyadh from October 4-10 with total prize money of £2.5million as part of the 2020/21 World Snooker Tour calendar.

World Snooker chief Barry Hearn said: "This is a giant leap forward for our sport. We have enjoyed tremendous global expansion over the past decade, particularly in Asia and Europe, and we are thrilled to stage a new and momentous tournament in the Middle East."