The Masters are second only to the World Championships on the snooker calendar, so naturally it is extremely prestigious for the eventual victor. But with the final of the 2015 tournament taking place tonight, it is difficult to imagine this competition being remembered for the final, Ali Carter’s return to the sport or even Marco Fu’s 147 in the round of 16.
No, the lasting memory could easily be the yet again record breaking, Ronnie O’Sullivan. It’s unlikely that his 6-1 defeat to Neil Robertson yesterday will be able to overshadow Ronnie breaking Stephen Hendry’s record for the most centuries. Ronnie’s total now stands at 777, and is the one to beat.
He has been called the most naturally gifted player ever to pick up a cue, and with good reason. In addition to having made the most centuries on the snooker circuit, O’Sullivan has also made the most maximum breaks with 13 147’s. He has won the most events of any active player, and is only behind two other legends in Steve Davis and Hendry in the all-time list.
He is the first player to have contested three consecutive World Championship finals since Hendry was in 6 in a row in the 90s. O’Sullivan has also made the most centuries at World Championships. What makes all this even more remarkable is that he hasn’t been ranked number one since May 2010, mostly because he began to pick and choose which tournaments he played in. This was most evident when he won the 2013 World Championships having not played any significant snooker in a year.
It really does take a special kind of talent to do that, and to transcend the sport as Ronnie has done. He will be looking to make his fourth consecutive appearance in a final at the Crucible in May, and having already won the UK Championship this season, you would have to say he is still the man to beat.