In an idle moment yesterday, I worked out that Ronnie O’Sullivan has constructed an average of 33 centuries per season since turning professional in 1992.
Stephen Hendry has compiled an average of 31 since he joined the pro ranks in 1985.
With the seven year start, Hendry is ahead on 718 with O’Sullivan on 535.
John Higgins is comfortably in third place but yet to reach 400.
Ronnie may catch the game’s greatest ever player one day but this depends on several factors, not least how long both players continue to play for and how many tournaments there will be to play in.
There were more tournaments when Hendry was at his peak but not as many as people like to remember.
Nevertheless, when he made a record 52 centuries in the 1995/96 season he did so playing in 15 different events.
O’Sullivan made 50 last season playing in only nine.
Included in this was his remarkable achievement of making a ton in each of the five frames he won in beating Ali Carter 5-2 at the Northern Ireland Trophy.
He is now as proficient at banging in centuries as Hendry was in his pomp.
The Scot made seven when he beat Ken Doherty 10-5 in the 1994 UK Championship final.
Hendry also holds the record for the most centuries in a single tournament. He made 16 in the 2002 World Championship.
Hendry, along with Jimmy White, pioneered the attacking game that is common place in professional snooker today.
Players of 30 years ago could make centuries of course but there tended to be far more tactical play.
Perrie Mans won the 1980 Masters without making a half century break, never mind a century.
It is very rare a match in the final stages of a ranking tournament is won without the aid of a 50 these days.
The old adage states that ‘a century only wins you one frame’ but, by the same token, many centuries win you many frames.
Will O’Sullivan ever overtake Hendry in the all time centuries list?
Time will tell but what is clear is that, in this department, these two are head and shoulders above the rest.