It was fitting that, 30 years after Alex Higgins tearfully embraced his baby daughter, Lauren, on the Crucible stage, Ronnie O’Sullivan cradled his young son, Ronnie junior, after winning a fourth world title tonight.

Higgins and O’Sullivan are cut from the same cloth, or more particularly baize: controversial characters loaded with charisma, brilliant at snooker, huge box office favourites but liable to invite scorn as well as acclaim.

Tonight saw another chapter written in the life and career of Ronald Antonio O’Sullivan. It was clearly a very satisfying one for a player much discussed but rarely bettered at his best.

Ronnie has lived a tumultuous life but away from the soap opera which surrounds him is actually a nice bloke. All he ever wanted to do was play snooker and it goes without saying that he is a brilliant snooker player.

I don’t agree that this World Championship is the best he’s ever played but it is arguably the most consistent. He has seemed serene throughout, keeping his discipline and his patience, determined to complete the job.

In all departments he has excelled: long potting, break building, safety, tactics and temperament.

He was right in what he said at the end. The World Championship is an endurance test. It requires stamina, both physical and mental. It is clear Dr. Steve Peters has worked wonders with this fractious, fragile spirit.

O’Sullivan did not announce his retirement in the arena. Instead, he said he would take a few months off.

That’s up to him. Players do not have to enter every tournament. He has been fined the last couple of years for entering events and then withdrawing but there is no edict as to how many competitions a player should enter.

The good news for O’Sullivan is that, as world champion, he will automatically be seeded second for every event (other than those in which he is defending champion).

Therefore, he can effectively have a free year playing in as much or as little as he likes.

He’ll defend his title at the Crucible next year. Why wouldn’t he?

Snooker is the glue which holds his life together. How else will he get the kind of buzz he experienced tonight?

O’Sullivan is one of those rare characters who transcends the sport in which he plays. He is a name known to those who don’t follow snooker closely.

Once again, he has put snooker on the map. He deserves nothing but praise for winning a fourth world title.

O’Sullivan already had a free pass to the pantheon of greats but he has just underlined what everyone already knew: that he is one of snooker’s all time legends.

What a player.


Anonymous said...

Ronnie is THE GREATEST!!!

Pool players said...

To be a good snooker player, one must know how to discipline his self, because health plays a big part in every sport.

Anonymous said...

Ronnie can equal or surpass hendrys 7 titles if he continues to play like that. On another note noone does snooker like the BBC,coverage and analyis was excellent ,however dennis taylors commetry was very poor,the number of mistakes he made over the 17 days was amazing,how he is given a role ahead of the brilliant Clive everton is a mystery.

Anonymous said...

Strange that he is the oldest champion since 1978 or whatever. His game is in decline re long pots etc but mentally he is better than he perhaps ever was albeit he still speaks off the cuff in an unfettered way giving his detractors ammunition by saying he will retire again. The thing is he must know that there will perhaps realistically only be one more world title if that. In the heat of the moment people say silly things re the winner of the event- Higgins was said to be good for a few more the last time he won- the reality is all the men in the late 30s - O'Sullivan, Higgins, Williams are in decline- Trump and others will come to the fore

Anonymous said...

Talking of Clive- why does he no longer write for Guardian? Seems to have stopped some time during 2011

micky quinn said...

Ronnie is the best player by FAR but the greatest for now is still Hendry. A few more throphys might change that !! UK, masters or worlds...

Anonymous said...

I don't buy all this guff about Hendry being the greatest because he won seven world titles, it all seems very subjective to me. Joe Davis' record of 15 titles is dismissed because he had no world class competition at all until his brother came along, but when we consider the likes of Ronnie, Higgins and Williams, the competition they faced in each other doesn't seem to be accounted for in these debates.

Williams was put out of the WC on four occasions by the other two players, and Higgins likewise, whereas Ronnie has been beaten three times by Higgins. Perhaps we can only say with certainty that Higgins in 1996 wouldn't have gone on to life the title, and possibly in 1999 too. Take two of those players out of the equation though, and the remaining player had a potential 6/7 world titles in them, possibly with more to come.

Toestubber said...

O'Sullivan played very well throughout the final but not as good as either 2004 or 2008 when he was simply sublime from start to finish and demolished Hendry 17-4 in the semis. Carter looked shattered this afternoon and evening but fair play, he's came from nowhere and I've enjoyed his matches.
I've got to gripe about something so it may as well be the football strips in the front seats. Who in their right bloody mind wears a football strip to the world final?

Mat Wilson

Kenn Fong said...

I am new to snooker, just a dopey Yank in San Francisco. I started watching YouTube videos and there was this young fellow who could look at the table while the balls were still moving and then step up immediately for the next shot.

He also had a very animated expression on his face. If he slid a few inches past his target spot, you'd see his disappointment.

Most of all, he loves to entertain.

To make him even more unreal, he admires and respects his opponents.

I am so lucky that the very first World Championship I chose to watch was Ronnie's 4th.

Thanks, Dave, for a wonderful first season of watching snooker, reading SnookerScene, and listening to you explain things.

David said...

I must congratulate Ronnie on his fourth world title, he played excellent all matchs sublime at times. What was missing for me was Clive Everton, I don't know why the BBC team have put Ken Doherty in front off Clive. Its the first time I watched snooker with the volume muted when he was commentry box.

Anonymous said...

thats him now up to =4th best ever in my list.

Anonymous said...

he won the wc, he lost the glandular fever ;)

Anonymous said...

Well if that win doesn't motivate John Higgins to come back and once again top Ronnie's World Champs titles I'll eat my hat. Not a vintage final but well deserved, and I say that as someone who doesn't much like Ronnie. Really hope to see more of Jamie Jones, he was an absolute star. And Maguire really missed an opportunity this year - and he knows it.

Keith said...

Ronnie was great, but far too many of the matches we were looking forward too were one-sided for it to be a great tournament: O'Sullivan-Edbon, Higgins-Hendry, O'Sullivan-Williams, Maguire-Hendry... Carter-Trump was the only exception.

Dzierzgul said...

Many congratulations to Ronnie, he deserved it. Everything about his game and temperament this year has been written, so no need for me to add.

However, I'm not that happy with his decision to take time off. On one hand I can completely understand it. Even if he wants to play as long as possible, he still has only about 10 years of professional career ahead of him. Therefore, sorting out his private life becames more important than ever. The day of retirement, voluntary or forced by a ranking slip, is approaching and Ronnie must do anything to build a good life for himself, even if this means less tournament appearances.

However, with being World Champion comes special obligations. For a season one becomes THE ambassador for a game. So, if he's not there in Wuxi, Australia or Shanghai, it diminishes these tournaments a little because the best player (formally) isn't there. It's like World Championship itself got into a decline after Joe Davis' whithdrawal.

So, despite I believe Ronnie should first of all be loyal to himself and seek long-term solutions for his life problems, having a part-time world champion is not that good for the game.

Maybe for the future some special rules should be introduced that 'punish' the world champion more for not entering events. As I said, with this title comes great responsibility.

And one more thing: a very big thank you to Dave for his excellent coverage of the World Championship, both on this blog and on twitter. Thanks to you and your fellow bloggers the World Championship are even more fun for me than they were before.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with anon at 10.55pm. Taylor, smashing bloke that he is, is becoming the Henry Blofeld of snooker with schoolboy errors littering his commentary. He said the mid session interval was coming up after at the end of the 28th frame when it was the 29th. At the end he then fluffed his words trying to say that no one older than him had won the WC since 1985. In fact I notice other commentators are making basing errors, eg Thorne said O'Sullivan was 16 ahead and needed the brown where in fact he was 16 behind and needed all colours; he then said O'Sullivan needed 4 to win at 13-7 when in fact he needed 18. OK, we can all make mistakes but when several are made in quick succession they do become irksome.

Anonymous said...

Great dig at Hearn by O'Sullivan after the match saying he's going to take about 6 months off. So, he should be ready for the UK and Masters.
I don't blame you Ronnie - you are the sport's biggest draw by a mile, and shouldn't be forced to go to Australia or to another minor PTC for peanuts?

Anonymous said...

What a champion!

And what a joy to watch the entire WC this year, with the O'Sullivan - Robertson QF being one of the highlights, along with that unbelievably impossible 92 clearence by Ronnie, Luca Brecel showing his potential, Williams being booed and Stephen Hendry's whole 147/retirement story (obviously).

Carter did have a great run, but unfortunately his eyebrow movement was more interesting than his snooker.

O'Sullivan showed he can still win multiple ranking events in one season, including the most important one of all.

If I would be getting carried away I'd ask: what's next; Succesfully defending the world title next year? Going up to number 1 again? Another triple crown? 4 more world titles?

kildare cueman said...

Great achievement by Ronnie, and title 4 puts him, along with Higgins, firmly into the all time greats.
I agree with you that this was not the best hes ever played. The two years he dominated Hendry in the semis saw a peak Ronnie. Top class safety, then a frame winning break.

I think the factors that that made this years win possible were his application/attitude, the improvement in his long potting, and a favourable draw.
I'm not saying he drew weak players but all his opponents, apart from Ebbo, were ones that tend to hold Ronnie in awe and rarely play well against him.
As a Ronnie fan I was pleased to see Selby and Higgins in the opposite end of the draw.

I think talk of beating Hendrys 7 titles is a tad fanciful. Only last year there were bloggers on here saying he would never win a tournament again. This was in the wake of Higgins completely dominating the season, a factor I feel may have motivated O'Sullivan to keep trying.

It will add an extra interest to the next couple of championships, if Higgins or O'Sullivan can go close, to see who can win their personal battle and reach 5, which would surely prove definitive.

Anonymous said...

Rather to the cry of freedom goes the instigation of Ronnie as a lone voice of genius in the sport.
Better to know him as a squandered talent, given that once in every so many years the Halle Bop comet bursts not life, then disappears again as all stars regrettably do.
Ask NIck Cave.


Hi David. As I said last night, great stuff by O'Sullivan. He claims his fourth world title, 11 years, to the day, since his first.

Ray said...

Ronnie's entrance music was "Let me entertain you" and he's certainly done that over the last 17 days,and then some! There was an artist in the audience and there was also one weaving his magic on the green baize. And the 92 clearance in Frame 7 ..... well what can you say? I sat watching in awe because it was really jaw-dropping. There's very few sportsmen over the years that can give you all these wonderful emotions. Such brilliance. Hope he goes on for a few more years at least because I'm greedy.

Anonymous said...

He quite obviously won't be taking six months off: the Premier League starts in three months and he'll be in it.

Anonymous said...

The mistakes in commentary both factually and grammatically should not and will not deter the BBC from their quest to ensure that world champions commentate on the sport.

Anonymous said...

oh, so he won. was there a press conference? did he request oral sex?

Anonymous said...

1.41. Dont let your jealousy turn you into a bitter little man.

Anonymous said...

eurosport has much better commentators than BBC

i only switch to BBC when frame is over to hear Steve Davids and Hendry

Anonymous said...

"...there is no edict as to how many competitions a player should enter."

Does Mr Hearn agree ? I'm not sure...

Anonymous said...

"but when we consider the likes of Ronnie, Higgins and Williams, the competition they faced in each other doesn't seem to be accounted for in these debates." - anon @ 12.49am

Williams did not have the drive to surpass Hendry's records. Nor did O'Sullivan. I think both players would acknowledge that.

Higgins, it is worth remembering, did not win his second world title until he was a fortnight away from his 32nd birthday.

As for talk of O'Sullivan breaking Hendry's record of 7, this seems a bit fanciful considering he is only just half way to breaking the record at the age of 36, would be 40 by the time he broke it, and that is assuming he wins the next 4world titles. Given that at 36 he is the oldest player since 1978 to win it, I can't see this happening.

Anonymous said...

What is the point of Ken Doherty? He adds nothing.

Anonymous said...

He was great,I really enjoyed his win,best player ever for me.It helped that I put £100 on his win, (9/1)at a very good price,some months ago........

Anonymous said...

I think Ken Doherty is very good and at least he's won it unlike the awful Willie Thorne. Commentary congrats also go to Terry Griffiths and particularly Neal Foulds who is brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Let's talk about the commentators and presenters and rate each of their performances out of 10 for the championship

John Virgo - class act as always in terms of the voice and his words from the box (despite the fact he looks like a total scruff) - 9/10

Ken Doherty - Very good and surprised me how improving he was in the box - 8/10

Dennis Taylor - The absolute master, he times what to say and when to say it just about to perfection, alongside JV has to be the best - 10/10

Steve Davis - Decent in the commentary box but better sitting with Hazel - 8/10

Mike Hallett - Very good, better than I thought he would be, he is improving fast - 8/10

Dave Hendon - Very good journalist and with the written word, such as in this blog, but not for me in terms of the commentary box though sorry Dave - 6/10

Joe Johnson - Not very good at all, I have to say, nice guy probably though - 4/10

Stephen Hendry - Not very good in the commentary box or sitting with Hazel, he needs to lighten up a bit - 5/10

Willie Thorne - Liked him in the early days, was very innovative at that point, especially in the Dougie Donnelly maximum feature days but then got very very annoying but this tournament for me came back to form a little bit despite numerous mistakes - 7/10

John Parrott - Fast improving in the commentary box, I would say he is better there than he is sitting with Hazel - 8/10

Hazel Irvine - Consummate professional but doesn't put you at the ease that a Dougie Donnelly or David Vine would - 3/10

Rishi Persad - Sure he's a nice guy but no charisma whatsover in front of the cameras - 1/10

Rob Walker - An irritating person overall, but something likeable about him - 7/10

Phil Yates - Consummate professional as ever, well versed, good knowledge, but something missing for me in the overall package - 5/10

Andy Goldstein - Not directly involved but an avid commentator on the radio, a master in his words about the sport and for me BBC missing a trick not getting him on there - 8/10

What does everyone else think?

Anonymous said...

If you ask me, the commentary box is sorely lacking a journalistic slant these days. The best combination is someone from a journalistic background and can imbue the commentary with a narrative (Clive was exceptional at this) and a player to offer insight into shot selection and the more technical aspects. Dave isn't quite equal to his Sith master yet, but anything less than 8 is having a laugh. Taylor is clearly in the early stages of Alzheimer's; Virgo, well, we'll find out where the cue ball is going within a matter of seconds him bellowing into the mic; Thorne is good on break building aspects, not so much on the tactical side of things; Terry and Neal Foulds are generally the best ex-player commentators, and Parrott has proven surprisingly adept also. Hendry and Doherty have been out of their depth to be honest, with Hendry's tactical naivete sometimes coming through and Doherty often sounding like a broken record; Davis simply gabbles on too much. There are only 3/4 current commentators I would keep on the BBC team.

Anonymous said...

958, i think your list is rotten

mike "my apologies" hallet is the worst commentator i have ever had the misfortune of listening to, in 35 years of snooker. shocking!

also, stating your going to rate the commentators performances then starting off with a pop at the way one looks, meant i read the rest of your post with a smile. not laughing with, though.

Anonymous said...


You didn't rate Griffiths or Foulds - 10/10 for both.

Gerard said...

Doherty and Hazel do not add anything for me. Parrot and Davis would do fine on their own. Ken just laughs at his own jokes really loudly and Hazel .. well, she just stays at the surface too much while the (ex-)players add depth and relevant insights in the actual snooker.

As for commentary: none score 10/10 for me, but the highest 'ranked' with 9/10 are Hendon and Virgo.

Then there's a whole bunch of half decent commentators.

And then there's Thorne, way at the bottom with 0/10.

JIMO96 said...

We all think you watched NONE of the World Championships at all 9:58

Anonymous said...

John Virgo - OK he repeats the same old phrases, but he does it in a very entertaining way ("where's the cue ball going" x 2 at the end of the Mark Allen match was brilliant). 9/10

Dennis Taylor - nice guy but his commentary doesn't do anything for me, always wittering on about golf, legends etc 6/10

Willie Thorne - I know he gets a lot of stick but he nearly always calls a shot correctly that you didn't see coming - like him a lot 8/10

John Parrot - better in the comm box than the studio, let's have more of him there 7/10

Ken Doherty - pointless 1/10

Steve Davis - better in the studio than the comm box, usually pretty insightful 8/10

Stephen Hendry - all the makings of an excellent commentator in the future - excellent analytical skills 8/10

Neal Foulds & Terry Griffiths - put these together as there styles are very similar and often seem to be paired together - no hyperbole (unlike some of the others), just honest appraisals - both 9/10.

Hazel Irvine - meh 3/10

Rishi Persad - pointless 1/10

Anonymous said...

replay to commentatrors post

my favorite commentators pair are dave hendon and joe johnson

i enjoy when those 2 commet matches

Mike is not bad as well

as for BBC -i only like Dennis Tylor(if somone other than him commentating i just switch to Eurosport)

Willie is so annoying

CRO snooker fan

Anonymous said...

cro obviously likes listening to some people make mistake after mistake.

if it wasnt for dave (and alan) eurosport would be a comedy channel when snooker is on.

next time you watch, just keep a tally on how many errors they make.


dave, alan mc (and occasionally the odd other) are the only ones who comment without wittering and add something to whats being watched.

the rest blether nonsense.

oh, and wherever they do the commentary from has a slower feed than me.

about 3 seconds after a near miss goes in, you hear jj go, hes missed it, then, oh no he hasnt. couldnt be more annoying.

Anonymous said...

9.58pm here...a few points glad I started off a nice little conversation there....

1. Yes I did forget Terry Griffiths and Neal Foulds, thank you for pointing that out...

Terry Griffiths - Decent knowledge but very boring in the box - 4/10

Neal Foulds - Very good deep booming voice for the commentary but not sure about the substance, he's improving though - 6/10

And it had to be said about John Virgo being a scruff...I mean it was final day and he knows he will be caught on camera at some point and he doesn't brush his hair, he wears jeans, he basically looks like he's just fallen out of bed. The only one not to make an effort. I'm surprised the BBC let him away with it if I were them I'm be wrapping his knuckles.

Anonymous said...

it's not annyoing in my eyes

i am new in snooker and i just stated watch like 2 years ago but i haven't miss tournament since then

Eurosport at least cover most of events even PTSc

I truly admire this blog and eurosšort comennatory team

at least they are not boring like dorothey,willie and BBC gang

CRO snooker fan

kildare cueman said...

Commentary performances can vary depending on the viewers playing ability.

As someone who played the game to a reasonable standard, for me the best commentators by a mile are Foulds and Griffiths.

I dont mind Thorne and think McManus is decent, despite his accent.

For people who aren't very good at the game, maybe 20 break level, Taylor, Doherty and non playing commentators would appeal.

It really irks me when a player gets in, say 28 behind, six reda in the open, maybe three reds and the yellow on the cushion, and Mike Hallett says, "What a great chance to win the frame and draw level"

Does it not occur to him that the most he can score from the loose reds are 48, which would put him 23 in front? In the unlikely event of him taking all blacks, hes going to need at least 2, possibly 3 of the awkward reds. But no, Hallett will wait til the loose reds are gone, then realise whats needed.

This is unacceptable in my opinion. To be a commentator you should be an expert on all aspects of the game. The BBC commentators can be guilty of not doing their homework either. They never seem to know whats been happening outside of BBc tournaments.

Surely out of 60 million people TV companies can find snooker experts that are willing to learn about the day to day happenings on the tour.

This would be way better than what we have now. Taylor cultivating his nice guy image and providing free advertising for the legends tour. Doherty sounding as if he is impersonating what he thinks a commentator should sound like rather than just saying it as he sees it. And as for Virgo, since he discovered his association with his cueball catchphrase, he is now flogging it to death by shouting it even when its clear an in off is not going to happen.

Hazel and Rishi? I go straight onto the red button so I dont have to listen to their inane questions.

Anonymous said...


You dont have a clue do you?

jamie brannon said...

If Andy Goldstein is worth an eight then I'm the pope!

For me, Griffiths and Foulds are excellent. The chemistry between the BBC team is what makes it excellent coverage.

jamie brannon said...

It would be a sad for the sport if the BBC contract is lost. Have not seen the final viewing figures; anyone privy to the information?

Barney Francis, who is managing director at Sky Sports seems to think snooker is too slow for the current world, which is piffle, given the interest were seeing in China, a country which is busy as any.

In terms of globalisation it doesn't matter who is showing snooker in Britain, but it in keeping it popular here it is imperative it remains free to air.

Don't think I saw Terry Camillieri or Colin Humphries this year? I'm guessing the pool of referees is bigger now, so there has to be rotation.

Anonymous said...

i dont think itd be sad if the bbc was lost.

the bbc and ITS licence fee stinks

Anonymous said...

He adds tree things

Anonymous said...

3mendous joke 956

Anonymous said...

new snooker website worth looking at if you play snooker in essex, www.braintreesnookerleague.co.uk

the braintree snooker league is where a very young ali carter first started playing!

Anonymous said...

Gotta say I wish there was a Mike Hallet filter on my tv remote. The guy states the obvious and then adds some banaality to make it even worse.

The best commentators create atmosphere with good timing, and expert analysis(in advance of the shot not afterwards).

Hallet has neither of these qualities and is incredibly irritating because of it. I sit there dreading his voice.