The World Snooker Championship is one of the highlights of the sporting calendar and 2022’s renewal promises to be another fantastic event.
The number of world titles won is often used as a reference, when discussing the greatest cuemen of all time, but there are other factors that can be considered. Let’s look at the five best to have held a cue.
There’s an obvious place to start and that is six-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan. The Rocket’s list of tournament wins, accolades and records are almost inexhaustible and he is still producing the goods to this day.
The Chigwell cueman won his first World Championship in 2001, he has collected a record 38 ranking events and 20 Triple Crown titles.
O’Sullivan became the first and so far only player to reach 1,000 career century breaks, he has racked-up 15 maximums and he holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest competitive 147-break, compiled in a time of five minutes and eight seconds at the 1997 World Championship.
All of that has been achieved with a supreme style and showmanship that hasn’t been matched by any of O’Sullivan’s rivals. The Rocket remains the people’s champion and his legacy is sure to continue way beyond his playing days.
Of course, one record that O’Sullivan doesn’t hold is the most world titles in the modern era. That is held by Stephen Hendry and many may argue that the Scot is the greatest cueman of all time.
The Queensferry potter transformed snooker from a slow-paced and safety oriented game into the attacking and break-building frenzy we see today.
Hendry had a desire, will to win and a ruthless streak that few have been able to replicate and he dominated the sport in the 90s.
The Scot’s seven World Championship wins all came between 1990 and 1999 and few sportsmen have managed a period of dominance to match that of Hendry’s.
One player that has been able to interrupt the dominance of Hendry and O’Sullivan is four time World Champion John Higgins. The Wizard of Wishaw has won 31 ranking events and compiled over 800 century breaks in a fantastic career.
The Scot has the break-building talents to blast opponents off the table and he arguably boasts the best safety game in the modern era.
Higgins reached three consecutive World Championship finals between 2017 and 2019 and you wouldn’t bet against him adding a fifth world crown to his collection.
Steve Davis was at the forefront of snooker’s boom in the 1980s. The Nugget’s 1985 World Championship final defeat to Dennis Taylor is one of the most memorable moments in the history of sport and it almost overshadows the fact that Davis is a six-time World Champion.
Perhaps, the standard and the competitiveness in the 80s wasn’t what it is now, but Davis was able to construct an air of invincibility and he lifted 28 ranking event titles.
The Romford potter was the first player to win all three Triple Crown events in a single season and he helped shape snooker as it is today.
There are plenty of candidates for the next spot on the list and the likes of Mark Selby and Judd Trump would have claims to make the cut. However, based on the longevity of his achievements it’s hard to ignore Mark Williams.
The Welsh Potting Machine won his first World Championship in 2000 and he returned to the Crucible to lift the crown for the third time in 2018.
Williams is one of only three players to win all three Triple Crown events in one season and he is the only potter to have lifted the World Championship, Six Reds World Championship and World Seniors Championship.
The Cwm cueman has won 24 ranking tournaments putting him fifth on the all-time list.