Barry Hearn has backed the decision of Ronnie O'Sullivan, pictured, to pass up a maximum break opportunity at this week's Welsh Open.

Barry Hearn backs 'character' Ronnie O'Sullivan over 147 snub

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Barry Hearn has backed Ronnie O'Sullivan's decision to turn down a maximum break opportunity at the Welsh Open this week.

O'Sullivan potted an easier pink en route to his eventual clearance of 146 and said afterwards he thought the £12,000 total prize money on offer was "too cheap".

Hearn, chairman of snooker's world governing body, said O'Sullivan had not broken any rules and conceded his unpredictability helps give the sport a higher profile.


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Hearn told BBC Radio Five Live: " Some have said he has brought the game into disrepute but Ronnie brings the game into fine repute.

"In his little head, he thought it would be funny. He is quite dry. The 147 is the pinnacle but Ronnie has made loads of them (13), he has got loads of money.

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"He is the biggest character in the sport. When he breaks the rules, he gets punished, in this case, it was his choice.

"Without personality and characters, sport dies. O'Sullivan is the biggest character in the sport."

O'Sullivan had made a break of 80 he asked an official and members of the commentary box what the prize was for a maximum break.

To the groans of some in the audience, he then proceeded to play for the pink instead of an eminently available black off the 14th red before clearing the rest of the balls.

O'Sullivan said later: "I could have done it, but I didn't think the prize was worthy of a 147, so I've tried to let it build up until it's worthy and then go for it."

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Ronnie O'Sulivan
Steve Davis
Shaun Murphy
Judd Trump
Jimmy White
Mark Selby
Stephen Hendry
World Snooker Championship

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