Ronnie O'Sullivan: Six times he's proven he's one of the biggest personalities in sport


Anyone who claims snooker is boring has clearly never heard of Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Ronnie ‘The Rocket’, one of the snooker greats, is no stranger to controversy. His comments after last night’s victory in the World Snooker Championship only add to the long list of the five-time World Champion’s antics.

This article will certainly prove popular with his fans and give his critics even more fuel for the fire. Regardless of your opinion of him, there’s no doubt he brings the sport into the headlines (although not always for the right reasons).

Here’s six times Ronnie O’Sullivan proved he’s one of the sport’s greatest mavericks... and yes, there's plenty more other times that we just didn't have time to mention.

Battering The Future

Despite an impressive victory against Ding Junhui last night, it’s once again O’Sullivan’s comments rather than his game making headlines.

After securing his place in the final eight of the World Championships, he went on to say that he ‘would have to lose an arm and a leg to drop out of the top 50’ and to add insult to injury, describing the younger players coming through in the sport as ‘not even amateurs, they’re so bad’.

Refusing The 147

The 147 break is one of the most challenging achievements in snooker.

To achieve this feat, a player must pot all 15 red balls followed by the black, and then go on to clear the table of the remaining coloured balls. For this reason, it has only ever been televised 156 times.

However, only Ronnie has managed a 146 break. During the 2016 Welsh Open, the prize money for a 147 break was set at £10,000. To most of us this seems a generous prize, The Rocket, however, would disagree.

As a form of protest for the low prize money on offer for the break, while seemingly on track for the 147, Ronnie left the audience in stunned silence as he set himself up for and potted the pink ball rather than the black; making his maximum possible score 146.

This move was labelled disrespectful by the World Snooker chairman and many fans were inclined to agree.

Regardless of his motives, however, there is a brilliance to his actions. Nothing says ‘I can’ like choosing not to.

Playing With His Weaker Hand

The 1996 World Championships gave us another example of prime Ronnie antics.

While leading the match comfortably, O’Sullivan decided to keep himself entertained by playing several shots with his weaker left hand. Unsurprisingly, his French opponent Alain Robidoux refused to shake either hand after Ronnie claimed a comfortable victory.

Not wanting to only be remembered for one controversial moment that tournament, O’Sullivan was also fined £20,000 for headbutting a media official.

With these sorts of fines, it’s not surprising he wants higher prize money.

Letting A Fan Play

In 2016, Ronnie showed his community spirit by offering a fan, who had evaded security and was jogging laps of the table, a couple of shots at the black.

Despite his assistant missing both of her shots, O’Sullivan came away the comfortable winner on that occasion.

With a charitable attitude such as this, it’s hard to see why many fans of the sport dislike him.


Conceding Early

In 2006, only 12 months after spending large proportions of a snooker match with a towel over his head to avoid watching his opponent at the table, O’Sullivan made headlines again.

After underperforming and finding himself 4-1 down in a best of 17 match against Stephen Hendry, O’Sullivan decided to take an early exit, shaking his opponent’s hand and leaving the York arena completely.

O’Sullivan’s reasoning for this was never clear, and we can only assume he wanted to beat the crowds and fancied a look at York Cathedral. 

O’Sullivan picked up another hefty fine in the process, so it’s lucky he’s won the most prize money of any snooker player in history (£11 million). 

Offensive Gesture With Cue

Ronnie has never been shy when it comes to an offensive gesture, and considering his profession means he’s holding a snooker cue most of the time, the only surprise is that it doesn’t happen more often.

After missing a shot against Judd Trump in the 2013 World Championship, O’Sullivan was warned for making ‘obscene gestures’ at his opponent.

For the amount of trouble he gets in, you’d think he would have been able to come up with a better excuse than claiming he was wiping something off his cue!

You’d be forgiven for thinking that for the number of headlines the player gets for things done off the table, he must not be very good on it; this could not be further from the truth.

The Essex-born snooker player has won five World Championships and a record seven Masters and UK championship titles respectively. He is the only player to score over 1,000 century breaks and has the joint most ranking titles in the history of the sport. Furthermore, if you hate reading, he has also written three crime novels.

Snooker is widely perceived as a boring sport played by old men in dusty, dark pubs, and for the most part, they’re pretty much spot on.

Thankfully, snooker is also the sport of choice for one of the biggest jokers in the sporting world.

Although he is loved and loathed in equal measure, it goes without saying that when you’ve mastered a sport as he has, you’re allowed a little bit of fun.

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