Ronnie O'Sullivan turns down 147 break as £10,000 not enough
Snooker star under fire after scoring 146 because the reward for a maximum break was too small for him
Snooker's bad boy Ronnie O'Sullivan is back in the headlines after deliberately passing up the opportunity of a 147 break at a tournament in Cardiff because the prize money was not sufficient.
Up against Barry Pinches and on course to clear the table, the 40-year-old player (pictured above) asked how much the maximum was worth. After finding out he was in line for a pay-out of "only" £10,000, he opted to pot the pink rather than black off the penultimate red to score 146, much to the palpable disappointment of the crowd.
There is a rolling jackpot for scoring a 147 break, which starts at £5,000 and increases at every ranking tournament. The last maximum was scored by Australian Neil Robertson at the UK Championships in December, earning him £40,000 and resetting the prize fund.
O'Sullivan's actions have been criticised by players and promoters. World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn described them as "unacceptable" and "disrespectful", reports the BBC. He also expressed his annoyance on Twitter.
Fellow player Ali Carter, who has beaten cancer and suffers from Crohn's disease, was also angry. "He should have made the 147 and given the money to charity - to Cancer Research or Crohn's Disease or something like that," he said. "He should have helped someone out, but he's only thinking of himself again. Unfortunately that's his problem, isn't it?"
World number two Mark Allen described O'Sullivan as a "bit of a nutcase", but added it was "disappointing" the prize money for maximum breaks was not as high as it once was. "Hopefully it rolls over a few times and I can make one and make a few quid," he said.
However, O'Sullivan appeared unconcerned as he explained his decision.
"I knew it was £10,000," he said. "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."
The player is used to being well remunerated for his maximum breaks, notes The Times. In 2003, he earned £169,000 for his 147 in a 10-6 first-round 2003 World Championship loss to Marco Fu, while in 1997, he pocketed £165,000 for his famous 5min 20sec effort against Mick Price.