Ronnie O'Sullivan to interrupt break for unique new snooker tournament in Saudi Arabia with 'gold ball'

Ronnie O'Sullivan to interrupt break for unique new snooker tournament in Saudi Arabia with 'gold ball'

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Lewis Winter

By Lewis Winter


Published: 19/01/2024

- 07:42

The seven-time world champion will be part of a star-studded line-up

Ronnie O'Sullivan will headline a new snooker tournament in Saudi Arabia in March.

The Rocket is keen for a break from competing but has been confirmed as one of the players who will be part of the inaugural Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker.


The World Snooker Tour announced late on Thursday that Saudi Arabia would be hosting its first-ever invitational event.

The tournament will be played under World Snooker rules but there will be an additional gold ball on the table.

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O'Sullivan will enter the tournament in Saudi Arabia

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The 23rd ball will be worth 20 points and can only be potted once all the other balls have been cleared from the table following a maximum break.

It creates the opportunity of increasing the maximum break from 147 to 167.

Reigning world champion Luca Brecel and world No 2 Judd Trump have been confirmed in the line-up alongside O'Sullivan.

There will be 10 players participating in the three-day event between March 4 and 6, with the other seven to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Steve Dawson, the chairman of the WST, is excited by the new tournament.

He said: "It is a great privilege for the World Snooker Tour to work in partnership with HE Advisor Turki Alalshikh to stage an event in Saudi Arabia for the first time.

"This is a huge breakthrough for snooker into a new territory, and we see this as the beginning of a new adventure for our sport in the region.

"We are looking forward to being a part of Riyadh Season on this fantastic new event featuring the world’s best players.

"We will be honored to bring our sport to the amazing city of Riyadh, and for the local fans this will be their first chance to see some of snooker’s all-time greats."

Saudi advisor Alalshikh is looking forward to welcoming snooker to the country.

He added: "We are thrilled to be hosting our first-ever professional snooker tournament in the Kingdom.

"Snooker is watched and played by millions around the world and we look forward to welcoming some of the greatest players and snooker fans to our country and showing them what Saudi Arabia and Riyadh Season has to offer."

Trump is the first player participating who has spoken about the event.

He said: "It's amazing for snooker to be going to different places.

"We got back to China this season and felt appreciated. We are expanding and going to new territories.

"It's amazing that Saudi Arabia want to get involved."

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Eddie Hearn was present when the deal was signed and confirmed on social media that there will be a prize pool of around £788,000.

O'Sullivan will be competing despite making it crystal clear that he is keen for a break.

Despite winning the Masters last weekend, he is not pleased with how he is playing.

The 48-year-old raised doubts following his latest win at the World Grand Prix over long he will remain on the tour.

O'Sullivan said: "I’ve got to really consider whether I can carry on feeling how I’m feeling out there, I just don’t get any enjoyment the way I’m hitting the balls, I feel like it’s hard work.

Judd Trump

Judd Trump has also been confirmed as one of the players

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"I ain’t got a clue where the balls are going, a lot of it is guess work.

"The worst thing is I’m winning bloody tournaments!

"If I was losing, it would be an easier decision. I need a break at least.

"I’m getting no satisfaction from it. I’d rather cue well and lose than cue badly and win tournaments.”

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