Ronnie O'Sullivan sends fierce five-word warning to snooker rivals as Rocket goes for historic £395k prize

Ronnie O'Sullivan sends fierce five-word warning to snooker rivals as Rocket goes for historic £395k prize

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Lewis Winter

By Lewis Winter

Published: 04/03/2024

- 15:38

Updated: 05/03/2024

- 17:00

The seven-time world champion is aiming to make more history this week

Ronnie O'Sullivan has warned his snooker rivals that he will go all out to hit a historic 167 break and scoop up a mega prize in Saudi Arabia this week.

A golden ball worth a potential £395,000 will be in play at the inaugural Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker and the Rocket says 'I'm going to find it'.

O'Sullivan has hit 15 maximum 147 breaks in his professional career, more than any other player in the history of the sport, two clear of second-placed John Higgins.

But the 48-year-old hasn't hit one since 2018 and has often stated he doesn't try to because the money on offer is not worth it.

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O'Sullivan will be gunning for the golden ball at the Riyadh Season Masters of Snooker


O'Sullivan has headed to Saudi Arabia in a different mindset, however, as he and his rivals attempt to pick up a huge reward.

Tournament organisers have created a golden ball concept, where players can hit a 167 break if they achieve a usual maximum of 147.

The golden ball will be placed on the table at the start of each frame in the centre of the baulk cushion.

It will remain in place for as long as a 147 break is possible and be removed by the referee once it can no longer be achieved.

If a player hits a 147, they then must pot the golden ball to win the bonus prize of £395,000 ($500,000).

The prize is only on offer to the first player to hit a historic 167, with action already starting on Monday afternoon.

O'Sullivan will enter the competition at the quarter-final stage, playing his match on Tuesday evening.

He will be in the eighth game of the tournament, meaning other players will have the chance to beat him to the reward.

But he has sent a clear warning to his rivals that they must claim it quickly or he will be gunning for it once he enters the fold.

O'Sullivan told Eurosport: "It doesn’t matter where they put that golden ball, I’m going to find it.

"Maximums, we’ve all done them, but to try and make a maximum and try and pot this golden ball and hopefully scoop up a big prize.

"I do like a challenge and I’ll certainly go for it because I think it’s great that the promoters have put on such a great event.

"It would be nice to succeed in potting the golden ball and making a 167 break.

"It would be a nice thank you to the promoters that have put on a good event."


Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O'Sullivan will enter the tournament at the quarter-final stage on Tuesday


Outside of the 167 bonus, the winner of the tournament will win £250,000 out of a £785,000 prize pot.

O'Sullivan was at the venue on Monday afternoon as all 12 players participating were introduced to the crowd.

He is looking forward to getting started and says he is getting treated well away from the table.

O'Sullivan said: "It’s a great event, brilliant venue. Obviously [they've] done a fantastic job and all the players are excited to get going.

"It’s brilliant, I love the Middle Eastern culture, so it’s great to be here, enjoying your time away from the table.

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O'Sullivan is desperate to be the first player to hit a historic 167 break


"That’s always important, to make sure you enjoy the event much more."

O'Sullivan will not discover his opponent for his quarter-final until Monday evening.

John Higgins plays Qatari player Ali Alobaidli this afternoon, with the winner facing Mark Williams later in the day.

The winner in that match will face the tough test of O'Sullivan on Tuesday night.

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