While it has been in vogue among the nobility and the gentry for years as a leisure activity, the popularity of professional snooker as a spectator sport is not at par with that of other disciplines. Even in the world of tabletop sports, table tennis and chess take precedence over it. However, there are a few names from the pool enclave whose skills make them well-known; Ronnie O’Sullivan is a member of that club.
A part of the global snooker landscape for over three decades, O’Sullivan is arguably one of the most accomplished players in the history of the sport. He has been the world champion a record seven times and has reached the summit of the world rankings multiple times in his career. He also holds several other snooker records to his name.
On Sunday, 3 December, the Englishman added a couple of more feathers to his cap when he defeated China’s Ding Junhui to win the UK Championship 2023. This win was O’Sullivan’s eighth in the tournament’s history, the most by any snooker player. In addition, he became the oldest player ever to win the UK Championship at 47.
The athlete has been in the news for some time owing to his recently launched documentary. Titled Ronnie O’Sullivan: The Edge of Everything, the film has been produced by erstwhile football player David Beckham‘s Studio 99. It was released on Prime Video on 23 November.
As the world of snooker celebrates his incredible achievement, we take a look at Ronnie O’Sullivan’s stupendous career highlights and net worth.
An overview of Ronnie O’Sullivan’s stats, records and other career highlights
His early days as a snooker player
Coming from a troubled family background, Ronnie O’Sullivan started playing snooker at the age of seven. He soon became a noted amateur competitor, winning his first club competition when he was nine. The English player also recorded his first competitive century break when he was 10 years old (a century break is a break of 100 points or more compiled in one visit to the snooker table).
O’Sullivan won the British Under-16 Championship at the age of 13. At the 1991 English Amateur Championship, he made his first competitive maximum break (the highest possible break in a single frame of snooker). He was the youngest player to do so back in the day at the age of 15 years and 98 days. He also won the IBSF World Under-21 Snooker Championship and Junior Pot Black in the same year.
At age 16, O’Sullivan turned professional in 1992. He won 74 of his first 76 qualifying matches, including a record 38 consecutive professional victories. He also qualified for the televised stages of the 1993 World Snooker Championship; however, he lost to Scottish player Alan McManus on his debut appearance at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.
Later that year, he claimed his first ranking title at the UK Championship. In the process, the Briton also became the youngest winner of a ranking event (seven days before his 18th birthday), and his record remains intact to date. He won the 1995 Masters event aged 19 years and 69 days, and to date, he remains the youngest Masters champion in history.
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His ascent to the top of the world rankings
From 1996 to 1999, Ronnie O’Sullivan reached three semi-finals at the World Snooker Championships. He achieved his first maximum break in professional competitions at the 1997 World Championship. Compiled in a time of five minutes and eight seconds, it remains the fastest competitive maximum break in the history of the sport and is also listed as a Guinness World Record. He also won his second UK Championship in the same year.
O’Sullivan reached his first World Championship final in 2001 where he defeated John Higgins 18-14 to claim his first world title and reach number two in the world rankings. Later that year, he also won his third UK Championship and secured the top spot in the world rankings for the first time in his career. The Briton held the pole position in the rankings for the next two seasons after winning the 2004 World Championship.
O’Sullivan’s dip in form and subsequent rise as one of the legends of the sport
After winning his third world title in 2008 and his fourth Masters title in 2009, Ronnie O’Sullivan went through a lean patch owing to clinical depression and fell out of the top ten of the world rankings for the first time. The Englishman started working with psychiatrist Steve Peters in 2011 to come back stronger.
A resurgent O’Sullivan clinched his fourth World Championship crown in 2012, defeating Ali Carter in the final by a margin of 18-8. The Briton successfully defended his world title in 2013. In the 2014 Masters quarter-final against Ricky Walden, O’Sullivan set a record for the most points without reply in professional competitions (556 points), and eventually won the competition by defeating the then-defending champion Mark Selby 10-4 in the final. At the 2015 Masters, the English snooker player made his 776th century break in professional tournaments, and in the process, he surpassed the legendary Stephen Hendry’s record for the most century breaks in a career.
At the 2018 UK Championship, O’Sullivan won his 19th title in the Triple Crown series and went past Hendry’s tally of 18. In the last frame of the 2019 Players Championship, the Briton made his 1,000th-century break in professional competitions, becoming the first player to reach that milestone. He reached the top of the world rankings for the first time since May 2010 at the 2019 Tour Championship.
O’Sullivan broke Hendry’s record of 57 ranking final appearances with his 58th at the 2021 Tour Championship. The following year, the Englishman set several new records — he won the 2022 World Championship to equal Hendry’s record for the most world titles. At the age of 46 years and 148 days, O’Sullivan became the youngest world champion in the history of snooker. He also surpassed Hendry’s record of 70 wins at the Crucible Theatre with his 74th in the 2022 World Championship final. The Briton eventually broke Steve Davis’ record of most appearances in the World Championships (30 appearances) with his 31st at the 2023 World Championship.
Besides the ones already mentioned. Ronnie O’Sullivan’s other highlights from his illustrious career include winning four Welsh Open championships (in 2004, 2005, 2014 and 2016), four Champion of Champions (in 2013, 2014, 2018 and 2022), and two China Open titles (in 1999 and 2000).
A look at Ronnie O’Sullivan’s net worth, career earnings, brand deals and more
How much is Ronnie O’Sullivan’s net worth?
By virtue of being one of the greatest snooker players of all time, the Briton ranks among the wealthiest sports personalities in the world. According to a 2023 report by Celebrity Net Worth, Ronnie O’Sullivan enjoys a net worth of USD 14 million.
Much of his wealth is attributed to his earnings from professional snooker. Several reports suggest that the English player has earned around USD 15 million from tournament winnings alone.
Which brands does Ronnie O’Sullivan endorse?
Since he’s been in the spotlight for nearly 30 years, Ronnie O’Sullivan has enjoyed quite a few sponsorships from renowned brands throughout his career.
In 2014, French pay television network Eurosport signed an exclusive deal with O’Sullivan to make him the broadcaster’s global ambassador for snooker as a part of increasing the sport’s international appeal. As a part of the endorsement deal, the Briton created a special snooker series for Eurosport titled The Ronnie O’Sullivan Show, which included his insights into the game, interviews with other professional players and tips on playing the sport.
Additionally, Ronnie O’Sullivan also has deals with online casino gaming platform We1Win, ROKiT, a global conglomerate and start-up incubator, and Riley BCE, a snooker table and accessory manufacturer, which supplies the Englishman with cues.
Other miscellaneous ventures of Ronnie O’Sullivan
In 2015 and 2016, Ronnie O’Sullivan co-hosted the Midweek Matchzone show with Chris Hood on Brentwood radio station Phoenix FM. The English snooker player has also written three crime novels in collaboration with author Emlyn Rees — Framed (2016), Double Kiss (2017) and The Break (2018). In addition, O’Sullivan has also written two autobiographies, namely Ronnie: The Autobiography of Ronnie O’Sullivan and Running: The Autobiography in 2013.
Over the years, the Briton has been involved with several video games, including Virtual Snooker (1996), Ronnie O’Sullivan’s Snooker (2007) and World Snooker Championship 2007.
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(Main and Featured Images Credits: Courtesy Ronnie O’Sullivan/Instagram)