Was Ronnie O’Sullivan’s 147 snub genius PR or an insult to sport?
Ronnie O’Sullivan has always been a colourful character.
Undoubtedly one of the most talented snooker players of all time, he will go down as one of the greats of modern sport.
O’Sullivan was a child prodigy and has a collection of titles and prize money that put him near the top of the all-time records in snooker.
Because of his natural talent and ability to charm, fans around the world warm to him and his ability to play at speed (hence the nickname ‘Rocket’) underlines the box office value he provides.
For those fans who were in Cardiff for the Welsh Open on Monday, O’Sullivan’s seemingly inevitable maximum 147 break would live long in the memory.
“I could have done it, but I didn't think the prize was worthy of a 147,” said O'Sullivan when he decided to pot a pink instead of the black and thus turn down the chance of scoring the maximum and winning the £10,000 prize money.
His decision certainly drew attention to the Welsh Open, which had had limited exposure compared to some of the other major snooker events.
One could argue that the 147 itself would also have reminded everyone about the event and, with 147s relatively rare, would have
As it was, Barry Hearn, who has done so much for the sport, initially criticised O’Sullivan before underlining the importance of the type of showmanship that he brings to the sport.
But much of the chatter on social media was of sports fans and commentators who felt insulted by O’Sullivan turning his nose up at the prize money on offer, especially when the plight of junior doctors or nurses is dominating the news agenda.
World No30 Ali Carter, who has battled both cancer and Crohn's disease, believes O’Sullivan should have secured the maximum and given the £10,000 to charity.
Carter blasted: "He should have helped someone out but he's only thinking of himself again. Unfortunately that's his problem isn't it. He should have made the 147 and given the money to charity - to Cancer Research or Crohn's Disease or something like that."
By Tuesday, O’Sullivan seemed to have taken action to address the criticism but offering £11,000 to charity in collaboration with bookmaker Paddy Power, who also offered O’Sullivan £61,000 if he does manage a 147 during the tournament.
Out of touch with reality or trying to make snooker more of a spectacle?
Either way, O’Sullivan continues to make the headlines and keep his sport in the spotlight.