Tuesday, 23 February 2016

O'Sullivan Wins Fourth Welsh Open Despite Off Table Distractions

By: Markus Noé

Last week many of the top Snooker players in the world took part in the Welsh Open. This world ranking event is the third longest running event of its kind outside the U.K Championship and the World Championship.

O'Sullivan was competing in only his second event of the season after winning the Masters last month. He has continued the trend of picking and choosing the tournaments he plays regardless of what it means to his world ranking. However despite being currently ranked #4 he is still widely considered the best player in the world. A penalty of sorts for not playing in as many events as the other travelling professionals is on route to winning these titles he has to face top players earlier in the draw.

For instance in the quarter-finals he was matched up against current #1 Mark Selby. However after dominating each previous match up O'Sullivan cruised to a 5-1 victory. Early in the week he sparked controversy by deciding to opt out of a "maximum" which is a 147 by choosing to shoot the pink instead of the black needed when it was technically available. This was highlighted when he asked what the bonus was for the 147 earlier on in the run. When he heard it was 10,000 Euros he was visibly disgusted and later choose to shoot the pink meaning he could only get to 146 with a clearance.

Most top players would like to avoid any type of controversy or extra attention while competing at the highest level. However O'Sullivan appears to welcome it, which is a testament to his bullet proof mental game at the moment. In the final he was pitted up against Neil Roberston who O'Sullivan himself considers the best player currently going. Being down 5-2 did not seem to phase him as going into the evening session he needed to put some frames together. He quickly won the first two frames and Roberston seemed to fade under the pressure he was put under by O'Sullivan. The final score ended up being 9-5 and O'Sullivan claimed his 4th Welsh Open title.

The accused Matt Balme 

The 146 was not the only off table distraction this week, as O'Sullivan has been spamming his Twitter feed to expose a con-artist. According to the "peoples champ", this character Matt Balme presenting himself as some sort of business man has been taking peoples money for investments and disappearing. O'Sullivan has admitted that this man has bilked him for 125,000.  During the Open he posted a warning and photo of Balme telling people to look out for this character almost daily. It is hard to believe that while playing at such a high level he had all this going on in his mind at the same time. He is definitively one of a kind.

In the post match interview O'Sullivan stated that he will be putting the cue down again until the World Championship in April. So Ronnie fans will have to wait until then to get the next show. The benefit of all this time off he takes is he comes into each event fresh and ready to play. Which for us means we will once again be treated to some fantastic Snooker in April.


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