Caledonian Craig wrote:GJ, The reason Jimmy White won ten titles was testament to Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry's domination. He was competing with two of the greatest players to play the game so it is actually to his credit he won ten
Non ranking events for me are very much secondary. Why? Well I'll bet quite a bit of money that you never got a full quota of all pros taking part but like Premier Titles Ronnie has won - how can these seriously be counted when several players never play in them. Ranking events attract all the seeds (barring illness or injury of course and are what all pros strive to win).
If we are truly searching for GOAT (then it is Greatest Of All Time) which means you have to count all eras. Now for Davis he was the king of the 80's then form dipped from the early to mid-90's but we still count his stats in his weak run of form, likewise with Hendry who was king of the 90's we still count his stats even though his form has dipped from around 2003 onwards. That being the case we count the 90's stats of Higgins, Williams and O'Sullivan even though some claim they weren't at their prime which I debate as they were already multiple title winners in the 90's plus their stronger spell of form in the 00's. Doing that then the stats show that Stephen Hendry is tops and that is if you want to put together all relevant facts such as ranking titles won, centuries made, maximums made, centuries average per year, world titles won, uk titles won and Masters titles won.
What about these events Steve Davis won then that are classed as non ranking?
International Open 1981 (became a ranking event in 1982 and later known as Scottish Open and Players Championship and existed until 2004)
UK Championship 1980, 1981 (one of the games 3 majors, it became a ranking event in 1984)
British Open 1981, 1983, 1984 (became a ranking event in 1985 and existed until 2004)
Classic 1981, 1983 (became a ranking event in 1984 and existed until 1992)
China Open 1997 (became a ranking event in 1998 and still exists)
thats 9 events that were rankers in all but name when Davis won them and in subsequent seasons they became rankers and Hendry, Higgins, Ronnie and others benefited from these being rankers and being added to their rankings tallies whilst Davis missed out on these 9.
28+9 = 37 = 1 more than 36
Also you mention non ranking events as being unimportant, not proper events with top players etc. Well i put this to you, in addition to 4 Masters titles, Davis also won the following events exclusive to the top players who all took part.
Australian Masters x 1
Scottish Masters x 3
Irish Masters x 8
Hong Kong Masters x 2
Singapore Masters x 1
Canadian Masters x 1
China Masters x 1
London Masters x 1
thats 18 additional Masters events featuring the top players, plus 4 Premier League titles and a lucrative World Matchplay title.
I feel on the basis of all this, that Davis is the greatest winning machine in the modern era and the ranking title comparison (36 v 28) is misleading.