As modest as O'Sullivan may have been in his pleasure at defending the title and picking up the trophy which carries the name of the last player to achieve this, the late Paul Hunter, fifteen years ago, there'll be no doubt that inwardly he will be delighted to have won a seventh Masters title to eclipse the record of Stephen Hendry which had held and progressively increased since eclipsing the record of Cliff Thorburn eighteen days shy of a quarter of a century ago.
The question remains now that will this success be a springboard to one final ambition in snooker, that is to go on and eventually eclipse the one record which was Hendry's final ambition - an eighth World Championship title?
Ronnie's recent Triple Crown Record is as impressive as any major record in sport, In the past five years, he has won six triple crown events, and has been the runner-up in two others - both being thwarted by Mark Selby. The success has been shared around - Three Masters titles, two Crucible triumphs as well as a UK Championship win in 2014. That is not to say his record could have been improved - he was defeated by players in the 2015 and 2016 World Championships he would have started favourite against, indeed both had relatively fresh memories of pastings by O'Sullivan within the last couple of years - and in the case of Hawkins just a few months - although both produced terrific performances to knock O'Sullivan out.
Will the seventh Masters title prove the springboard? It remains to be seen. He seems more comfortable in the matches over one session i.e. the best of 11 frame contests with the odd best of 19 frame final thrown in. If that remains the case, an eighth World title seems unlikely. (I always said back in 2014 he would finish on five) - But should a sixth arrive on May 1st - we could possibly see Hendry's main record, under serious threat.
- Posts: 3745
- Joined: 20 December 2009
- Location: Sheffield
- Highest Break: 28
- Walk-On: Vangelis 1492 Conquest of Paradise