Snooker: O'Sullivan considered spurning 147 break in protest at bonus pay-out of 'only £4,000'

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The Independent Online

Ronnie O'Sullivan had to be persuaded to pot the black to secure a 147 break at the World Open in Glasgow yesterday after learning there was no bonus prize for a maximum.

O'Sullivan shook hands with Mark King after potting the pink to take his break to 140 in the final frame of his rapid 3-0 triumph but the referee Jan Verhaas convinced the former world champion to finish off the 10th maximum of his career, putting him in pole position to claim the highest break prize of "only" £4,000.

"I wasn't going to pot the black because to make 147 and not really get a nice bonus was a bit disappointing because they are magical moments and they deserve magical bonuses," O'Sullivan said.

"But the ref played a guilt trip on me and said, 'Come on, do it for your fans'. And I thought, 'OK, because I haven't got long to play anyway, so I might as well go out on a high.' "But I wasn't going to pot it because four grand, once you've paid the taxes..." When asked whether he needed the money, O'Sullivan responded: "Twenty-five [thousand] would have been nice so I could have gone on holiday."

The world No 6, who plays Jimmy White in the fourth round, claimed he would have been happy to make a break of 140. "I got as much a kick out of doing that as I would have done making it," he added. "It's a great achievement to make a 140 and not pot the black. It shows that to me they are not that difficult to make. From the first red, I already thought I would make a 147."

The 34-year-old has declared himself a fan of the shorter matches at the SECC in Glasgow, but reiterated that he does not have long left in the sport as he aims to spend more time with his two children. "It's a great format but it doesn't make me want to play any more or less," he said. "I either enjoy playing or I don't and I'm still not enjoying playing. I'm going to hang around for a while but I don't see a long future for me. If it comes to it, my children come first."

The suspended former world champion John Higgins will play a role in World Snooker's new measures to ensure the integrity of the sport. Higgins, who is serving a six-month ban for breaching betting rules, will be asked to help educate other players on the pitfalls that led to his punishment.

The plan was announced yesterday as World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn launched the sport's new integrity unit. Hearn promised lifetime bans for any players found to have breached a ban on betting on snooker.

Hearn has enrolled the help of former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Stevens, now chairman of Quest, who have led inquiries into alleged corruption in football and Formula One. Quest will work alongside snooker's internal disciplinary committee, led by David Douglas, a former detective chief superintendent.