Ronnie O’Sullivan last night claimed his fifth Masters title in his record 10th final with a comfortable 10-4 victory over rival Mark Selby.
It was a great win for the world champion, one of control and ease throughout.
The ‘Rocket’ had looked assured throughout the entire week, dropping only seven frames en route to success in front of his legion of home London fans at the packed Alexandra Palace.
O’Sullivan’s quarter-final whitewash of Ricky Walden will go down in the annals as one of the best ever single-match performances as he completely dismantled a worthy opponent by breaking the unanswered points record.
The fact is, the 38 year-old is a record-breaking enigma and has been throughout his entire career.
Though most players tend to begin their demise from the higher echelons of the sport at this age, O’Sullivan looks as though he has another several years at the pinnacle in him.
The former world no.1 has picked and chose the events he wants to play in over the last number of years and, though his ranking has dropped considerably, the decision has brought just rewards on a number of levels.
O’Sullivan won the 2012 German Masters followed by a dominating performance at the World Championship in Sheffield, before taking that one year sabbatical from the game.
Never mind, and since his return last April he has added a fifth crown at the Crucible, as well as collecting two prestigious invitational events – one here at the Masters and the other at the inaugural Champion of Champions in Coventry at the tail end of 2013.
This prior hat-trick of major victories has earned the people’s favourite a cool £550,000 – not too shabby for someone who just wants to put his kids through school.
With the rankings system and also the open draw format in most of the tournaments throughout the campaign changing to suit O’Sullivan’s needs – whether it was meant that way or not is up for debate but, nevertheless, that’s how it has worked out – the Englishman could be featuring at the business end of these competitions for quite some time.
Of course, if he continues to be so dominant at the biggest one of all, the Worlds, he will guarantee himself his place in all the events at any rate.
O’Sullivan’s other reward from being able to naturally select his destinations has been his subsequent ability to be able to stay in love with the game.
The father of three grew evidently frustrated with having to play week in, week out while being forced to travel all over the world.
It’s important that the sport is brought to wider audiences globally and, with that, O’Sullivan has a duty as some sort of ambassador, but that doesn’t mean he must complete the arduous slog of touring every event.
Indeed, it’s better to have a happy O’Sullivan half of the time than a soul-destroyed victim , as it were, for the entirety.
Rarely had this been so evident than during the last week in the Masters.
O’Sullivan was not the reckless, speedy, overly cocky, nonchalant player that we have sometimes become accustomed to.
He was controlled around the table, calculated in his shot selection and determined when actually down playing his intended ball.
This was O’Sullivan at his best, and the fact that we have been treated to that consistently for almost 20 years is testament to the degree of pedigree he boasts.
O’Sullivan is still loved and loathed by many but, there’s no doubting that when we are treated to this side of his game, there’s no better advertisement for professional snooker.