Barry Hearn has hinted on social media that there will be a bigger jackpot in store for anyone who can compile a maximum break at the World Snooker Championship this year.
The prize for making a 147 break currently runs on a rolling system, with the pot starting at a base minimum of £5,000 and increasing by a further five grand every time a tournament passes without the perfect frame of snooker occurring.
The pot had added up to a handy enough looking £35,000 by the time this week’s China Open came around but Ronnie O’Sullivan superbly constructed his 14th maximum in his first round defeat to Elliot Slessor in Beijing on Tuesday.
Amazingly, Stuart Bingham matched O’Sullivan’s feat on Wednesday with his fourth career 147 during his last 32 fixture with Ricky Walden – meaning the pair will share the spoils as long as nobody else manages to get in on the action before the end of the week.
That means the fund will be reset back to the original £5,000 after the conclusion of this penultimate ranking event of the campaign, with only the World Snooker Championship to come later in April.
While O’Sullivan’s achievement has rightly been applauded from all circles, its timing was generally seen as being unfortunate as it seemingly resulted in a low purse being made available in Sheffield.
The very same situation arose twelve months ago when Judd Trump duly compiled a 147 break to earn £30,000 from the rolling fund and there were calls of disappointment when the obvious became clear at the Crucible a few weeks later that the reward for a maximum in the sport’s Theatre of Dreams would be so low.
While some on Twitter offered their own ideas as to what should be done, World Snooker supremo Hearn responded and seemed to suggest that something extra could be in store.
I think the rolling prize money for a 147 is a good idea but there should be an extra pot at the Crucible. Let’s say take 25k from the winner’s money (one can say 400k would still be enough) and you have 35k already plus rolling money…
— Break-Off (@147BreakOff) April 4, 2018
Sure we will do something extra at the worlds. Watch this space.
— Barry Hearn (@BarryHearn) April 4, 2018
With so many players producing 147 breaks for fun these days – O’Sullivan and Bingham’s knocks were the 137th and 138th in professional competition respectively – nobody would outlandishly demand the return of the old whopping £147,000 cheque.
But £5,000 does seem a tad small considering the stage that it would occur on and the pressure that the players would be under as the 15 reds are followed by 15 blacks, and the colours subsequently disappear one at a time.
In fact, that pressure is perhaps underlined by the fact that a World Snooker Championship 147 hasn’t been made at the Crucible since Stephen Hendry’s farewell maximum before retiring back in 2012.
On that occasion, the Scot pocketed a neat £40,000 for his effort, plus an additional £10,000 for topping the high break chart, and something along those lines would be more befitting of a major championship as important and prestigious as the Worlds.
Watch this space indeed.