The Welshman won many of the game’s biggest events.
Tributes have been pouring in for Doug Mountjoy, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 78.
The former world number five was a key member of the period that helped elevate snooker into the public eye during its 1980s boom.
A former coal miner, Doug Mountjoy didn’t turn professional until he was 34 in the immediate aftermath of winning the world amateur title, but in the decade or so that followed he was recognised as a considerable and consistent force.
Mountjoy shot to more widespread fame by winning the third edition of the Masters in 1977, beating countryman Ray Reardon 7-6 in the final.
A year later, further success came in both the UK Championship and the single-frame Pot Black – a popular series on the BBC during that era.
Mountjoy subsequently reached the final of the 1981 World Snooker Championship, beating Willie Thorne, Eddie Charlton, Dennis Taylor, and Reardon before falling to an 18-12 defeat to first-time winner Steve Davis.
After claiming a second Pot Black title in 1985, Mountjoy’s greatest career moments came three years later when, at the age of 46, he triumphed in back-to-back ranking events.
His 16-12 defeat of a young Stephen Hendry to lift the 1988 UK crown is still recognised as one of the game’s most memorable achievements.
That he followed it up by winning the very next event as well, The Mercantile Credit Classic, made his run of form extra special.
Mountjoy, who counted the Irish Masters as another notable honour on his CV, continued to play professionally for a number of years and sensationally qualified for the 1993 World Championship despite having been diagnosed with lung cancer.
A 10-6 win over Alain Robidoux in the first round ensured that he enjoyed the taste of victory one more time on what proved to be his final appearance at the Crucible Theatre.
Mountjoy retired in 1997 and is recognised as one of the greatest players Wales has ever produced.
Alongside Reardon and Terry Griffiths, the trio inspired the next wave of talent to come through, which ultimately culminated in further Triple Crown success for the likes of Mark Williams and Matthew Stevens.
Many from the snooker world have been offering their tributes in celebration of the great career that he had.
WST Chairman Barry Hearn said: “RIP Doug Mountjoy. A gentleman and a really nice guy.”
“I remember playing him at the Eccentric Club in St. James’s just after he won the World Amateur Championship in 1977.”
“He never missed a ball in over an hour and got invited into the Masters when Eddie charlton pulled out.”
RIP Doug Mountjoy. One of snooker’s most famous names. 😥
— Joe Perry (@joegentlemanjoe) February 14, 2021
Jimmy White, Dennis Taylor, Ken Doherty, and Neal Foulds were among some of the players who offered their condolences on Twitter as well.
Jackson Page, one of the up-and-coming snooker stars from Wales added that he was a “legend of the game and an even greater guy.”
It is perhaps fitting then that Mountjoy’s death occurred on the eve of the Welsh Open, which gets under way on Monday at the Celtic Manor Resort near Newport.
It is a pity that fans can’t be there to demonstrate an appreciation to one of their fallen heroes, but there will undoubtedly be a reel celebrating Mountjoy’s career highlights on BBC Wales throughout the week’s action.
People at home around those parts will still remember Doug Mountjoy fondly, and he’ll perhaps best be recognised as one of the core cast of characters from the 1980s boom in popularity.