Cliff Thorburn player profile
Player Profiles

Cliff Thorburn – Player Profile, Career Summary, Stats

Cliff Thorburn Player Profile

Cliff Thorburn Stats
Date of birth: 16 January, 1948
Nationality: Canada
First turned professional: 1972
Highest ranking: 1
Ranking titles: 2
Triple Crown titles: 4
Crucible best: champion
Masters appearances: 15
147 breaks: 2

SHQ Stars:



Cliff Thorburn first turned professional in 1972, a year after being recommended to the WPBSA selection committee by then world champion John Spencer.

The Canadian went on to become the leading international player in a sport that had been predominantly dominated by cueists from Britain and Ireland beforehand.

Known as the Grinder for a methodical style and a never-say-die attitude, Thorburn was among the plethora of household names during the snooker boom of the period.

He made an impact in several of the biggest tournaments of the time, including the World Championship and the Masters.

Thorburn reached three World Championship finals between 1977 and 1983, memorably capturing glory at the expense of Alex Higgins in 1980.


He is probably more famously remembered at the Crucible Theatre, however, for his magnificent 147 maximum break during the 1983 edition.

Representing only the second ever officially recorded in a professional tournament, Thorburn’s celebrations upon sinking the final black is a reel often replayed from the sport’s archives.

With only the World Championship counting as a ranking event until 1982, Thorburn’s consistency in Sheffield ensured that he topped the official world rankings in 1981.

London also became a happy stomping ground for Thorburn, who reached four Masters finals between 1978 and 1986.

After winning in 1983, he subsequently became the first player to successfully defend the title in 1986, supporting his second success from a year earlier.

Because the UK Championship was only open to players from the region until 1984, Thorburn didn’t have many opportunities to seal the career Triple Crown, but he reached the last four on his debut that year.

There were ten ranking finals in total, from which he could only add one more piece of silverware to his collection at the 1985 Matchroom Trophy.

But Thorburn won several other invitational tournaments – including many in his home country where he helped to inspire a wave of Canadian competitors who emerged onto the circuit in the 1980s.

This was never more evident than in the popular World Cup competition of the era, which Canada triumphed in twice in 1982 and 1990.

Thorburn retired from the main tour in 1996, but he rolled back the years in 2018 by claiming the Seniors Masters title.

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Ranking Event Victories

  1. 1980 World Snooker Championship
  2. 1985 Matchroom Trophy

Other Notable Victories

  • The Masters (1983, 1985, 1986)
  • Canadian Open (1974, 1978, 1979, 1980)
  • Pot Black (1981)
  • Australian Masters (1983)
  • Scottish Masters (1985, 1986)
  • World Cup (1982, 1990)
  • World Mixed Doubles Championship (1981)
  • Seniors Masters (2018)

Featured photo credit: WSS

Cliff Thorburn Player Profile

SHQ Stars: How it works

RatingSHQ StarsCareer Requirements
Black★★★★★★★multiple world champion; 30+ ranking titles; career triple crown; world no.1 (at least 3)
Pink★★★★★★world champion; 10+ ranking titles; multiple winner of triple crown events; member of top 2; 15+ seasons in top 16 (at least 3)
Blue★★★★★winner of triple crown event; 5+ ranking titles; member of top 4; 12+ seasons in top 16 (at least 2)
Brown★★★★2+ ranking titles; member of top 8; triple crown event finalist; 8+ seasons in the top 16 (at least 2)
Green★★★ranking title; member of top 16 (at least 1)
Yellow★★member of top 64

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