Ronald Antonio O’Sullivan OBE is an English professional snooker player. Widely recognised as one of the most talented and accomplished players in the history of the sport, he holds the record for the most ranking titles in professional snooker, with 38. As a six-time world champion, a seven-time Masters champion and a seven-time UK champion, he has won a record 20 Triple Crown titles. He has been ranked world number one on multiple occasions.
After an impressive junior career, O’Sullivan turned professional in 1992, aged 16. He won his first ranking title at the 1993 UK Championship aged 17 years and 358 days, making him the youngest player to win a professional ranking event, a record he still holds. He is also the youngest player to win the Masters, which he first achieved in 1995, aged 19 years and 69 days. Now noted for his longevity in the sport, he has made a record 29 consecutive World Championship appearances from 1993 to 2021. In 2020, he became the second-oldest player, after Ray Reardon in 1978, to win a world title in snooker’s modern era.
One of the sport’s most prolific break-builders, O’Sullivan made his first competitive century break at age 10 and his first competitive maximum break at age 15. In 2015, he surpassed Stephen Hendry’s then-record 775 century breaks in professional competition. In 2019, he became the first and only player to attain 1,000 career century breaks, and has since extended his record to over 1,100 centuries. He has also achieved the highest number of officially recognised maximum breaks in professional competition, with 15, and holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest competitive maximum break, compiled in a time of 5 minutes and 8 seconds at the 1997 World Championship.
Despite his many achievements in the sport, O’Sullivan has struggled during his career with depression, mood swings and drug and alcohol abuse. Known as a volatile personality, he received a suspended two-year ban and a £20,000 fine in 1996 for assaulting an assistant press officer and a £20,800 fine in 2006 for walking out of a UK Championship quarter-final against Hendry. He has been disciplined multiple times by snooker’s governing body for his behavior and statements. In turn, he has accused the sport’s authorities of bullying and intimidating him, has levelled numerous criticisms against the professional tour and has repeatedly threatened to retire. Outside his playing career, O’Sullivan works as a pundit and presenter for Eurosport’s snooker coverage. He has written crime novels, autobiographies and a health and fitness book, and has starred in the miniseries Ronnie O’Sullivan’s American Hustle. He was awarded an OBE in 2016.