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World Snooker Championship: snooker's biggest prize up for grabs in 2019
First held almost a century ago, the World Snooker Championship is the sport's longest running and most prestigious tournament. Along with the UK Championship and The Masters it is one of the sport's Triple Crown events and, with top ranking points and prize money (as well as a place in history at stake), is the most coveted trophy in snooker.
Joe Davis won the first 15 championships before retiring undefeated after his 1946 success, while in the modern era (since 1969) Stephen Hendry holds the record for the most World Championship titles having won the tournament seven times. Steve Davis and Ray Reardon both won six titles, while Ronnie O'Sullivan has five and John Higgins four.
Held from mid-April until the first Monday in May at the legendary Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, the World Championship is the premier event of the snooker calendar. Buy World Snooker Championship snooker tickets now at StubHub.
World Snooker Championship: a place in snooker history at stake
Since the World Championship moved to the Crucible in Sheffield in 1977 there have been 20 different champions. The first was John Spencer, who beat Canada's Cliff Thorburn 25–21 in the final. The 1979 championship was won by qualifier Terry Griffiths, who had only been a professional for seven months (Shaun Murphy became the second qualifier to win the World Championship 26 years later in 2005).
The 1980s were dominated by Steve Davis, who won six titles and appeared in seven consecutive finals; with perhaps the most memorable of those being 1985 vs Dennis Taylor. Northern Irishman Taylor beat Davis 18–17 on the final ball of the final frame, in one of the most closely contested matches of all time. With an audience of 18.5 million, it remains the most watched programme in the history of BBC2, as well as the record post-midnight audience for any channel in the United Kingdom.
Much in the same way that Davis had owned the 80s, Stephen Hendry made the 90s his; becoming the youngest-ever World Champion (age 21 in 1990) on his way to winning seven titles (four against the luckless Jimmy White) and finishing runner-up to Ken Doherty in another. The period from 2000 to 2013 was dominated by three players, all turning professional in 1992. Ronnie O'Sullivan won five times, John Higgins three times and Mark Williams twice.
The current champion is Mark Williams, who beat four-time winner John Higgins 18–16 in 2018. In doing so, 43-year-old Williams became the oldest champion since fellow Welshman Ray Reardon, who was 45 when he won the event for the sixth time in 1978. Who will be crowned champion in 2019? Buy World Snooker Championship tickets at StubHub and find out live.
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