Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Court of King Ronnie

Ronnie O’Sullivan eh, World Champion for the third time. Where would the world of snooker be without him? Snookered I’d say. Apart from his undoubted genius at the table, he brings a seedy charisma and a whiff of danger to a generally dull arena. Mostly I find the commentators and analysts more interesting than the players. Both Steve Davis and John Perrott are generous, articulate and perceptive analysts but most of the players are ciphers – joyless potting machines. Are Mark Selby and Stephen Maguire the same person? Is Shaun Murphy Stephen Lee’s younger brother? Is Peter Ebdon related to John Malkovich? Did Stan Laurel ever visit Scotland? It’s clear to me that John Higgins is a twig from the Laurel tree.

But it’s the neurotic unpredictability of O’Sullivan that keeps your interest. Will he score 147 or walk from the arena. Will he get bored and lose willfully. What proportion of his shots will he play with his left hand. What a three-ring circus he is.

He is in trouble for his schoolboy outburst in China but I suspect that the snooker authorities will go lightly on him. They need him more than he needs them.