Ronnie O'Sullivan criticised after turning down 'too cheap' 147 at Welsh Open

O'Sullivan turns down 147 chance

Ronnie O'Sullivan was criticised by World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn for turning down the chance of a maximum 147 break at the Welsh Open because the £10,000 prize money was "too cheap".

O'Sullivan, 40, potted 14 reds and 13 blacks before opting for an easier pink as he made a 146 to beat Barry Pinches 4-1 in the first round.

He told BBC Sport: "If it had been more, I'd have gone for the 147."

Hearn described O'Sullivan's actions as "unacceptable" and "disrespectful".

He said: "This is not a crime, but a shame.

"Players have a duty to the fans to deliver the best standard and entertainment they can. Anything less than playing to their best ability is unacceptable and disrespectful to the paying public."

Barry Hearn tweetBarry Hearn tweet

The £10,000, which is boosted by the £2000 on offer for the highest break of the tournament, is a rolling prize fund at ranking events which has not been won since Neil Robertson made a 147 at the UK Championship last year.

Englishman O'Sullivan had scored 80 in the break when he asked an official what the prize was for the highest break. He also asked the commentary box for information and looked visibly disappointed when told he could win up to £12,000.

"I knew it was £10,000. I could have done it, but I didn't think the prize was worthy of a 147. So I've tried to let it build up until it's worthy and then go for it," he said.

"It's like going into a Mercedes garage and when they say that you can have the car for £3,000, you reply, 'No way, that's too cheap. I'm not buying it for that'.

Most maximum 147 breaks in snooker history
13: Ronnie O'Sullivan
11: Stephen Hendry
6: John Higgins
5: Ding Junhui
4: Marco Fu, Shaun Murphy
See the full list hereexternal-link

"Certain things have value, and a 147 is a special moment. I want it to feel special all round.

"But the punters still got value for money today. Now they've got something more to look forward to. There's still room for improvement.

"You like to entertain your fans. It's like a film. You want them to come back and watch the next one.

"There is no point in giving them the best ending they've ever had. Leave room for a better ending next time."

Snooker's finest on Ronnie O'Sullivan

O'Sullivan, who claimed his sixth Masters title in January, won the first frame before Englishman Pinches hit back with a 70 break to level.

O'Sullivan took a scrappy third frame on the black, won the fourth with a 64 clearance and sealed victory courtesy of his 146 to set up a second-round meeting with China's Tian Pengfei.

World number one Mark Selby cruised to a 4-0 win over Welshman Duane Jones, while defending champion John Higgins, Neil Robertson, Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy and Barry Hawkins also went through.

World number two Stuart Bingham suffered a surprise 4-1 defeat by Anthony Hamilton and 2013 Welsh Open champion Stephen Maguire lost 4-3 to world number 90 Martin O'Donnell.

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