Barry Hearn has challenged Ronnie O’Sullivan to continue his superb form and go for snooker’s biggest ever cash prize of £1million.
Just minutes after winning the Shanghai Masters on Saturday, O’Sullivan received a tongue-in-cheek tweet from the World Snooker chairman encouraging him to go for the Northern Ireland Open title.
Should a player win all four of this season’s Home Nations events – English Open, Northern Ireland Open, Scottish Open and Welsh Open – the player will win a £1million pound bonus from World Snooker – the biggest ever prize offered in the sport’s history.
Following O’Sullivan’s English Open triumph in Barnsley in October – he now is the only player who can go for the jackpot but he needs to win the the three other events to do so. Pundits in the game say achieving the fete is close to impossible. But given O’Sullivan’s mega talent and his current ‘domination’ of the sport, according to Stephen Hendry – if anyone can do it, he can.
Hearn said on Twitter he was ‘dying to pay out’ the huge prize from his pocket.
The second of this season’s Home Nations event – the Northern Ireland Open – begins on Monday at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall.
O’Sullivan will face Germany’s Lukas Kleckers in the first round. World number one Mark Selby and Ding Junhui have not entered the event which may give O’Sullivan added incentive to go for yet more glory.
Mark King was the surprise winner last year when he beat Barry Hawkins in a thrilling final.
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