The Masters is one of snooker’s best tournaments because it sees the best players take on each other in front of the world stage and under the most intense situations.
Here, The Old Green Baize looks back at some of the very best moments The Masters has produced re-living each final since the event first established itself in the mid 1970s.
The Masters its back on Sunday, January 14.
So sit down, have a drink and roll back the years as we relive the Masters from day 1.
1975 – John Spencer
The history books have down John Spencer as the first ever winner of the Masters trophy when the tournament was first held in 1975. Back then, just ten ten of the leading players were invited to compete for the trophy. Spencer beat Welshman Ray Reardon 9-8 in a thrilling contest.
1976 – Ray Reardon
But Reardon bounced back twelve months later after his agonising final frame defeat to Spencer. Reardon thrashed England’s Graham Miles to take the title.
1977 – Doug Mountjoy
Though it was not to be back to back Masters titles for Reardon in 1978 despite him reaching the final for a third consecutive year. Doug Mountjoy became the third winner of snooker’s Masters with a 7-6 win.
1978 – Alex Higgins
The people’s champion – Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins achieved Masters glory in 1978 when he beat Canada’s Cliff Thorburn 7-5.
1979 – Perrie Mans
There was a big surprise in 1979 when South Africa’s Perrie Mans became the first overseas player to lift the Masters title – beating Higgins 8-4.
1980 – Terry Griffiths
And Terry Griffiths became the third Welshman to lift the Masters trophy in 1980. Griffths’ kicked off a new decade by beating Higgins – in his third consecutive appearance at a Masters final – 9-5.
1981 – Alex Higgins
But the Hurricane got revenge twelve months later as his fourth consecutive Masters final was to be a successful one as he beat Griffiths 9-6 to win the Masters for the second time – becoming the first ever player to do so.
1982 – Steve Davis
Davis dominated the sport in the 1980s and he picked up his maiden Masters title in 1982 when he beat Terry Griffiths 9-5 in the final.
1983 – Cliff Thorburn
Falling so close just five years earlier, Canada’s Cliff Thorburn managed to achieve Masters glory for the first time in 1983. A 9-7 win over Ray Reardon earned him a place in the tournament’s history books.
1984 – Jimmy White
A new star was born were the headlines when White reached the world championship semi-finals in 1982. But many fans will fondly remember the day when he lifted his first Masters title in 1984. White beat Terry Griffiths 9-5 to wwin what proved to be one of biggest titles.
1985 – Cliff Thorburn
The popular Canadian became the second player to win the Masters on two separate occasions in 1985 when he beat Doug Mountjoy 9-6.
1986 – Cliff Thorburn
And Thorburn became the tournament’s first ever three-times winner and became the first player ever to defend his trophy after beating Jimmy White 9-5.
1987 – Dennis Taylor
The popular Northern Irishman could wave his fingers with his delight once again (just like he did when he won the World Championship with the final black in 1985) when he secured his first Masters triumph. Taylor beat fellow Ulsterman Alex Higgins 9-8 in a close-fought final.
1988 – Steve Davis
Davis continued his dominance in the 1980s by lifting his second Masters title in 1988 and he did it in style. He thrashed Mike Hallett 9-0 making it, at the time, the biggest ever win in at a Masters final. But there was to be a new Scotsman who would rule the snooker world over the next few years.
1989 – Stephen Hendry
His name was Stephen Hendry. The talented Scot who went on to win SEVEN World Championship titles, lifted his first Masters title in 1989 as a teenager beating John Parrott 9-6.
1990 – Stephen Hendry
Hendry became just the second player to win the Masters for a second consecutive time when he defeated Parrott again in 1990. Just months later he then went onto win his first World Championship title.
1991 – Stephen Hendry
And the Scot rewrote the history books in 1991 when he came the first player to win three Masters titles in a row. And what a way to do it. The determined Scot came backe back from 7-0 and 8-2 down to beat Mike Halett in one of snooker’s greatest ever comebacks.
1992 – Stephen Hendry
Hendry’s dominance of the Masters continued when he remarkably lifted his fourth Masters titles in succession – after another comfortable win over John Parrott.
1993 – Stephen Hendry
Nobody could stop the talented Scot again in 1993 as Hendry crushed his opponents to the sword, sealing a FIFTH straight Masters title with a 9-5 win over Thailand’s James Wattana.
1994 – Alan McManus
Hendry looked set to record his sixth consecutive Masters triumph but another Scot produced one of the great Masters shocks to deny him more glory on the baize. Alan McManus burst onto the scene with a famous win against the 1990s dominant force – beating him in a gripping final 9-8.
1995 – Ronnie O’Sullivan
Two years after setting the world alight with his UK Championship victory at just the age of the 17, Ronnie O’Sullivan once again showed the world of his mega talent. The English youngster won the Masters crown for the first time in 1995 thrashing John Higgins 9-3.
1996 – Stephen Hendry
Two years of Masters hurt, Hendry wanted the put the matter straight again in 1996 as he defeated O’Sullivan in a dream final for all snooker fans. Hendry lifted Masters title number six with a 10-5 win.
1997 – Steve Davis
Steve Davis dominated the 1980s so not many gave him much chance when Ronnie O’Sullivan was in town for the Masters final of 1997. But Davis produced a brilliant display and managed to upset the odds by lifting major silverware once again. The final is well remembered for a streaker entering the playing area for a brief period.
1998 – Mark Williams
Welsh snooker had a new hero to kick start 1998 when Mark Williams beat Stephen Hendry in one of the all-time classic Masters finals. Tied at 9-9 the final frame went all the way to the final black which Hendry looked the favourite to take. But a crucial miss to the middle pocket handed Williams the final pot to take the trophy.
1999 – John Higgins
After winning his first World Championship title, John Higgins managed to secure his first Masters title too just eight months later when he beat Ireland’s Ken Doherty 10-8.
2000 – Matthew Stevens
And there was more Masters agony for Doherty twelve months on when h e was undone by Welshman Matthew Stevens, losing 10-8. Defeat for Dopherty was made even worse when he missed the final black to deny him a 147.
2001 – Paul Hunter
A new star on the snooker circuit was born in 2001 when Yorkshire’s Paul Hunter showed his incredible talent to lift the Masters for the first time. Hunter fought hard in a thrilling 10-9 win over Fergal O’Brien.
2002 – Paul Hunter
There was definitely something about Paul Hunter and dramatic Masters finals when he retained his Masters title in 2002 in sensational style beating Mark Williams in a final-frame decider. Hunter joined the likes of Stephen Hendry and Cliff Thorburn to win back to back Masters titles.
2003 – Mark Williams
Williams though was able to put the disappointment of the 2002 final behind him just twelve months later when he was crowned 2003 Masters champion. Williams won his second title – once again beating Hendry 10-4. Hendry’s dominance of the sport was starting to fade.
2004 – Paul Hunter
The delightful Paul Hunter became just the third player in hisort to win the Masters for a third time. And he did it in stunning style once again winning a final frame decider – this time against close friend Ronnie O’Sullivan. Sadly, Hunter died of cancer years later and this was the last time snooker had seen him at his best.
2005 – Ronnie O’Sullivan
O’Sullivan managed to finally win his second Masters title after a ten-year drought in 2005 when he thrashed John Higgins 10-3.
2006 – John Higgins
But joy turned to agonising despair for O’Sullivan a year later when Higgins managed to get sweet revenge beating him 10-9. In one of the classic Masters finals – Higgins came back from 60 points down in the final frame to take the title away from the Rocket.
2007 – Ronnie O’Sullivan
But there was no stopping O’Sullivan in 2007 when he thrashed China’s promising star Ding Junhui 10-3 to win the final. The match is remembered for Ding crying during the final and O’Sullivan consoling him and telling him the experience will make him a better player.
2008 – Mark Selby
After a rise up the world rankings, Leicester’s Mark Selby proved he was the big deal in 2008 when he hammered Stephen Lee to lift the Masters for the first time.
2009 – Ronnie O’Sullivan
But Selby could not stop O’Sullivan becoming only the second man in Masters history winning a fourth trophy after he beat the rising star 10-8 in an absorbing final.
2010 – Mark Selby
However Selby was to get sweet revenge on his new arch rival in 2010 as Selby came back from behind to break O’Sullivan’s heart beating him 10-9 in one of the best Masters finals of all time. Victory for Selby showed he had what it in to become the sport’s next dominating star.
2011 – Ding Junhui
Five years earlier he cried while being dismantled by a brilliant Ronnie O’Sullivan. But there was tears for a completely different reason in 2011 when Ding Junhui made history becoming the first Asian player to win the Masters. Ding beat Hong Kong’s Marco Fu 10-4 in what was a memorable day for the China’s top star.
2012 – Neil Robertson
And more history was made to kick-start 2012 when Neil Robertson became the first ever Australian to win the Masters title. Robertson who had become one of the world’s best players after winning his maiden World Championship title in 2010 – beat Shaun Murphy 10-6 to get his hands on the trophy.
2013 – Mark Selby
Mark Selby made sure it was not back to back titles for hungry Australian Robertson as the Leicester man joined the likes of Stephen Hendry, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Paul Hunter and Cliff Thorburn to have won the Masters three times. Selby eased his way to the title with a 10-6 victory.
2014 – Ronnie O’Sullivan
But once again O’Sullivan asserted his dominance over Selby when he secured Masters victory number five. This time a 10-4 victory.
2015 – Shaun Murphy
Murphy showed the world he was once again back to his best on the world stage after he produced a dominant display of attacking snooker to recored one of the biggest Masters final victories of all time. He outplayed Neil Robertson from the word go to win 10-2.
2016 – Ronnie O’Sullivan
The Rocket equalled Stephen Hendry’s record of winning six Masters titles in 2016 when he totally outplayed his way to another piece of silverware. O’Sullivan thrashed Barry Hawkins 10-1 – equalling the same margin Steve Davis won the biggest Masters victory of all time 9-0 in 1988.
2017 – Ronnie O’Sullivan
And O’Sullivan blitzed his way to the Masters record books twelve months when he became the tournament’s most successful player by winning a SEVENTH Masters title beating Joe Perry 10-7.