Snooker-World champion Brecel excited by new 'golden ball' format

Credit: REUTERS/Reuters Staff

By Mohammed Benmansour

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, March 5 (Reuters) - World champion Luca Brecel is excited to be among those looking to complete the first ever 167 break after the new golden ball was introduced at Saudi Arabia's first professional snooker event this week.

The opening season of the Riyadh World Masters of Snooker offers players the chance to win a prize of $500,000 if they can complete a maximum 147 and then pot the golden ball.

The golden ball, worth 20 points, sits on the top cushion during the frame for as long as a player can still complete a maximum and is removed when the chance is gone.

The event, which runs until Wednesday, features players such as Ronnie O'Sullivan, Shaun Murphy, Mark Williams and Ding Junhui.

"Yeah, it's exciting the golden ball. Obviously it's a big prize and well, it's going to be very difficult. It's a nice challenge and I'd love to have a go at it. Even if I don't make it I would just like to have a try," Brecel told Reuters on Tuesday.

"The 147 in itself is really difficult but now you need to be perfect on the black as well to go to the golden ball which is even more difficult."

Former world champion Judd Trump is also enjoying the challenge.

"It's something cool. I think it's always good to kind of push new ideas and I think the challenge of making a different break, a 167 here, would be very special," Trump said.

"I think the 167 is just that little bit harder now and with that comes a bigger prize. So, I think that 167 is very special for the first time."

Following the announcement last month of the creation of a Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters which will become the 'fourth major', Brecel said it was good to see the sport expanding into new countries.

"(It's) very good for us and for snooker. It's nice to be able to come to these countries and hopefully maybe Qatar and Dubai will follow and in the future maybe go up to the U.S. as well and make snooker really, really big in all the countries in the world," he said.

With a 10-year deal agreed, the tournament's first edition will take place in Riyadh from Aug. 31 to Sept. 7. It will be a ranking event open to all tour players, plus six local wild cards.

(Reporting by Mohammed Benmansour, Writing by Angelica Medina Editing by Toby Davis)


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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