Ronnie O’Sullivan reacts to Saudi Arabia snooker plan and 167-break golden ball

Ronnie O’Sullivan says it is ‘great’ for snooker to play in Saudi Arabia (PA)

Ronnie O’Sullivan has backed the World Snooker Tour’s decision to hold a tournament in Saudi Arabia which includes a ‘golden ball’ that could increase the maximum break to 167.

The inaugural Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker is scheduled for March with O’Sullivan set to feature in the 10-player event alongside the rest of the top eight in the world, plus two wildcard entries.

It has also been announced that the non-ranking tournament includes a golden ball, known as the ‘Riyadh Season ball’, which will be worth 20 points but can only be potted after a player makes a maximum break of 147.

It currently remains unclear whether the golden ball will remain on the table throughout the game, or if players will be penalised for hitting the ball during play.

O’Sullivan, who beat Judd Trump in the World Grand Prix on Sunday to win his fourth trophy of the season, has not dismissed the idea of a 23rd ball being introduced to the table and insists he is looking forward to playing in Saudi Arabia.

Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump and Luca Brecel will play in the Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker in March

Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump and Luca Brecel will play in the Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker in March

When asked about Saudi’s decision to introduce a golden ball, O’Sullivan said after his Grand Prix final win: ‘What’s the prize for a 167, have they announced it?

‘I’m sure it’ll be a hefty prize.

‘Listen, the Saudis can do what they like – they’re a powerful outfit.

‘I think it’ll be good, it’d be great to get out there and play, every other sport seems to be doing stuff in Saudi so it’d be great to get out there.’

The decision to include a golden ball was also backed by Judd Trump last week.

‘It’s completely different. They’re trying something different, and hopefully all the players can get behind that,’ the world No.2 said.

‘I think every player wants to be the first to do something, so it’ll be a great achievement if I can do it.’

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