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World Snooker Championship Winners – Who Won the Tournament Before

Right from the very beginning of the World Snooker Championship’s history, there have been some amazing records set by World Snooker winners. None of them was bigger than the one set by Joe Davis who won the first fifteen editions of the tournament, from 1927 to 1946.

Other big names of the tournament’s early days to dominate were Fred Davis, brother of Joe who won the title eight times, and John Pulman who won it eight times in a row between 1957 and 1968. Those three players were the major forces before the game underwent some changes and stepped into the modern era of the sport in 1969.

History of World Snooker Championship Past Winners

The World Snooker Championship has been a premier event in the game of snooker since its inception in 1927. There have only been thirteen players in the long history of the World Snooker Championship that have won the title on more than one occasion.

The event has provided some of the most memorable moments and World Snooker winners in the sport. Each of the champions listed on this page had their own unique journey to the title, whether it was a hard-fought victory or a dominating display, they are all iconic figures to have ruled at the very top level.

The Modern Era of World Snooker Winners

The 1969 World Championship was won by John Spencer, who beat Gary Owen. The following year, the popular Ray Reardon, who beat John Pulman after the tournament had been switched to a knockout event won the first of five World Championship crowns, including a four-year winning streak.

Davis Rules The 80s

In 1981 a certain Steve Davis beat Doug Mountjoy 18-12 in the World Snooker Championship Final to land his first crown. It was Davis, known for his slow pace of play and astonishing tactical ability, that would make him the player to beat during the 1980s. Davis won five World Championship titles, losing two other Final appearances.

Davis played his part in some of the most memorable Finals that have ever been produced in the tournament, like his duels with Dennis Taylor and Joe Johnson, and his wide-margin wins over Cliff Thorburn and John Parrott. But all good eras have to end and come the 1990s a new star had risen.

Hendry The King Of The 90s

Stephen Hendry won the 1990 World Snooker Championship against Jimmy White. That match played its part in White being one of the greatest players of the game to never win the World Championship. White lost all six of his appearances in the Final during his career. Four of those were against Scotsman Hendry.

Hendry added another five titles between 1992 and 1996 and then in 1999 claimed his seventh Snooker World Championship title. That at the time, looked like a modern-era record that never looked like being challenged. Hendry was just meticulous when very busy, his level of accuracy something that the game hadn’t seen since Steve Davis.

O’Sullivan’s Time Comes

But the baton was then taken up by Ronnie O’Sullivan, who won his first World Championship against John Higgins in 2001. The most naturally talented player to ever play the sport, O’Sullivan equalled Hendry’s record of seven World Championship titles with his success over Judd Trump in the 2022 Snooker World Championship Final.

At the 2023 event, O’Sullivan has the chance to pull ahead and further cement his legendary status in the game. Interestingly for O’Sullivan, his titles were not won in big streaks like Reardon, Hendry and Davis did. In reaching his seven titles, O’Sullivan only managed to win in back-to-back years once. So the longevity of ‘The Rocket’ has been something special.

Other World Snooker Championship Past Winners

The Snooker World Championship is the pinnacle of the sport and some of the most famous players in the sport have been crowned champions over the years. Some of them have been one-time winners like John Parrot, Ken Doherty and Cliff Thorburn.

There are also multiple-time World Snooker Championship past winners like John Higgins (4), Alex Higgins (2), Mark Williams whose third title in 2018 came fifteen years after his 2003 success, plus more recently, Mark Selby, a four-time World Champion.

World Snooker Championship

The Greatest Snooker World Championship Final

Steve Davis was involved in some notable Finals of the tournament. But his duel with Dennis Taylor in 1985 is arguably the greatest ever Snooker World Championship Final ever. Davis was looking to win the title for a third consecutive year, taking on Taylor who was in his first Final.

Davis was the big favourite for the Final against Northern Ireland’s Taylor. In the best-of-35 match, Davis pulled ahead to a remarkable 9-1 lead and the match as a contest looked done and dusted. But from nowhere, Taylor mounted an astonishing comeback.

Taylor managed to get the match back to 17-17 which meant that the Final needed a deciding frame. But the drama was unreal. Taylor needed to pot the brown, blue, pink and black to win the match. He took care of the first three, none of them easy shots either. But he missed the black, and fortunately for him, it ended up safe.

Both players then squandered two clear chances to sink the black and win the Final. But it was Taylor who slotted home at well past midnight. It’s known as ‘The Black Ball Final’.


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