Who were the greatest world snooker champions?

Around Easter every year, the world's finest wielders of a snooker cue do battle over the green baize at the Crucible (worldsnooker.com). Some players stand out as memorable stars of the game. These are our top 5 all-time world snooker champions.

  1. Joe Davies excelled in an era before television, so we don't know much about his game, although there are clips on the British Pathe newsreel (britishpathe.com). The statistics are eloquent. The first great snooker player, Davies won the world championship every year from 1926 to 1940, and again in 1946. He retired from the tournament as undefeated world champion.
  2. Alex Higgins let his temperament overshadow his achievements, but remains one of the most charismatic players ever to pick up a cue. He won 2 titles, ten years apart, in 1972 and 1982, but should have won more.
  3. Steve Davis cultivated a snooker image as a remorseless machine despite being a drily witty and amiable personality. He dominated the 1980s, winning all of his 6 world titles in that decade. We'll gloss over his role in that Chas 'n' Dave single.
  4. Stephen Hendry is the most successful snooker player of the modern era, a teenage prodigy who stuck around and is still a formidable opponent. His dominant era was the 1990s when he won all 7 of his titles.
  5. Ronnie O'Sullivan is unquestionably the world's most naturally talented player. The only question mark is his commitment. You suspect that he could add to his tally of 3 world titles if he could find something to make it more interesting, perhaps playing every match left-handed. He still has time to compile the statistics to make him the most memorable of world snooker champions.


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