Masters History

The Masters: the tournament desired by all players. It has been celebrated in London since 1975 with a winners poster that speaks for itself. The Masters tournament is reserved for the best players in history, as you can see in our humble review of its history.

Masters History
Masters History

Nowadays, the Masters are contested by 16 best players in the official World Snooker Ranking. But this was not always so. In its first edition in 1975, ten players had the honor of opening the tournament and entering the history of this precious sport, called snooker.

The English player, John Spencer (deceased in 2006) entered the history of Masters, after defeating (9-8) in decider to welsh Ray Reardon. Spencer achieved the title and the 2.000 pounds awarded to the champion.

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John Spencer (1935-2006)

Ray Reardon, snooker dominator in the decade of the 70, the thorn of defeat with John Spencer was removed in the next edition (1976). Reardon defeated in the final (7-3) to English Graham Miles, a Miles who reached the final after defeating (5-4) in the semifinals his compatriot and the current champion John Spencer.

The edition of 1977 had the first and only Welsh duel in a Masters final. The protagonists who entered the history of the Welsh Snooker, were the mentioned Ray Reardon, with his third consecutive final and Doug Mountjoy, a Mountjoy that achieved victory in a new decider in the final (7-6) with Reardon as protagonist.

Alex Higgins would become the protagonist of the following editions of the Masters, achieving the machado to reach four finals consecutively.

The edition of 1978 continued with the same format 10 players, with the increase of 1.000 pounds for the tournament winner. Award that Alex Higgins took home, after defeating the Canadian Cliff Thorburn in the final, for a tight 7-5 for the northern Irish hurricane.

Final Masters 1978

In 1979 Alex Higgins repeated final, this time, with with a little-known player today, South African Perrie Mans, world championship finalist (World Championship History) in 1978. Higgins succumbed in the final before Mans by a score of 8-4.

We enter the decade of the 80, with a Masters that continued its way with the same format, but year after year he would increase his financial awards.

In the editions of 1980 Y 1981, we had the same protagonists in the final (Alex Higgins y Terry Griffiths). Again we had a Welsh player in the final, the mythical Terry Griffiths. Griffiths became the third Welsh player to win the prestigious tournament, after defeating in the final the Hurricane Higgins with a marker 9-5. Higgins remade from defeat in the next edition, as we can see in the following images:

Steve Davis would achieve his first Masters final in 1982. His rival would be Terry Griffiths (third consecutive final) who reached the final after defeating Alex Higgins in the semifinals by a tight 6-4. Davis disputed his second Masters tournament. In his debut (1981) He was defeated (5-3) first round by South African player Perrie Mans, defeat that did not affect Davis much, since he would achieve his first Masters title (9-5) in a final which you can enjoy below:

The Masters was modernized in 1983 with a format of 16 players, and a total of 55.000 thousand pounds in prizes with 16.000 of them for the winner.

Cliff Thorburn would manage to reach a new final, five years after his first final with Alex Higgins. On this occasion the Canadian player took the victory, after defeating a tight 9-7 to Welsh Ray Reardon.

Cliff Thorburn Masters Champion 1983
Cliff Thorburn Masters Champion 1983

We come to the edition of 1984 with several protagonists (3) and the take off of the Masters, as the numbers indicate. 115.000 pounds in prizes with 35.000 for the great champion and 11.000 pounds for the daring’ that is capable of making a maximum break of 147 or more.

We start with the first protagonist, Canadian Kirk Stevens (the daring). Steven did not conquer the title, didn't even make it to the final, but it entered the history of the Masters and the Snooker, when making the first maximum break in the Masters tournament.

Kirk Stevens 147 Masters 1984 Semifinales Jimmy White

We continue with the two protagonists of the grand final of the Masters 1984. Terry Griffiths reached his fourth Masters final, matching the deed (till the date) de Alex Higgins (Higgins would achieve 5 end) and Ray Reardon. His rival would be the talented and young English player, Jimmy White. Enjoy the grand finale:

The Masters continued to grow by leaps and bounds, with a Canadian as the main protagonist of the editions of 1985 Y 1986. First we are going to enjoy one of the most media duels of the decade of the 80: Alex Higgins y Steve Davis. Duel that occurred in the first round of the Masters of 1985:

We continue with the Canadian protagonist, in the mentioned editions of 1985 Y 1986, the great Cliff Thorburn. Thorburn, known the world over for achieving the first maximum break in the world championship (Crucible Theater). He was also able to be the first player to achieve two consecutive victories in the Masters tournament., and pocket 62.500 pounds.

In the edition of 1985 defeated the future world champion in the first round (1985) Dennis Taylor (5-3), in the quarterfinals to Ray Reardon for a forceful 5-0, and in the semifinals and final he did the same with Jimmy White (6-4) y Doug Mountjoy (9-6) respectively.

Thorburn's way to defend his title and achieve the triplet at the Masters (both deeds would be a record) It was not easy. Again, he faced a future world champion in the first round (1986) Joe Johnson, which he got rid of with a marker 5-3. In the quarterfinals he defeated Griffiths (5-2) and in the semifinals Tony Knowles (6-4). In the final you would see the faces with Jimmy White, whom he defeated by a clearing 9-5. Cliff Thorburn, world champion 1980, made history again for the Canadian Snooker.

Final Masters 1986
Final Masters 1986

In the edition of 1987 a historic final would be re-lived with the first and only duel to date of Northern Irish in a Masters final. The protagonists were none other than the Hurricane Alex Higgins and the current world champion at that time, Dennis Taylor. Un Taylor, who managed to defeat in the semifinals (6-5) current tournament champion Cliff Thorburn. Enjoy the grand finale.

Final Masters 1987

Steve Davis, the great dominator of Snooker in the decade of the 80, made his second appearance in a Masters final in 1988. Final remembered for being the first with two English players, and unique to date with one of the markers to 0 at the awards ceremony. The record in question is held by the English player Mike Hallet. Despite the painful defeat (9-0) before the all powerful Davis. Hallet made a tournament more than brilliant. Defeating two world champions along the way, Dennis Taylor (5-3) y Alex Higgins (5-2). In the semifinals he got rid of the future world champion (1991) John Parrot, for a tight 6-5.

Steve Davis Masters Champion 1988
Steve Davis Masters Champion 1988

Stephen Hendry Masters

In 1989 The Masters tournament experienced the debut of what is considered the most special player of the Snooker, we talk about Scottish Stephen Hendry.

Hendry, premiered at the Masters with the English player Willie Thorne, which got rid of by a clearing 5-2 with his first hundred at the Masters (114) to end the game. Second round, did the same (5-3), with Welsh player Terry Griffiths. Stephen Hendry, despite his youth, Griffiths had already taken the measure well, defeating him in his previous four games. In the semifinals the faces with the current tournament champion would be seen, Steve Davis. Davis, just like Griffiths, I already knew what it was like to deal at a Snooker table with the young Scottish player. Hendry, would achieve victory with a score of 6-3 and his second hundred at the Masters (119 in the end it would be the highest break of the tournament).

His rival in the final would be the English John Parrot. Parrot had previously faced Hendry six times, with a favorable balance for the Scottish player with 5 victorias, for just one win for the English player. Balance that Stephen Hendry asserted in his first Masters final, achieving seven half hundreds (89, 64, 62, 61, 59, 58, 52) to get his first Master and Triple Crown title.

Stephen Hendry Campeón Masters 1989
Stephen Hendry Campeón Masters 1989

The Masters reached the decade of the 90 (that means we continue with the current tournament champion).

Stephen Hendry defended title, and boy did he defend it!. On his way to the final he got rid of Steve James in the first round (5-2), a James who came from eliminating Alex Higgins for 5-2 (Ronda Wild Card). Second round, turned to face the rival of his debut in the Masters, Willie Thorne. The party did not go down in history for its brilliance, but if it was worth Hendry to access a new Masters semifinals. Stephen Hendry, once again, failed to deploy his great long distance game, a couple of breaks were enough (65 Y 64) to beat Jimmy White in the semifinals by a tight 6-4 and be able to play the grand final, with the same protagonist from the previous edition (John Parrot).

Final Masters 1990

The Masters of 1991 was endowed with 350.000 thousand pounds in prizes, 100 thousand of them for the winner.

They're going to allow us to focus on just one match: the grand finale with Stephen Hendry (third participation and third final) y Mike Hallett. Remember the final played by Hallet in the edition of 1988 with the 9-0 in favor of Steve Davis. If they see the final they will understand it 😉

In the Olympic year of Barcelona ’92, a new edition of the Masters was released, with Stephen Hendry as a big favorite: after matching Canadian player Cliff Thorburn's record, with three Master crowns (Hendry consecutively).

Matching Thorburn's record wasn't enough for Stephen Hendry, but in eighths (Martin Clark 5-0) and the quarterfinals only gave one frame (Dean Reynolds 5-1). In the semifinals, once again, was the executioner of the English player Jimmy White. Despite White achieving the highest break of the tournament 139, it wasn't enough to break the all powerful Hendry, which was imposed by a tight 6-4.

White is said to have suffered Hendry in the Crucible Theater (4 lost endings) and we (SpainProSnooker) we say that John Parrot suffered it in the Masters finals. Parrot managed to reach his third final in four seasons and once again his rival was the great snooker dominator of the time.

Stephen Hendry, at the start of the final, gave John Parrot little choice. Hendry went to rest with a 4-0 upstairs and a 136 in the last frame. The rest of the game alternated frames until reaching the 9-4, what the fourth title in a row meant for Stephen Hendry. A whole historical record.

Stephen Hendry Campeón Masters 1992
Stephen Hendry Campeón Masters 1992

We continue with Stephen Hendry and his idyll with the Masters tournament. Everything indicated that Hendry was going to have an easy path to the final rounds.. But that was not so: in the first round they would face each other with the young and talented Irish player Ken Doherty. Hendry marked territory of a good start, taking the first three frames with a 129 in the first one. Doherty was not intimidated, turning the game around (4-3). And one more time, Stephen Hendry, he showed us all his talent, achieving two hundred in a row (105 Y 131) to end the game.

In the quarterfinals he eliminated the English Gary Wilkinson, with several break’s winners (101, 92, 84, 69) that gave way to new semifinals. In the semifinals he would see the faces with his countryman Alan McManus: the game fell on the side of the current champion by a tight 6-4, with these break’s: 105, 78, 73, 72, 65, 62 a cargo de Stephen Hendry.

Stephen Hendry's rival in the final would be Thai player James Wattana, winner of several important titles and future double semifinalist of the world championship, in addition to achieving three break’s maximum, among other achievements.

Final Masters 1993

Stephen Hendry, after achieving his fifth Masters title (consecutive) was the big favorite for editing 1994. And he demonstrated it by planting himself in the grand final with great ease (he just lost 6 frames, two in each round). His rival in the final would be his compatriot Alan McManus, that meant we would have for the first time and, until today, a Masters final with Scottish players.

The Scottish derby did not disappoint in terms of emotion. The highest break in the final was signed by the current champion (Hendry), with a large hundred 115 points, plus five half hundreds (80, 69, 67, 62, 58). McManus didn't play a great long-distance game with just three half-hundreds (83, 61, 55) before reaching the decider of the grand final of the Masters 1994:

Masters 1995

In 1995 we would have, once again, a Scottish playing at a high level and an English doing the same. The Scottish player debuted at the Masters and had to win the Wild Card round to access the final draw. By the English player, it was his second participation in the Masters (first final frame). We are talking about the well-known John Higgins and Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Ronnie O'Sullivan v John Higgins  Final Masters 1995
Ronnie O’Sullivan v John Higgins
Final Masters 1995

The path of both players to the grand final was not easy. John Higgins had to eliminate in the quarterfinals (5-1) his compatriot and current tournament champion Alan McManus. Higgins gave few options with numbers (break’s 91, 89, 73, 55) they speak for themselves. In the semifinals they saw the faces with Jimmy White, who at that time was one of the great players on the circuit. Treasuring several lost endings in the World Championship, status that could not be reflected in the mesa, as indicated by the marker (6-1 para Higgins).

Ronnie O’Sullivan, made his debut in the final draw, with the three-time tournament finalist (89, 90,92) and World Champion in 1991, English John Parrot. The game reached the decider with an O’Sullivan victory after a break from 58 points. In the quarterfinals he easily got rid of the legendary Terry Griffiths for 5-2. Peter Ebdon waited in the semifinals, after eliminating a certain Stephen Hendry in the quarterfinals after going 4-2 below.

Masters semifinals 1995

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Peter Ebdon

The grand finale promised!! after the great journey taken by both players. You can enjoy the show in the following video.

Final Masters 1995

Ronnie O’Sullivan v John Higgins

Masters 1996

The tournament continued to increase its prizes, with a figure of 125.000 pounds for the player who managed to lift the Trophy at the Wembley Conference Center in London (England); the format also changed (first round, quarters and semifinals for best of 11 frames), that we maintain today.

The current tournament champion (Ronnie O’Sullivan) he was a big favorite along with Scottish Stephen Hendry and John Higgins. Derby we would live in the first round. Hendry arrived at the Masters of 1996 with a Honours that speaks for itself. The tournament was more than interesting and anyone dared to predict the winner of the succulent figure of 125.000 pounds, since in the rest of the poster two English World Champions appeared, Steve Davis (6 Titles) and John Parrot (1 Title). Not forgetting the six-time World Runner-up and winner of the Masters in 1984 Jimmy White, and the champion of the Masters in 1994 Alan McManus.

The route of the favorites in the first round left us the aforementioned Scottish Derby. Stephen Hendry started the machine with a house brand break (95), which did not impress a greedy young John Higgins, returning the winning break with a large hundred 121 points. Higgins continued adding frames on the scoreboard, reaching an advantage of 4-2. The World Champion was in trouble and his reaction was immediate., Hendry did not make great break’s but he did turn the score around (5-4 above) standing just one frame away from victory. Which came in the next frame:

To be continue….

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