MD's BLOG - MASTERS & WORLD VICTORIES IN THE SAME SEASON?
Despite there being a number of tournaments between now and then, after the Masters, we can't help but draw our attention a little bit more towards the World Championship in April.
Mark Allen's maiden Masters success has meant his odds have shortened for the sport's ultimate prize at the Crucible this Spring. With the Northern Irishman breaking his 'Triple Crown' title duck, people are likely to talk him up more fondly in the coming months.
However, not surprisingly, history suggests how tough it really is to win both the Masters and World Championship in the same season. Only four players in the history of snooker have achieved this.
So, who has completed this perfect pairing? Naturally, you'll think to the dominant eras of Reardon, Davis and Hendry in the 70s, 80's and 90's respectively - and you'd be right.
Reardon claimed both in 1976 (although the World Championship wasn't at the Crucible then). With the Masters only starting in 1975, and with Ray having claimed 3 World Titles before then, his 'Double' tally could have been more.
For all of Davis' monopoly in the 1980's, he only chalked up both in the same year once as well; 1988. Despite being in his neck of the woods, 'The Nugget's' World Championship haul was double compared to his Masters'.
The only player ever to have achieved this unique feat on more than one occasion is the sport's most successful player ever - Stephen Hendry. He bagged both trophies during the same campaign in 1990, 1992, 1993 and 1996.
Mark Williams is the fourth and last person to win both in 2003, which means in total it has happened seven times.
Multiple champions of these titles Ronnie O'Sullivan, John Higgins and Mark Selby have yet to claim the Masters and then a couple of months later be the last one remaining at the Crucible.
A few players have come very close to joining this exclusive club, though.
2000 Masters Champion Matthew Stevens led, but lost in the World Final in the Spring. In 2014 O'Sullivan defeated Selby in the showpiece in London, but the tables were turned in Sheffield not long after. Shaun Murphy had a real rich vein of form at the start of 2015, but his 'Double' was denied by Stuart Bingham.
If Mark Allen does go on to be World Champion at the start of May, he would be the latest new member of this ultra-exclusive club.
Picture above is courtesy of World Snooker
Written and published by Michael Day on the 24th January 2018