Ronnie O’Sullivan wants to bring the raucous party atmosphere of a darts crowd to a snooker event.
The five-time world champion has landed his major titles by playing in enforced near silence at snooker’s major venues, including the Crucible.
The atmosphere can still be electric, but O’Sullivan is a regular visitor to the darts PDC Championship at Alexandra Palace, where the crowds, often fuelled by large amounts of alcohol, and razzmatazz provide an entirely different sense of occasion.
O’Sullivan wrote on Twitter: “The new rock stars are the dart players.”
He asked his followers: “By the way who would go and watch a snooker match played in a darts atmosphere?”
Despite a mixed response, O’Sullivan added: “Ok we will do one and see how it goes, I will play (Judd) trump first and see if it’s what the public wants.”
“I’d love to play in that atmosphere, and anyone who can’t, go home.”
O’Sullivan, 40, was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours and will make his first tournament appearance since the World Championship last April when he plays at the Masters this month.
The Masters – also at Alexandra Palace – runs from January 10 to 17 and O’Sullivan starts his bid to win the event for a sixth time when he plays Mark Williams on January 12.
Similar articles have been published by other online “papers” as well, all inspired by Ronnie’s tweets today.
Personally, I’m not convinced that this would work at all, and, I’m not convinced that Ronnie would like it so much either once he’s tried it. Not in major events anyway: how could players concentrate on their shots with dozens of people screaming, gesticulating and walking in their line?
Ronnie takes a lot of pride in the quality of his performance, he hates playing badly and let the audience and himself down. How is he going to maintain that level of quality in a drunken circus atmosphere? One thing he isn’t taking into account is that dart players aren’t that close to the audience and, more importantly, they don’t face the audience when throwing.
In a way it’s a bit what the snooker shootout is trying to offer and … guess what? A number of top players have not entered it, Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, Ding Junhui … AND Ronnie, they all give it a miss. So?