Rory McLeod (snooker player)

Rory McLeod (born 26 March 1971) is a Jamaican professional snooker player.

Rory McLeod
Rory McLeod PHC 2016-1.jpg
Born (1971-03-26) 26 March 1971 (age 51)
Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England
Sport country England (until 2019)[1]
 Jamaica (2019–present)[2][3]
NicknameThe Highlander
Professional1991/1992, 1996/1997, 1998/1999, 2001–2019, 2020–2022
Highest ranking32 (August–September, October, December 2011, February 2012)
Current ranking 78 (as of 3 May 2022)
Maximum breaks1
Best ranking finishLast 16 (x10)
Tournament wins

After three spells as a professional in the 1990s, interspersed with stints playing on the secondary Challenge Tour, McLeod spent 18 years on the main tour between 2001 and 2019, reaching his highest ranking, 32nd, in August 2011. He has reached the last 16 in ten ranking tournaments, and his most notable achievement came in 2015, when he won the minor-ranking Ruhr Open, beating Tian Pengfei 4–2 in the final.[4]

Having suffered relegation from the main tour at the end of the 2018-2019 season, McLeod spent the 2019-20 season playing on the World Seniors Tour and Challenge Tour;[5] he regained his professional status in August 2020 at Q School.[6]


After ten years on the Challenge Tour he reached the Main Tour professional ranks for the 2001/2002 season.

McLeod has reached the last 16 of eight ranking tournaments. The first of these was the 2005 Grand Prix although this victory against a noticeably ill Paul Hunter was bittersweet. His best results of 2004/2005 were 2 last-48 runs, the Welsh Open run including a victory over Shaun Murphy. He narrowly missed out on a place in the last 16 of the 2007 Grand Prix, losing on frame difference in his group to Barry Hawkins.

He qualified for the 2008 UK Championship by beating Jimmy White and Dave Harold where he played Ronnie O'Sullivan. He slipped 6–0 down before launching a comeback by winning five consecutive frames (including three successive centuries), but ultimately lost 9–6. Later in the season he defeated Ian McCulloch to qualify for the World Championship for the first time in 2009, becoming the first black player to have done so. He faced Mark King in the first round but despite putting in a resilient performance lost 10–6. However, his performances throughout the season saw him rise to his highest ranking yet of 39.

In 2009 he won the Masters Qualifying Event, beating Andrew Higginson 6–1 in the final, to earn a place at the final stages of the 2010 Masters where he lost 6–2 to Mark Williams. He followed this up by qualifying for the UK Championship,[7] being knocked out in the first round by Neil Robertson.[8]

McLeod qualified for the World Snooker Championship for the second time in 2011, and was drawn against seeded player Ricky Walden in the first round. In a minor upset, McLeod won the match 10–6 to set up a second-round match with world No. 1 John Higgins. After the match, Walden criticised McLeod's slow style of play, though McLeod was playing only marginally slower than Walden. McLeod responded to the criticism by arguing that Walden was more responsible for the pace of the match.[9][10] McLeod was ultimately defeated by the eventual champion John Higgins 13–7 in the second round.[11]

On 1 July 2011, Dutch referee Jan Verhaas stated on his Twitter page that McLeod had refused to shake the hand of female snooker referee Ivy Zhu after his victory over Robert Milkins in a qualifier for the Australian Goldfields Open. Verhaas' comment read: "Rory McLeod refused to shake female ref Ivy Zhu's hand this morning because of his muslim beliefs. You may think what you like about it...".[12] On 22 November 2014, after losing 4–0 to Judd Trump at the Ruhr Open, McLeod again refused to shake the hand of the female referee.

2011/2012 seasonEdit

McLeod qualified for the 2011 Australian Goldfields Open, and beat Peter Ebdon in the first round 5 frames to 3,[13] before going out to Shaun Murphy in the second round.[14] McLeod qualified for the 2011 UK Championship by beating Barry Hawkins 6–2.[15] He was drawn against three-time UK winner John Higgins and led 4–2 before the scoreline became 5–5. In the deciding frame Higgins "fluked" two balls, one when escaping a snooker and McLeod would ultimately lose the match 6–5.[16] McLeod also reached the China Open where he played Higgins in the first round again and lost 1–5.[17] He finished the season ranked world number 38.[18]

2012/2013 seasonEdit

McLeod qualified for the Australian Goldfields Open and the China Open during the 2012–13 season. In Australia he lost 4–5 in the first round to Stephen Lee and in China he had his best run of the season, beating Hu Hao 5–1 in the wildcard round, Matthew Stevens 5–2 in the first round, before losing 3–5 to Shaun Murphy in the last 16.[19] McLeod played in all 10 of the minor-ranking Players Tour Championship events, with his best finish coming at the fifth European Tour Event, where he was whitewashed 0–4 by John Higgins in the quarter-finals.[19] He finished 36th on the PTC Order of Merit, outside of the top 26 who qualified for the Finals.[20] McLeod ended the season by losing 9–10 to Sam Baird in the third round of World Championship Qualifying, to be placed at number 45 in the world rankings.[21]

2013/2014 seasonEdit

McLeod lost 5–3 to Mark King in the first round of the 2013 Wuxi Classic and 5–2 to Robert Milkins in the second round of the Australian Goldfields Open to start the 2013–14 season.[22] He qualified for three other Chinese ranking events during the year, losing in the first round of the International Championship and China Open.[22] At the World Open, McLeod came through a wildcard round match against Zhao Xintong and then narrowly beat Tom Ford 5–4, before world number one Neil Robertson knocked him out 5–1.[23]

2014/2015 seasonEdit

McLeod was beaten 5–4 by Michael Holt after having been 4–2 ahead in the first round of the 2014 Wuxi Classic. He defeated Lee Walker, Andrew Pagett and Ken Doherty on his way to qualifying for the Australian Goldfields Open and lost 5–2 to Judd Trump in the opening round.[24] McLeod failed to qualify for the next two ranking events, before knocking out Ian Burns 6–2 and Zhang Anda 6–5 at the UK Championship.[25] His second last 32 match of the season went into the early hours and it was Matthew Selt who ended McLeod's tournament with a 6–4 win.[26] McLeod met Ronnie O'Sullivan in the second round of the Welsh Open after seeing off Andrew Pagett 4–2. He led 2–0, before O'Sullivan won four unanswered frames.[27] The final ranking event McLeod could qualify for this year was the Indian Open where he lost 4–1 to Ricky Walden in the first round.[24] McLeod kept a hold of his tour place at the end of the season as he was the world number 62, just inside the top 64 who remain.[28]

There was some controversy during the Welsh Open due to his Isis Business Solutions sponsorship badge. The logo worn by McLeod consisted of the word `ISIS' in large letters and a small-print URL underneath. Some viewers thought he was sponsored by, or demonstrating support for, the Islamic State.[29]

2015/2016 seasonEdit

McLeod began 2015–16 by playing in the Australian Goldfields Open, where he beat Nigel Bond 5–2 before losing 5–4 to Jack Lisowski in the last 64. He progressed to the last 16 at the next event, the Riga Open, overcoming German amateur Roman Dietzel 4–1, Irishman Fergal O'Brien 4–0 and Hammad Miah 4–2, but lost at this stage 4–2 to eventual finalist Tom Ford. He reached the last 48 at the Shanghai Masters, losing to Alan McManus, and was eliminated in the first round of the International Championship, 6–1 by Daniel Wells.[30]

However, at the Ruhr Open, McLeod defeated Craig Steadman, Jamie Jones, Mark King, Ben Woollaston, Mark Davis and the resurgent Mike Dunn to reach the final of an event carrying ranking points for the first time in his career, 24 years after making his professional debut.[31] There, he faced China's Tian Pengfei, whom he defeated 4–2 to win his second professional title.[32][33] The 25,000 winner's prize is the highest amount he has earned from a single tournament in his career.[34] It also gained him entry to the Champion of Champions for the first time, but he was thrashed 4–0 by Neil Robertson in the opening round. After McLeod lost 6–5 to Jamie Cope in the UK Championship first round he said that he had not felt like the same person since his tournament win.[35] Another first round deciding frame defeat came in the German Masters to Kyren Wilson and McLeod also lost in the second round of the Welsh Open 4–1 to Judd Trump. His debut appearance at the PTC Finals ended at the first hurdle as Dunn beat him 4–1. McLeod did reach the third round of the China Open by knocking out Mitchell Mann 5–0 and Dunn 5–2, but lost 5–1 to Alfie Burden.[30]

2016/2017 seasonEdit

McLeod lost in the last 32 of the Riga Masters and Indian Open 4–1 to Anthony McGill and 4–2 to Barry Hawkins. It took until the penultimate ranking event of the season to reach the same stage again when he beat Liang Wenbo 5–2 and Mike Dunn 5–3 at the China Open. He was defeated 5–3 by Hossein Vafaei in the last 16.[36] A pair of 10–7 victories over Darryl Hill and Sydney Wilson moved McLeod one win away from qualifying for the World Championship and he took the first seven frames against Hammad Miah.[37] Miah then rallied to be 7–6 down, but McLeod would win 10–7.[38] At the Crucible he drew Judd Trump, a man who went into the tournament proclaiming that "I honestly believe I can play to a standard which is very rare nowadays," and that he was "the best" in the world.[39] He won the first four frames, but McLeod, at 46 the oldest player in the event, responded brilliantly to take a 5–4 lead. McLeod went on to claim a famous 10–8 victory against a player ranked 52 places above him in the rankings and said it was the biggest win of his career.[40][41] He lost 13–3 to Stephen Maguire in the second round with a session to spare and said the hype from his win over Trump had distracted him.[42]

2018/2019 seasonEdit

At the UK Championship in December 2018, an impressive stun shot won McLeod the BBC Shot of the Championship.

After being on tour for 18 consecutive years, he dropped off the tour after failing to qualify through Q-School.

2020/2021 seasonEdit

In August 2020 he returned to the pro tour after qualifying through Q-School.

Personal lifeEdit

McLeod is of Jamaican parentage. He was born in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, where he attended Victoria Junior School, Westfield Boys School and Sir Christopher Hatton School. He first played snooker seriously at the Embassy Club, Wellingborough, in his early teens, but was also a talented schoolboy footballer. Outside of snooker he has worked as a pub landlord and a barber.[43]

McLeod, who became Muslim in 2003, lives in Leicester. He also spent time living in Qatar, where he coached their national snooker team.[44]

Performance and rankings timelineEdit

Tournament 1991/
Ranking[45][nb 1] [nb 2] [nb 3] [nb 3] [nb 2] [nb 3] [nb 2] [nb 3] [nb 3] [nb 2] 88 78 66 49 49 48 44 39 34 35 38 45 53 62 49 41 62 [nb 3] [nb 2] 77
Ranking tournaments
Championship League Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event 2R RR
British Open LQ A LQ LQ A A A A LQ LQ LQ LQ Tournament Not Held 2R
Northern Ireland Open Tournament Not Held 1R 1R 2R A 2R 1R
English Open Tournament Not Held 1R 1R 1R A 2R 1R
UK Championship WD A A LQ A A A A LQ LQ 1R LQ 1R 1R LQ 1R 1R 1R 1R LQ 2R 3R 1R 2R 1R 2R A 1R 1R
Scottish Open[nb 4] NH A A LQ A A A A LQ 2R LQ Tournament Not Held MR Not Held 1R 4R 1R A 1R LQ
World Grand Prix Tournament Not Held NR DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ
Shoot-Out Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event 1R 1R 4R A 2R A
German Masters[nb 5] Not Held A A A Not Held Tournament Not Held LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ 1R LQ LQ 1R A LQ LQ
Players Championship[nb 6] Tournament Not Held DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ 1R DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ
European Masters[nb 7] A A A LQ A A A A LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ NR Tournament Not Held LQ LQ 1R A 1R LQ
Welsh Open A A A A A A A A 1R LQ LQ 2R LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ 1R LQ LQ 2R 2R 2R 2R 2R 1R A 1R 1R
Turkish Masters Tournament Not Held LQ
Gibraltar Open Tournament Not Held MR 1R 2R 2R 4R 1R 3R
Tour Championship Tournament Not Held DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ
Non-ranking tournaments
Champion of Champions Tournament Not Held A A 1R A A A A A A
World Seniors Championship Tournament Not Held A A A A 1R SF A A NH A A QF
Former ranking tournaments
Irish Masters Non-Ranking Event LQ LQ LQ NH NR Tournament Not Held
Northern Ireland Trophy Tournament Not Held NR 1R LQ 2R Tournament Not Held
Bahrain Championship Tournament Not Held LQ Tournament Not Held
Wuxi Classic[nb 8] Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event LQ 1R 1R Tournament Not Held
Australian Goldfields Open[nb 9] Not Held NR Tournament Not Held 2R 1R 2R 1R LQ Tournament Not Held
Shanghai Masters Tournament Not Held LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ 1R Non-Ranking Not Held
Paul Hunter Classic[nb 10] Tournament Not Held Pro-am Event Minor-Ranking Event 2R 1R 1R NR Not Held
Indian Open Tournament Not Held LQ 1R NH 2R 2R 1R Not Held
China Open[nb 11] Tournament Not Held A A A A LQ Not Held LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ WR LQ 1R 2R 1R LQ 3R 3R LQ LQ Not Held
Riga Masters[nb 12] Tournament Not Held Minor-Rank 2R LQ 1R A Not Held
International Championship Tournament Not Held LQ 1R LQ LQ LQ 1R LQ A Not Held
China Championship Tournament Not Held NR 1R LQ A Not Held
World Open[nb 13] LQ A A LQ A A A A 1R LQ LQ LQ 2R LQ RR LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ 2R Not Held LQ LQ 1R A Not Held
WST Pro Series Tournament Not Held RR NH
Former non-ranking tournaments
Masters Qualifying Event[nb 14] A MR A LQ A A 3R 1R 1R 2R A NH SF A 2R 2R W Tournament Not Held
Shoot-Out Tournament Not Held 3R 1R 1R 2R 2R 1R Ranking Event
Performance Table Legend
LQ lost in the qualifying draw #R lost in the early rounds of the tournament
(WR = Wildcard round, RR = Round robin)
QF lost in the quarter-finals
SF lost in the semi-finals F lost in the final W won the tournament
DNQ did not qualify for the tournament A did not participate in the tournament WD withdrew from the tournament
DQ disqualified from the tournament
NH / Not Held event was not held.
NR / Non-Ranking Event event is/was no longer a ranking event.
R / Ranking Event event is/was a ranking event.
MR / Minor-Ranking Event means an event is/was a minor-ranking event.
PA / Pro-am Event means an event is/was a pro-am event.
  1. ^ From the 2010/2011 season it shows the ranking at the beginning of the season.
  2. ^ a b c d e New players on the Main Tour don't have a ranking.
  3. ^ a b c d e f He was an amateur.
  4. ^ The event was called the International Open (1986/1987–1996/1997) and the Players Championship (2003/2004)
  5. ^ The event was called the German Open (1995/1996–1997/1998)
  6. ^ The event was called the Players Tour Championship Grand Finals (2010/2011–2012/2013) and the Players Championship Grand Final (2013/2014–2015/2016)
  7. ^ The event was called the European Open (1988/1989–1996/1997 and 2001/2002–2003/2004) and the Malta Cup (2004/2005–2007/2008)
  8. ^ The event was called the Jiangsu Classic (2008/2009–2009/2010)
  9. ^ The event was called the Australian Open (1994/1995) and the Australian Masters (1995/1996)
  10. ^ The event was called the Grand Prix Fürth (2004/2005) and the Fürth German Open (2005/2006–2006/2007)
  11. ^ The event was called the China International (1997/1998–1998/1999)
  12. ^ The event was called the Riga Open (2014/2015–2015/2016)
  13. ^ The event was called the Grand Prix (1991/1992–2000/2001 and 2004/2005–2009/2010), the LG Cup (2001/2002–2003/2004) and the Haikou World Open (2011/2012–2013/2014)
  14. ^ The event was also called the Benson & Hedges Championship (1990/1991–2002/2003)

Career finalsEdit

Minor-ranking finals: 1 (1 title)Edit

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 2015 Ruhr Open   Tian Pengfei 4–2

Non-ranking finals: 2 (1 title)Edit

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 2009 Masters Qualifying Tournament   Andrew Higginson 6–1
Runner-up 1. 2019 Seniors Irish Masters Qualifying Event   Michael Judge 1–4

Pro-am finals: 1 (1 title)Edit

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 2003 EASB Open Tour – Event 3   Mark Gray 5–2

Amateur finals: 1Edit

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 2020 English Amateur Championship   Ben Hancorn 3–5


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  3. ^ "WPBSA SnookerScores - Player: Rory McLeod". Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  4. ^ Rory Rules In Ruhr – World Snooker
  5. ^ Rory McLeod joins the WSS ROKiT Tour | The WPBSA World Seniors Tour
  6. ^ "McLeod Seals Tour Return". 10 August 2020.
  7. ^ Dott To Face Williams In Telford
  8. ^ "Results". BBC News. 24 April 2006.
  9. ^ 'Highlander' leaves Walden feeling low Yahoo! Sport, 20 April 2011
  10. ^ "World Snooker: Walden critical of McLeod style". BBC Sport. 20 April 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
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  12. ^ "McLeod through amid 'handshake controversy'". Eurosport. 25 April 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
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  14. ^ "Higgins crashes out in Australia". BBC News. 19 July 2011.
  15. ^ "Tokyo 2020 Olympics - News, Videos, Results & Schedule".
  16. ^ "McLeod loses out in deciding frame". BBC Sport. 3 December 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
  17. ^ "Rory McLeod 2011/2012". Retrieved 16 May 2012.
  18. ^ "Official World Ranking List for the 2012/2013 Season" (PDF). Retrieved 16 May 2012.
  19. ^ a b "Rory McLeod 2012/2013". Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  20. ^ "Order of Merit 2012/2013". Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  21. ^ "Betfair World Championship Qualifiers". Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  22. ^ a b "Rory McLeod 2013/2014". Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  23. ^ "World Open results". Sky Sports. Archived from the original on 6 May 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  24. ^ a b "Rory McLeod 2014/2015". Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  25. ^ "Snooker: Kyren Wilson books UK Championship showdown with Neil Robertson; Wellingborough's Rory McLeod through". Northants Herald & Post. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  26. ^ "Matthew Selt advances into the last 16 at the UK Snooker Championships to face Ronnie O'Sullivan". Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  27. ^ "Ronnie O'Sullivan rants before going through to third round of Welsh Open". Sky Sports. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  28. ^ "World Rankings After 2015 World Championship". World Snooker. Archived from the original on 7 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  29. ^ Denham, Jeff (20 February 2015). "Muslim snooker player Rory McLeod explains reason behind 'Isis badge' during Welsh Open". The Independent. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  30. ^ a b "Rory McLeod 2015/2016". Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  31. ^ "Rory McLeod: World number 61 vows to build on biggest win". BBC Sport. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  32. ^ "Rory Rules In Ruhr". World Snooker. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  33. ^ "Rory McLeod - Season 2015-2016 - Professional". Cue Tracker. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  34. ^ "Rory McLeod - Prize Money Per Season". Cue Tracker. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  35. ^ "Snooker: Winning not coming easy for Rory McLeod after UK Championship exit". Northants Herald & Post. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  36. ^ "Rory McLeod 2016/2017". Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  37. ^ "Rory McLeod 10–7 Hammad Miah". World Snooker. Archived from the original on 14 April 2017. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  38. ^ "O'Brien Wins Record Two-Hour Frame". World Snooker. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  39. ^ "World Championship 2017: Favourite tag is an 'advantage' - JuddTrump". BBC. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  40. ^ "Judd Trump crashes out of World Championship to qualifier Rory McLeod". Guardian. 19 April 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  41. ^ "Trump Suffers Shock Defeat by McLeod". World Snooker. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  42. ^ "Maguire Wins with Session to Spare". World Snooker. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  43. ^ Rory McLeod 'finally' brings trophy home
  44. ^ Why am I the only black pro on the circuit?
  45. ^ "Ranking History for Rory McLeod". Cuetracker. Retrieved 6 February 2011.

External linksEdit