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A Triple Crown in snooker is the name given both to the three most prestigious tournaments; the World Championship, the UK Championship and the Masters and the act of winning all of these events.[1] These three tournaments are the Triple Crown events, sometimes also called snooker's majors,[1][2] the big three BBC events,[3][4] or simply the big three.[5][6] These tournaments are deemed to be the most prestigious, despite not always being worth the most ranking points or prize fund.[7] Players who win all three events are said to have "won the triple crown", either over their career, or in one season alone.[8]

Contents

HistoryEdit

Triple Crown events have been retrospectively given to events from 1969, when the World Snooker Championship returned to being a single elimination tournament, rather than the challenge format that had been used prior. Championships held after this date are considered part of the "modern era" of professional snooker.[9] Six years later, a non-ranking invitational event; the Masters was introduced. The inaugural event, the 1975 Masters saw 10 players compete; and would later be increased to 16 players.[10] John Spencer won the event, and became the first person to win two of the Triple Crown events, having won the world championships in 1969 and 1971.[11] The following year, Ray Reardon won both the Masters and World Championships in the same season.[12][13]

In 1977, a third Triple Crown event was created, the UK Championship. Originally restricted to British residents and passport holders, it was opened up to all professionals and became a ranking event in 1984.[14][15][16] Patsy Fagan won the 1977 event, in his only Triple Crown final.[16] In the 1980/81 season, Steve Davis won both the 1980 UK Championship, and the 1981 World Snooker Championship, and would be the first to complete the career triple crown by winning the 1982 Masters the following season.[17][18] Davis would also become the first player to complete the season triple crown, winning all three events in the 1987/88 season.[19]

The Triple Crown events are sometimes referred to as the "big three BBC events", due to them having been broadcast by the British Broadcasting Corporation since inception.[20][21]

Triple Crown title winnersEdit

 
Ronnie O'Sullivan has won 19 major (Triple Crown) titles—the most by any player in history—including a record seven UK titles and a record seven Masters titles

Eleven players have completed a career Triple Crown, having won each of the Triple Crown events at least once. These players are Steve Davis, Terry Griffiths, Alex Higgins, Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, Mark Williams, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy, and Judd Trump.[22][23] Only Davis, Hendry and Williams have won all three Triple Crown events in the same season, and Hendry is the only player to achieve this feat twice, in the 1989/1990 and 1995/1996 seasons.[24][25]

After winning the 1999 Masters, John Higgins held all three Triple Crown titles at the same time but spanned two seasons. Only O'Sullivan and Hendry have managed to successfully defend all three Triple Crown events. In 2013 Australian Neil Robertson became the first player from outside the United Kingdom to complete the career Triple Crown.[26] Following his win in the 2018 UK Championship, O'Sullivan took the record for the most wins in Triple Crown events, with 19, passing Hendry's previous record of 18.[27] Trump is the most recent player to have achieved a career Triple Crown, winning the Masters and World Championship in 2018-19, which also made him the first player to have won their maiden Masters and World Title (Trump had previously won the 2011 UK Championship) in the same season.

One Win Away From Triple CrownEdit

Of those still active on the tour as of 2019, four players have won two of the three Triple Crown events, leaving them one away from completing the set. Jimmy White, Matthew Stevens and Ding Junhui all need to win the World Championships having won The Masters and UK Championships. The three have lost nine World Finals between them, six by White. White has not appeared at The Crucible since 2006. Peter Ebdon needs to win The Masters to add to his World and UK Championships and complete the Triple Crown. As of 2019, though, he has not qualified for the London event since 2011. John Parrott won both the UK and World Titles in his career, before retiring, but never managed to win the Masters. Parrott reached three Masters finals in four years between 1989 and 1992 but was defeated by Hendry on each occasion.

Triple Crown event winners by seasonEdit

A list of all winners of the three Triple Crown events is shown below by season:

Season UK Championship[28][29] The Masters[30][31] World Championship[32][33] Ref
1968/1969 started in 1977/1978 started in 1974/1975   John Spencer (1/4) [34]
1969/1970   Ray Reardon (1/7) [34]
1970/1971   John Spencer (2/4) [34]
1971/1972   Alex Higgins (1/5) [34]
1972/1973   Ray Reardon (2/7) [34]
1973/1974   Ray Reardon (3/7) [34]
1974/1975   John Spencer (3/4)   Ray Reardon (4/7) [35][34]
1975/1976   Ray Reardon (5/7)   Ray Reardon (6/7) [35][34]
1976/1977   Doug Mountjoy (1/3)   John Spencer (4/4) [35][34]
1977/1978   Patsy Fagan   Alex Higgins (2/5)   Ray Reardon (7/7) [35][34]
1978/1979   Doug Mountjoy (2/3)   Perrie Mans   Terry Griffiths (1/3) [35][34]
1979/1980   John Virgo   Terry Griffiths (2/3)   Cliff Thorburn (1/4) [36][35][34]
1980/1981   Steve Davis (1/15)   Alex Higgins (3/5)   Steve Davis (2/15) [36][35][34]
1981/1982   Steve Davis (3/15)   Steve Davis (4/15)   Alex Higgins (4/5) [36][35][34]
1982/1983   Terry Griffiths (3/3)   Cliff Thorburn (2/4)   Steve Davis (5/15) [36][35][34]
1983/1984   Alex Higgins (5/5)   Jimmy White (1/2)   Steve Davis (6/15) [36][35][34]
1984/1985   Steve Davis (7/15)   Cliff Thorburn (3/4)   Dennis Taylor (1/2) [36][35][34]
1985/1986   Steve Davis (8/15)   Cliff Thorburn (4/4)   Joe Johnson [36][35][34]
1986/1987   Steve Davis (9/15)   Dennis Taylor (2/2)   Steve Davis (10/15) [36][35][34]
1987/1988   Steve Davis (11/15)   Steve Davis (12/15)   Steve Davis (13/15) [36][35][34]
1988/1989   Doug Mountjoy (3/3)   Stephen Hendry (1/18)   Steve Davis (14/15) [36][35][34]
1989/1990   Stephen Hendry (2/18)   Stephen Hendry (3/18)   Stephen Hendry (4/18) [36][35][34]
1990/1991   Stephen Hendry (5/18)   Stephen Hendry (6/18)   John Parrott (1/2) [36][35][34]
1991/1992   John Parrott (2/2)   Stephen Hendry (7/18)   Stephen Hendry (8/18) [36][35][34]
1992/1993   Jimmy White (2/2)   Stephen Hendry (9/18)   Stephen Hendry (10/18) [36][35][34]
1993/1994   Ronnie O'Sullivan (1/19)   Alan McManus   Stephen Hendry (11/18) [36][35][34]
1994/1995   Stephen Hendry (12/18)   Ronnie O'Sullivan (2/19)   Stephen Hendry (13/18) [36][35][34]
1995/1996   Stephen Hendry (14/18)   Stephen Hendry (15/18)   Stephen Hendry (16/18) [36][35][34]
1996/1997   Stephen Hendry (17/18)   Steve Davis (15/15)   Ken Doherty [36][35][34]
1997/1998   Ronnie O'Sullivan (3/19)   Mark Williams (1/7)   John Higgins (1/9) [36][35][34]
1998/1999   John Higgins (2/9)   John Higgins (3/9)   Stephen Hendry (18/18) [36][35][34]
1999/2000   Mark Williams (2/7)   Matthew Stevens (1/2)   Mark Williams (3/7) [36][35][34]
2000/2001   John Higgins (4/9)   Paul Hunter (1/3)   Ronnie O'Sullivan (4/19) [36][35][34]
2001/2002   Ronnie O'Sullivan (5/19)   Paul Hunter (2/3)   Peter Ebdon (1/2) [36][35][34]
2002/2003   Mark Williams (4/7)   Mark Williams (5/7)   Mark Williams (6/7) [36][35][34]
2003/2004   Matthew Stevens (2/2)   Paul Hunter (3/3)   Ronnie O'Sullivan (6/19) [36][35][34]
2004/2005   Stephen Maguire   Ronnie O'Sullivan (7/19)   Shaun Murphy (1/3) [36][35][34]
2005/2006   Ding Junhui (1/3)   John Higgins (5/9)   Graeme Dott [36][35][34]
2006/2007   Peter Ebdon (2/2)   Ronnie O'Sullivan (8/19)   John Higgins (6/9) [36][35][34]
2007/2008   Ronnie O'Sullivan (9/19)   Mark Selby (1/8)   Ronnie O'Sullivan (10/19) [36][35][34]
2008/2009   Shaun Murphy (2/3)   Ronnie O'Sullivan (11/19)   John Higgins (7/9) [36][35][34]
2009/2010   Ding Junhui (2/3)   Mark Selby (2/8)   Neil Robertson (1/4) [36][35][34]
2010/2011   John Higgins (8/9)   Ding Junhui (3/3)   John Higgins (9/9) [36][35][34]
2011/2012   Judd Trump (1/3)   Neil Robertson (2/4)   Ronnie O'Sullivan (12/19) [37][38][39]
2012/2013   Mark Selby (3/8)   Mark Selby (4/8)   Ronnie O'Sullivan (13/19) [40][41][42]
2013/2014   Neil Robertson (3/4)   Ronnie O'Sullivan (14/19)   Mark Selby (5/8) [43][44][45]
2014/2015   Ronnie O'Sullivan (15/19)   Shaun Murphy (3/3)   Stuart Bingham [46][47][48]
2015/2016   Neil Robertson (4/4)   Ronnie O'Sullivan (16/19)   Mark Selby (6/8) [49][50][51]
2016/2017   Mark Selby (7/8)   Ronnie O'Sullivan (17/19)   Mark Selby (8/8) [52][53][54]
2017/2018   Ronnie O'Sullivan (18/19)   Mark Allen   Mark Williams (7/7) [55][56][57]
2018/2019   Ronnie O'Sullivan (19/19)   Judd Trump (2/3)   Judd Trump (3/3) [58][59][60]
Season UK Championship The Masters World Championship Ref
Legend
Player won all three Triple Crown tournaments in the same season
Player won two Triple Crown tournaments in the same season

Multiple Triple Crown event winnersEdit

Player Total World Champ.[34] UK Champ.[36] The Masters[35] Winning span
  Ronnie O'Sullivan 19 5 7 7 1993–2018
  Stephen Hendry 18 7 5 6 1989–1999
  Steve Davis 15 6 6 3 1980–1997
  John Higgins 9 4 3 2 1998–2011
  Mark Selby 8 3 2 3 2008–2017
  Ray Reardon 7 6 0 1 1970–1978
  Mark Williams 7 3 2 2 1998–2018
  Alex Higgins 5 2 1 2 1972–1983
  John Spencer 4 3 0 1 1969–1977
  Neil Robertson 4 1 2 1 2010–2015
  Cliff Thorburn 4 1 0 3 1980–1986
  Terry Griffiths 3 1 1 1 1979–1982
  Shaun Murphy 3 1 1 1 2005–2015
  Judd Trump 3 1 1 1 2011–2019
  Doug Mountjoy 3 0 2 1 1977–1988
  Ding Junhui 3 0 2 1 2005–2011
  Paul Hunter 3 0 0 3 2001–2004
  John Parrott 2 1 1 0 1991–1991
  Peter Ebdon 2 1 1 0 2002–2006
  Dennis Taylor 2 1 0 1 1985–1987
  Jimmy White 2 0 1 1 1984–1992
  Matthew Stevens 2 0 1 1 2000–2003
Legend
Player has won all Triple Crown events at least once
The names of active players are marked in bold

Champions by countryEdit

Country Players Total First title Last title
  England 13 64 1969 2019
  Scotland 5 30 1989 2011
  Wales 5 22 1970 2018
  Northern Ireland 3 8 1972 2018
  Canada 1 4 1980 1986
  Australia 1 4 2010 2015
  China 1 3 2005 2011
  Ireland 2 2 1977 1997
  South Africa 1 1 1979 1979

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