Barry Hearn slams Ronnie O'Sullivan's decision to pass up 147 as 'disrespectful'
Ronnie O'Sullivan was at the centre of controversy on the first day of the Welsh Open after he deliberately refused the chance of a maximum break in protest over prize money.
O'Sullivan was on course to complete a 147 break in the concluding frame of his 4-1 victory over Barry Pinches, but the five-time world champion mysteriously opted to pot the pink instead of the black following the penultimate red.
O'Sullivan explained afterwards that he felt the £10,000 on offer for completing a maximum break at Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena was not enough.
The prize for a 147 is calculated on a rollover basis, with £5,000 added to the pot in each tournament. Australian Neil Robertson made the most recent maximum in December's UK Championship final, winning £44,000 including the £4,000 prize for the tournament high break.
''I knew it was 10 grand and I just thought that's a bit too cheap really," O'Sullivan said. "To make a maxi, it's such a massive achievement and if they're going to pay us 10 grand, I think it's worth a bit more than that.
"It's like going into a Mercedes garage and when they say that you can have the car for £3,000, you reply, 'No way, that's too cheap. I'm not buying it for that'. Certain things have value, and a 147 is a special moment. I want it to feel special all round.
"But the punters still got value for money today. Now they've got something more to look forward to. There's still room for improvement."
"You like to entertain your fans. It's like a film. You want them to come back and watch the next one. There is no point in giving them the best ending they've ever had. Leave room for a better ending next time."
Watch his break below:
O'Sullivan's decision attracted widespread criticism, not least from World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn, who described the Englishman's actions as "unacceptable".
In a series of tweets, Hearn wrote: "Its up to Ronnie as I don't play his shots for him! If 10 k doesn't mean anything then I'm sorry for him.
"Great entertainers entertain. It's what they were born to do. Money doesn't really come into it. Most people don't understand 10 k not meaning anything! Fact is we have a lot of 147 breaks and the Prizemoney reflects that.
"It's a shame that punters who buy tickets and tv fans who watch did not have the pleasure of seeing a maximum break.
"Players have a duty to the fans to deliver the best standard and entertainment they can. Anything less than playing to your best ability is unacceptable and disrespectful to the paying public. This is not crime but a shame."
Elsewhere, world number one Mark Selby saw off Duane Jones 4-0, while there were also first-round victories for last year's winner John Higgins, Robertson, Shaun Murphy and Barry Hawkins.
World number two Stuart Bingham suffered a surprise 4-1 defeat to Anthony Hamilton but Judd Trump, sixth in the world, progressed to the next round without dropping a frame against Michael Leslie.