The UK Championship is one of snooker’s most historic and prominent tournaments. This second biggest ranking tournament in the world of snooker (after World Championship) is one of the Triple Crown events. Currently, 2018 Betway UK Championship is taking place in Barbican Centre, York from 27 November to 9 December. It has total prize money of £850,000, with £170,000 for the winner.
It was first held with a title “United Kingdom Professional Snooker Championship” in 1977 in Tower Circus, Blackpool. The first UK Championship was only open to British residents and passport holders. Patsy Fagan, an Irish professional snooker player, won the inaugural tournament (a non-ranking event at that time) by beating Dough Mountjoy in the final by 12 frames to 9. He won prize money of £2000. The next year, Dough Mountjoy won the tournament by beating David Taylor by 15 frames to 9. From 1979 to 1983, the UK Championship was held each year as a non-ranking event.
It was not until 1984 when the tournament was finally granted ranking status. This meant that all professionals were allowed to enter the tournament. After receiving the ranking status, the tournament became more popular than ever. Steve Davis was the runner-up in the final of 1983; he lost to Alex Higgins. However, Davis went on to win the next 4 UK Championship finals from 1984 to 1987.
The UK Championship of 2015 was won by Neil Robertson, an Australian professional snooker player, as he defeated Liang Wenbo, the Chinese professional snooker player. Robertson defeated Wenbo by 10 frames to 5. It was the first time in the history of UK Championship final that two finalists were overseas players. The final of 2016 was played between Mark Shelby and Ronnie O'Sullivan. In the last six frames of the final, there were five-century breaks as Shelby won by 10-7. The final of 2017 was won by O’Sullivan as he defeated Shaun Murphy 10 frames to 5.
Given that the UK Championship is being held each year ever since its inception in 1977, it has been won by virtually all of snooker’s great names. Steve Davis has certainly enjoyed more success than anyone else who has participated in this championship. He has won the Championship 6 times with being a runner-up 4 times. Although Ronnie O'Sullivan, one of the greatest players of the sport, has won the Championship 6 times as well, only once he ended up losing the final. O'Sullivan has a great win/loss ratio of finals but still, Davis has reached the finals more times than O'Sullivan. The third best player who has ever participated in the UK championship is Stephen Hendry. He has won it 5 times and lost the final 5 times as well.
When the UK Championship was granted a ranking status in 1984, it was the only tournament with more ranking points other than the World Championship. However, it was overtaken by the China Open and the International Championship in the coming years due to a higher number of ranking points which are based on the amount of money in pounds sterling on offer for winning the event. All in all, it can be said that it is one of the biggest events in snooker where huge bets are made on players.
Disclaimer: All images are copyright to their respective owners and are used by TGB for informational purposes only