The Oldest Winners of Snooker’s Triple Crown Events

The snooker calendar has changed a lot over the past few years, with the game now far more global than ever before and the tour much more expansive, with lots of extra tournaments. However, whilst there has been change and innovation, including the slightly strange golden-ball idea, snooker remains a game steeped in tradition.

Whilst a 167 featuring the Saudi golden ball could net someone $1m at the 2025 World Masters of Snooker and that tournament offers huge prize money, the titles that all players most want to win are the ones that comprise the game’s Triple Crown. The three biggest, most prestigious and, traditionally at least, most lucrative events are the World Championship, the UK Championship and the Masters.

Over the years those great tournaments have been won by all of the sport’s best players. But whilst we have seen some amazing achievements by youngsters in the triple crown, our focus here is those that, in theory at least, should have been coming to the end of their career. So, who are the winners of each of the three events that make up the Triple Crown?

Oldest Winner of the World Championship

Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O’Sullivan (DerHexer via Wikipedia Commons)

The World Championship is by some margin the biggest prize in snooker and is the event by which a player’s career is judged in many ways. Ignoring the feats of Joe and Fred Davis, and John Pulman, which occurred in the pre-modern era, the two men with the most World Championship title wins, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stephen Hendry, are considered the greatest snooker players of all time.

However, whilst Hendry won all seven of his titles in a short period between 1990 and 1999, when he was utterly dominant, O’Sullivan collected his in a very different way. The Rocket, whom even Hendry would probably admit is the greatest snooker player of all time, has enjoyed an incredibly lengthy career.

O’Sullivan won his first title in 2001 and whilst he collected five World Championships between then and 2013, he has been able to add two more since. Those came in 2020 and 2022 and it is that latter win that means Ronnie is the oldest ever winner of the most prestigious of the triple crown tournaments.

He beat Judd Trump 18-13 in the final to claim his record-equalling seventh win at the grand old age of 46 and 148 days. 12 months on, he was well fancied but was surprisingly beaten by Luca Brecel in the quarters, the Belgian going on to win his first World Championship.

We do not know how much longer we will be blessed with O’Sullivan’s magic but there is certainly a decent chance he could yet claim an eighth title and extend his record as the oldest winner of this much-loved event. At the time of writing, he is the favourite for the 2024 tournament and if he can force himself to keep coming back he could remain competitive for several more years beyond that too.

Oldest Winner of the UK Championship

Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O’Sullivan is also the oldest winner of the UK Championship (Nuță Lucian via Flickr)

The UK Championship was first played in 1977, so some time after the Worlds, which began in 1927. But like the older event, it has been won by all of the greatest snooker players and once again it is the best of the best who have won it most often. Ronnie leads the way on his own, with eight victories, with Steve Davis, the third of the modern era’s greats, next on six, whilst Hendry has five.

And, once again, it is the Rocket who is the oldest man to lift the trophy aloft. Doug Mountjoy, a name that will represent a blast from the past for many older fans, won the 1988 edition of the UK Championship when he was 46, upsetting the up-and-coming Hendry 16-12 in the final.

That record stood for many years until O’Sullivan beat Ding Junhui 10-7 to claim the 2023 crown at the age of 47, just two days before his 48th birthday in fact. Incredibly he first won the UK Championship back in 1993 when he was just 17 years old, meaning this latest win was 30 years on from his first. He now holds the record as the youngest and also the oldest winner of this title. And, of course, we absolutely cannot rule out him adding yet more UK Championship glory to his locker, such is his brilliance and also love for this event.

Oldest Winner of the Masters

Ronnie O'Sullivan
Our main man, Ronnie, also sets the record for the Masters (Yuxuan Wang via Flickr)

The Masters is usually seen as the least important of the triple crown events, at least partly because it is an invitational. However, whilst it features just 16 players, and therefore only requires a player to win four matches, it normally (barring injury, suspension or withdrawal) sees the best 16 players in the world battle it out.

Slightly older than the UK, having been founded in 1975, the Masters is usually played at the start of the calendar year. That means we have already had the 2024 tournament and it was won by that man again, Ronnie O’Sullivan. He beat Ali Carter 10-7 in a bad-tempered final between two players who do not get along.

It was a battle of the oldies too, with O’Sullivan 48 and Carter 44, but the Rocket prevailed, meaning he is the oldest player to claim this title. At 48 years and 40 days, he claimed his eighth success at the tournament, two more than the next-best Hendry. As with the UK Championship, he is now both the oldest and youngest man to win the Masters, having first won it as a 19-year-old back in 1995.

Previously Ray Reardon (43 years and 114 days in 1976) had been the oldest winner, until he was surpassed by Stuart Bingham in 2020, Bingham being around 100 days older. O’Sullivan has set a mark that only he is likely to ever break and that applies to all three of the triple crown contests, O’Sullivan’s “oldest” hat-trick a remarkable feat and testament to his enduring genius.