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Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker 2024: Fixtures, results, TV channel, prize money, golden ball explained

Ronnie O’Sullivan has won the inaugural Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker event.

Snooker is the latest sport to head over to Saudi Arabia, who were hosting their first-ever professional tournament this week.

O’Sullivan, the greatest to ever pick up a cue, beat world champion Luca Brecel in the final with two centuries to claim his 79th professional title and the £250,000 prize money.

Here, Standard Sport offers everything you need to know about the blockbuster new addition to the snooker calendar.

When is the Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker?

The first edition of the Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker takes place from Monday, March 4 2024 to Wednesday, March 6.

Where is the Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker?

The event is being held in 2024 at the Global Theatre in Boulevard City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Who is playing at the Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker?

The field in Riyadh includes the top eight-ranked players in the world following the end of the Players Championship, which Mark Allen won by beating China’s Zhang Anda in Telford last week.

Ronnie O’Sullivan is the current reigning world No1, followed by Judd Trump, Allen, Luca Brecel, Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy, Mark Williams and Ali Carter.

Belgian Brecel is the top seed for the event, followed by world No1 O’Sullivan, due to his status as the current world champion, having beaten Selby at The Crucible last year.

The top eight are joined by two wildcards, with the players currently ranked ninth and 10th in the world - Ding Junhui and John Higgins - having eased past Saudi Arabia’s Omar Alajlani and Qatar’s Ali Alobaidli respectively in the first round on Monday.

Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker fixtures and results

Round One (all times GMT unless stated)

Monday, March 4

Omar Alajlani 0-4 Ding Junhui

Ali Alobaidli 0-4 John Higgins

Round two

Monday, March 4

Ali Carter 4-3 Ding Junhui

Mark Williams 2-4 John Higgins

Quarter-finals

Tuesday, March 5

Mark Allen 4-3 Mark Selby

Luca Brecel 4-1 Ali Carter

Judd Trump 4-3 Shaun Murphy

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-0 John Higgins

Semi-finals

Wednesday, March 6

Mark Allen 2-4 Luca Brecel

Judd Trump 1-4 Ronnie O’Sullivan

Final

Wednesday, March 6

Luca Brecel 2-5 Ronnie O’Sullivan

Belgium’s Luca Brecel is the reigning world snooker champion (Getty Images)
Belgium’s Luca Brecel is the reigning world snooker champion (Getty Images)

How to watch Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker

TV channel and live stream: In the UK, the event is being broadcast daily live on TV and online through Eurosport and DAZN, with coverage also available via the Discovery+ app and website.

Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker prize money

There is a huge prize pool of £800,000 set aside for the 10 players in Riyadh.

The winner of the tournament will bank a cool £250,000, with the runner-up set to win £125,000.

There is £75,000 on offer for reaching the semi-finals and £50,000 for getting to the quarters.

A mammoth £395,000 will be won by the first player to hit a mammoth 167 break - yes, you read that right. More on that to come shortly.

Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker format

All matches in Riyadh will be played in a best-of-seven-frame format.

That will increase to best-of-nine frames in Wednesday night’s final.

How does the golden ball work?

A controversial new element is being added to the game in Riyadh with the introduction of a 23rd ball coloured in gold - AKA the Riyadh Season ball.

The ball is worth 20 points and can be potted by those who have completed the usual maximum 147 break - comprised of 15 reds, 15 blacks and then all six colours in a row - to take their total break up to 167.

Only once that initial 147 is sealed can the golden ball be potted and it will be taken off the table once a 147 break is no longer possible for either player in any given frame.

A four-point penalty will be applied if the golden ball is inadvertently potted earlier or struck before the object ball by the cue ball.

The golden ball will be positioned in the middle of the baulk cushion from the outset of any given frame but will also stay where it lies if it is hit without an infringement while either player is still on for a potential 147 break.