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BBC Snooker Triple Crown

A Triple Crown in snooker is the name given both to the three most prestigious tournaments; The World Championship (history), The UK Championship (history) and The Masters (history) and the act of winning all of these events. These three tournaments are the Triple Crown events, sometimes also called Snookers Majors, the big three BBC snooker events, or simply the big three. These tournaments are deemed to be the most prestigious, despite not always being worth the most ranking points or prize fund. Players who win all three events are said to have "won the triple crown", either over their career, or in one season alone.

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. 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 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 The following year, Ray Reardon won both The Masters and World Championships in the same season.

    

John Spencer Winner of Inaugural 1975 Masters

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. Patsy Fagan won the 1977 event, in his only Triple Crown final. 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.[Davis would also become the first player to complete the season triple crown, winning all three events in the 1987/88 season.


Patsy Fagan 1977 UK Champion.


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. 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.


Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Mark Williams. The only 3 players to have held all 3 Triple crown titles in the same season. 


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. 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. 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

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