Scroll down to listen to Shaun Murphy's story of his holy grail
Scroll down to listen to Shaun Murphy's story of his holy grail

Shaun Murphy on doing the 147 break, nine-darter and a hole-in-one ahead of his World Snooker Championship campaign

Shaun Murphy admits hitting a 147 break at a World Championship remains firmly on his bucket list - but he has already ticked off the 'Holy Grail' of sporting trebles.

The Magician has made six maximums during in his illustrious career - a tally only bettered by O'Sullivan (15), John Higgins (12), Stephen Hendry (11) and Stuart Bingham (9) - but is yet to join the elite club of seven players who have managed it on the biggest stage of all.

However, Murphy must surely be the only person alive who has also achieved equivalent perfection in two other sports, albeit not at a professional level.

Few would doubt the scratch golfer, who attempted to qualify for the Open in 2019, has managed a hole-in-one but we'll have to take the Magician's word for it that he once fired in a nine-dart leg when playing some mates in a pub...with Phil Taylor's darts.

Ahead of this year's World Championship, he told Sporting Life: "I’ve done the holy grail. I’ve done many 147s, I got my nine-darter in the Carter’s Arms in Sale and made the hole in one in Royal Worlington near Newmarket on a cold frosty morning.

"I can play darts but I wouldn’t say I’m not even a handy player! Phil Taylor sent me a set of his darts that he used in events and wished me the best of luck with them.

"I took them to the pub on a Friday night, where we were setting up our bets for the weekend and having a laugh. We got on the dart board and happened to throw nine perfect darts! It hasn’t happened since and probably never will, but it definitely happened!"

Murphy never shirks from the debate about whether a maximum break is harder than a nine-dart finish and reaffirmed his position, saying: "There’s just so many more variables in snooker than there is in darts. The target never moves in darts and you could hit a nine-darter in every leg.

"Snooker isn’t like that and the way the balls break, if the black moves towards the cushion then the 147 chances are almost impossible before the first red is potted.

"The reds are always in a different position and no two frames have ever been the same – it’s like a fingerprint. Because of that – and the fact there’s 36 shots to complete instead of just nine – all civilised people agree that the 147 break is by far the harder."

The 2005 champion may yet to have a World Championship 147 to his name but he does know what it's like to have one scored against him when Stephen Hendry produced perfection in the 2009 quarter-finals.

He said: "When the frame has gone, you are just willing every single ball in for your opponent, especially at the Crucible. It's magical and I'm sure everyone who has ever made one in that arena will remember it for the rest of their lives. They'll have played better matches and forget those, but not a maximum at the World Championship.

"It's on my bucket list. The closest I came was 104 with two reds remaining and I was shaking like a s***ing dog.

"If I do it this year there will be fist pumps like never before. I do think someone will make one this year - the standard has been so high all season and the playing conditions including the cloth and balls have been exceptional. Everything is there for it to happen."

Scroll down for Murphy on the dangerous qualifiers and his chances at the Crucible

Also Read: Murphy compares Ronnie O'Sullivan to Alex Higgins

Shaun Murphy compares Ronnie O'Sullivan with Alex Higgins
Shaun Murphy compares Ronnie O'Sullivan with Alex Higgins

Also Read: Murphy on 147 record attempts

Ronnie O'Sullivan compiled the most incredible 147 break in 1997
Ronnie O'Sullivan compiled the most incredible 147 break in 1997

Meanwhile the 39-year-old believes a qualifier is capable of winning this year's World Championship, including his first-round opponent Stephen Maguire.

Murphy became just the third qualifier after Alex Higgins and Terry Griffiths to win the Crucible crown back in 2005 and although nobody since has joined the elite club, there's plenty of dangerous players in this year's draw.

He said: "Can another qualifier win this year? A million per cent. My opponent in the first round, Stephen Maguire, is too good to be involved in the qualifiers and it wouldn’t be a shock if he were to go on and win the title.

"He’s just slipped down the rankings after a couple of difficult seasons but he could easily win it if things click for him. I’m hoping they don’t and he doesn’t turn up!

"Ding Junhui is another dangerous qualifier and the last time he had to come through the qualifiers many years ago, he reached the final."

Murphy is appearing at his 21st World Championship and insists he still gets the same excitement.

He said: "The magic of walking in the place and the buzz is still the same as when I walked out as a debutant against Stephen Hendry – even though I got mauled 10-4!

"It was still exciting and then since I won it, I’ve been back here ever since and I appreciate that I’m still involved. My run last year shows that for this venue it’s very much horses for courses. Playing matches over this length in that room isn’t for everyone and it brings out the best or worst in you.

"It certainly brings out the best of me and after I got past round one, I played some good stuff. I’ll be holding onto those memories very tightly because I’ve had a terrible season."

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