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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 January 2006, 11:05 GMT
Masters history
By Mike Burnett
BBC Sport

The Masters is one of the most established events in the snooker calendar.

WINNERS 1975-1984
1975 J Spencer 9-8 R Reardon
1976 R Reardon 7-3 G Miles
1977 D M'tjoy 7-6 R Reardon
1978 A Higgins7-5 C Thorburn
1979 P Mans 8-4 A Higgins
1980 T Griffiths 9-5 A Higgins
1981 A Higgins 9-6 T Griffiths
1982 S Davis 9-5 T Griffiths
1983 C T'burn 9-7 R Reardon
1984 J White 9-5 T Griffiths

In its first year, the Masters was held at the West Centre Hotel in London's Earls Court as England's John Spencer overcame Welsh wizard Ray Reardon in a tense 9-8 final.

The match had to be decided on a re-spotted black in the final frame for Spencer to claim his 2,000 first prize.

While other events have often struggled to gain recognition in the early days, the London spectacle has never suffered from that problem.

The following year, the event moved to New London Theatre in Drury Lane, before finally settling in its present location at Wembley Conference Centre in 1979.

Such a big tournament requires an appropriate venue, so where better than Wembley with its 2,700 seating capacity.

WINNERS 1985-1994
1985 C Thorburn 9-6 D M'tjoy
1986 C Thorburn 9-5 J White
1987 D Taylor 9-8 A Higgins
1988 S Davis 9-0 M Hallett
1989 S Hendry 9-6 J Parrott
1990 S Hendry 9-4 J Parrott
1991 S Hendry 9-8 M Hallett
1992 S Hendry 9-4 J Parrott
1993 S Hendry 9-5 J Wattana
1994 A McManus 9-8 S Hendry

Not surprisingly, the tournament has provided more than its fair share of thrills over the years from the sport's top craftsmen.

Between the end of the 1970s and early 80s, a new batch of talent was to emerge in the Masters.

Within the space of four years, Alex "Hurricane" Higgins ended up twice winner and twice runner-up.

One-time champion Terry Griffiths seemed to be a permanent fixture in the final in the early 80s, achieving the highest break of the tournament an unprecedented three times.

Canadian Cliff Thorburn clocked up three titles between 1983 and 1986, but this was soon to be dwarfed by a young Scot called Stephen Hendry.

Making his debut in the tournament in 1989, he had the gall to go and win the trophy then go on to take the title on the next four consecutive seasons.

WINNERS 1995-2005
1995 R O'Sullivan 9-3 J Higgins
1996 S Hendry 10-5 R O'S'livan
1997 S Davis 10-8 R O'Sullivan
1998 M Williams 10-9 S Hendry
1999 J Higgins 10-8 K Doherty
2000 M Stevens 10-8 K Doh'ty
2001 P Hunter 10-9 F O'Brien
2002 P Hunter 10-9 M Williams
2003 M Williams 10-4 S Hendry
2004 P Hunter 10-9 R O'S'livan
2005 R O'S'livan 10-3 J Higgins
The sponsors eventually handed him the trophy to keep.

The following year's winner, Alan McManus, was presented with a new trophy, which has been used ever since.

Ronnie O'Sullivan first played in the event in 1994 after qualifying as a wild card by winning the 1993 Benson and Hedges Snooker Championship.

He lost 5-1 to Dennis Taylor in the first round, but won the tournament the following year and in 2005, and made it to the finals in 1996, 1997 and 2004.

In recent years, Paul Hunter, has dominated the event having won three of the last four.

The trio of finals have been won by the same 10-9 scoreline and on each occasion Hunter has called upon his saucy "Plan B" to get him out of trouble.





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