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Steve Davis, OBE, (born 22 August, 1957, Plumsteadmarker, Londonmarker) is an Englishmarker professional snooker player. He has won more professional titles in the sport than any other player, including six World Championships during the 1980s.

Davis's most successful spell came during the 1980s, when he was the snooker world number one for seven years and reached eight world finals; while becoming the sport's first millionaire. Such was Davis's dominance in the 1980s, a popular saying suggested that he was on television more often than the Prime Minister of the time.

Although he has not won a major title since 1997, Davis continues to play snooker at a high level, which is very unusual in a player over 50 years of age. He retained his place in the elite world top-16 players almost every year, being ranked no. 15 for the 2007/08 snooker season. However, poor results saw him drop out of the Top 16 for the 2008/09 season, in which he was ranked no. 29, and his official ranking for 2009/10 is no. 23. Davis is now an established television analyst, and occasional commentator, for BBC's snooker coverage.

To a lesser extent, Davis is also known as a nine-ball pool player, having achieved some notable success in the Mosconi Cup, and World Pool Championship competitions. In his early days, he also played english billiards.

Snooker career

Early career

After a successful amateur career in which he won age-group titles in both snooker and billiards, winning Under-19 Billiards Championship in 1976, Davis started travelling and playing at the Lucania Snooker Club in Romford, where, at the age of 18, his talent was brought to the notice of the chairman of the Lucania Snooker Club chain Barry Hearn by the then-top Essex amateur player Vic Harris.Davis ended his amateur career with international honours. One of his last wins as an amateur was against another future professional Tony Meo in the final to win the Pontins Open Championship.

Davis turned professional in September 1978 and made his professional television debut on Pot Black where he played namesake Fred Davis. He made his debut at the 1979 World Snooker Championship, losing 11–13 to Dennis Taylor in the first round.

Dominance of world snooker

Davis came to public prominence after his performance at the 1980 World Championship, where he reached the quarter-finals, knocking out defending champion Terry Griffiths en route, before losing to Alex Higgins. Davis won his first major title in the same year - the UK Championship - during which he beat two of his close rivals, Griffiths 9–0 in the semi-finals and Higgins 16–6 in the final. This began an 18-month period of domination. He won the Wilson's Classic and then the Yamaha International Masters and English Professional titles in 1981, and became the bookmakers' favourite to win the 1981 World Championship, despite being seeded only 15. After struggling to a 10–8 win over a young Jimmy White in the opening round, he defeated Higgins in the second round and Griffiths in the quarter-finals, before outlasting defending champion Cliff Thorburn in the semi-final. Davis's 18–12 victory over Doug Mountjoy in the final confirmed his status as the world champion, and in celebration his manager Barry Hearn charged across the arena to lift him up in the air. He would go on to reach seven out of the next eight world finals.

He followed up his world title win with a 9–0 final victory over Dennis Taylor in the Jameson International and then retained the UK Championship with a 9–0 whitewash over White in the semi-finals and a 16–3 win over Griffiths in the final. This began a period of six months in which Davis and Griffiths contested almost all the major tournament finals. During this run, in January 1982, Davis made television sporting history when he compiled the first televised 147 maximum break at the Lada Classic at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Oldhammarker, against John Spencer, though he was beaten 9–8 in the final by Griffiths. He made amends for that defeat in February by beating Griffiths in the final of the Masters, the first of his three titles there.

Davis's 18-month period of total dominance ended in April 1982 when, falling victim to the Crucible Curse affecting first-time world champions on their return to the Crucible, Davis suffered a 10–1 loss to Tony Knowles in the first round at the 1982 World Championship. Later that year, he was denied a third consecutive UK title with defeat in the quarter-finals to Griffiths. Following those two setbacks, he won the first of four World Doubles titles with partner Tony Meo. Davis regained the world title the following season with a session in the final to spare, defeating an overwhelmed Thorburn 18–6; Thorburn had seen his previous three matches go to a deciding frame and a late finish. Davis lost 16–15 to Higgins in the 1983 UK Championship final, despite having led 7–0 in the opening stages. In 1984, he became the first player to retain his world title at the Crucible Theatremarker by beating Jimmy White 18–16 in the final. He also regained the UK title in 1984 by beating Higgins 16–8 and thereafter held it until his defeat in the semi-finals in 1988 to the up-and-coming Stephen Hendry, comprehensively beating Neal Foulds in the 1986 final and then White 16–14 in the close-fought 1987 final. Davis had looked set to lose the 1985 final to Willie Thorne who, leading 13–8 in the best of 31 frames match, missed a blue which would have given him a 14–8 lead. Davis won the frame and then seven of the next eight to win 16–14.

Black ball final

One of his most memorable matches was one he lost: the 1985 World Championship final against Dennis Taylor. Davis seemed set for his third consecutive win, with an opening session of near-faultless snooker giving him a 7–0 lead, which was extended to 8–0 in the evening session, before Taylor bounced back to trail only 7–9. From 12–12 the pair traded frames before Davis forged ahead to lead 17–15. However, Taylor clawed his way back to 17–17 and the match went into a deciding frame. With the scores close, Taylor potted to the final colours to leave the black as the winner-takes-all ball. After a series of safety shots and attempts at potting it, Davis overcut the black, leaving Taylor with a reasonably straightforward pot to secure the championship. The "nailbiting" finale drew 18.5 million viewers, a record post-midnight audience on Britishmarker television and a record audience for BBC Two. The finish was voted the ninth greatest sporting moment of all time in a 2002 Channel 4 poll.
Davis holding the World Championship Trophy
He gained a measure of revenge over Taylor shortly afterwards, winning their Rothmans Grand Prix final, also in the deciding frame, and with a 10 hour 21 minutes match duration it is the longest one-day final in snooker history. At the 1986 World Championship, having seen off White 13–5 in the quarter-finals and Thorburn 16–12 in a gruelling semi-final, Davis faced 150–1 outsider Joe Johnson in the final, but lost 18–12 to the Yorkshiremanmarker. The result did not affect his position at the top of the world rankings, as he had won the UK, the Grand Prix and the British Open in the 1985/1986 season. At the end of 1986 he beat Neal Foulds to win the UK Championship.

Davis started 1987 well as he won the Mercantile Credit Classic in January, beating defending champion Jimmy White 13–12. At the World Championship, he met Johnson in the final again, and regained the title by winning 18–14. In doing so, he also became the first player to win the UK Championship, Masters and World Championship in the same year (this feat has since been equalled by Stephen Hendry, John Higgins and Mark J. Williams). Davis went into the 1988 World Championship, having won the Fidelity International and the UK Championship. He also retained the Mercantile Credit Classic and regained the Masters title which included a 9–0 whitewash of Mike Hallett, regained the World Cup with England and won his fourth Irish Masters title. In the World Championship itself he rarely looked back, beating Hallett 13–1, Tony Drago 13–4 and Thorburn 16–8 en route to the final, where at 8–8 with Griffiths after two sessions, he pulled away to secure his fifth world title, winning 18–11. In the 1988–89 season Davis won the Grand Prix, beating Alex Higgins in the final, but his unbeaten run of four UK Championship titles came to an end with a 9–3 loss to Hendry in the 1989 semi-final. He did not win another major title that season until that year's World Championship, beating Stephen Hendry 16-9 on route to the final before going on to complete the heaviest victory in a world final of the modern era with an 18–3 victory over John Parrott, his last world championship to date. In the same tournament he also set the record for the fewest frames conceded (23) at an individual world championship en route to winning it. By the end of the 1980s, he was snooker's first millionaire.

Later years

In the 1990 World Championship, Jimmy White denied him an eighth consecutive final appearance when he won their semi-final 16–14. Davis was replaced as world number one by Stephen Hendry at the end of the 1989–90 season. For the most part he has retained his place in the top 16, and reached the semi-finals in the World Championships again in the 1991 event and 1994's. Among other victories, he won four of his eight Irish Masters titles, the European Open, the Mercantile Credit Classic and consecutive Welsh Open titles during the early 1990s. His successful defence of his Welsh Open title in 1995 is to date his last ranking title.

Arguably the most memorable of his later tournament wins came in the Masters in 1997. Trailing his opponent Ronnie O'Sullivan 8–4 in the final, he won the next six frames to secure a 10–8 win. That win remains his last in a major snooker tournament. Davis dropped out of the top 16 after the 2000 World Championship and failed to qualify for the championship for the next two years, before subsequently enjoying an up-turn in form and winning his place back in the 2003/2004 season. He was runner-up in the Welsh Open to O'Sullivan in 2004, losing 9–8 after having led 8–5, while in 2005, he reached the quarter finals of that season's World Championship before losing to eventual winner Shaun Murphy.

The 2005 UK Championship, held in Yorkmarker in December 2005, saw Davis's most successful performance at a major tournament for several years. He reached his 100th career final by beating defending champion Stephen Maguire 9–8 despite having trailed 7–4, a win which included a 145 break in the penultimate frame; and then Stephen Hendry (for the first time in twelve years) 9–6 in the semi-finals. In the final he met the rising Chinesemarker star Ding Junhui, but lost 10–6. In the same season he reached the second round of the World Championships, again losing to Murphy. Davis's performances through the 2006/07 season, including reaching the UK Championship quarter-finals and the Welsh Open semi-finals, ensured he "achieved his dream" to still be a top-16 player at the age of 50. He dropped out of the top sixteen a year later, but showed form in the 2008/2009 season by reaching the quarter-finals of both the Shanghai Masters and Grand Prix, the first time he reached consecutive ranking quarter-finals since 1996.


In the book Masters of the Baize, a detailed comparison and ranking of snooker pros, authors Luke Williams and Paul Gadsby rated Davis amongst the top three greatest snooker players of all time.

, Davis has won a record 81 professional titles, 28 of them in ranking events. His record of six world titles in the modern era has been bettered only by Stephen Hendry and no player has yet matched his tally of six UK titles. Davis has also compiled over 300 competitive centuries during his career.


In 1994, Steve Davis began playing in professional nine-ball pool events regularly. He was instrumental in the creation of the Mosconi Cup. He has represented Europe in the tournament on eleven occasions, and was a member of the team's 1995 and 2002 wins; his victory against the USmarker's Earl Strickland clinched the 2002 competition for Europe.

He has taken notable victories in his pool career, including his "shock" winning streak at the 2000 WPA World Nine-ball Championship, where he came back from an 8–2 deficit to take a 9–8 win over then-reigning world champion Efren Reyes, following it up with victories over 1997 world champion Ralf Souquet and 1998 champion Takahashi Kunihiko. He has also become well known for being involved in some of the most dramatic matches in that event's history, including the aforementioned match against Efren Reyes in 2000, Rudolfo Luat in 2002, and a particularly heated encounter with Earl Strickland in 2003.

His participation in the WPA World Nine-ball Championship and Mosconi Cup has been curtailed in recent years as both now clash with snooker events.

In 2001, Davis nearly won his first title in pool at the World Pool League. However, Efren Reyes defeated him 9–5 the final. Pool commentator Sid Waddell gave him the nickname "Romford Slim", suggesting him to be the UKmarker's answer to the famous Americanmarker pool player Rudolf "Minnesota Fats" Wanderone. Waddell later also dubbed him "The Prowler" for his unusual habit of pacing up and down the side of the table during between racks and during breaks in play.

He dislikes eight-ball pool as played on English-style tables in British pubs and clubs, considering it a "Mickey Mouse" game because of its under-sized cue ball in relation to the other balls,

Off the table

Davis has become known for his coolness and impeccable conduct in high-pressure situations, earning himself the nicknames "the Ginger Magician" and "the Nugget". His initial lack of emotional expression and somewhat monotonous interviewing style earned him a reputation as boring. As a result, the satirical television series Spitting Image gave him the ironic nickname Steve "Interesting" Davis. Davis himself has long played upon this image, particularly as a pundit and commentator for the BBC's snooker coverage and as a guest on television quizzes such as They Think It's All Over. In 2007, his image is being used as "reliable" in a series of advertisements for Irish Life.

How To Be Really Interesting front cover

He is co-author (with Geoff Atkinson) of the comedy book How To Be Really Interesting (1988) and the more serious Mathroom Snooker (1988) and Steve Davis Plays Chess (1995) (with David Norwood) . In 1988, Davis was named the BBC Sports Personality of the Year and was made an MBE. He was awarded an OBE in 2001, and is currently honorary president of the Snooker Writers' Association.

Davis has taken up his non-snooker interests in the public arena, too. In 1983, he hosted The Steve Davis Sports Quiz for Channel 4 and later a music show Steve Davis' Interesting Soulfor The Superstation. Since 1996 he has presented a show dedicated to progressive rock and the Canterbury scene on his local radio station, Phoenix FMmarker. He is also a keen chess player and was, for a while, the President of the British Chess Federation. He also appeared in a Heinz Baked Beans advertisement in the 1980s (featuring snooker commentator Ted Lowe with the pay-off line "really interesting" and Davis 'assessing' his beans on toast as if it were a snooker situation, and chalking his cutlery).

He has also become a proficient poker player, with successful appearances at televised tournaments; one of these included an appearance at the final table of the 2003 Poker Million together with fellow snooker player Jimmy White, who eventually won. Later, at the 2006 World Series of Poker, Davis finished 579th in the no limit Texas hold 'em main event, winning $20,617. At the 2008 World Series of Poker he finished 389th in the main event, winning $28,950. Davis is a big fan of the Frenchmarker progressive rock band Magma, and even organised a concert in Londonmarker so he could watch them. He is on the board of Leyton Orient football club, which he has revealed to be more of a gimmick; Davis has been a Charlton Athletic fan most of his life, and Barry Hearn is the Orient chairman. Along with Hearn, he has most recently become involved with online pool in their collaboration of PoolStars, where he serves as the spokesman and technical advisor.

He lives in Brentwoodmarker, Essex, is divorced and has two sons.

Tournament wins


Ranking wins (28)

Tournament Year
World Championship 1981, 1983, 1984,1987, 1988, 1989
International Open 1983, 1984 (Jameson)

1987, 1988 (Fidelity Unit Trusts)

1989 (BCE)
UK Championship 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
Classic 1984 (Lada)

1987, 1988, 1992 (Mercantile Credit)
Rothmans Grand Prix 1985, 1988, 1989
British Open 1986, 1993
Asian Open 1992
European Open 1993
Regal Welsh Open 1994, 1995

Non-Ranking wins(53)

Tournament Year
UK Championship 1980, 1981
Jameson International 1981
Yamaha 1981, 1982 (Organ's Trophy)

1984 (International Masters)
Classic 1981 (Wilson's)

1983 (Lada)
English Professional Championship 1981, 1985
Australian Masters 1982
Scottish Masters 1982, 1983, 1984
Pontins Professional 1982
Tolly Cobbold Classic 1982, 1983, 1984
Pot Black 1982, 1983, 1991, 1993
Benson and Hedges Masters 1982, 1988, 1997
Irish Masters 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988,

1990, 1991, 1993, 1994
Hong Kong Masters 1984, 1987
Singapore Masters 1985/86
Canadian Masters 1986
Camas China Masters 1986/87
Matchroom League 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990
Matchroom Professional Championship 1988
World Matchplay 1988
Norwich Union Grand Prix 1988/89
European Grand Prix 1989
Continental Airlines London Masters 1990/91
European Challenge 1991
Belgian Challenge 1992
World Series 1992
Gold Flake Indian Masters 1992/93
China International 1997
Red Bull Super League 1998

Team wins (9)

Pro-am wins (2)

Other (3)

Pool (2)

Performance timeline

Major Tournaments
Tournament 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Career W-L
Masters A A 1R W QF QF 1R SF 1R W SF SF 1R QF QF 1R 1R QF W SF 1R 1R A 1R 1R 1R QF 1R 1R 1R A A 3 / 26
World Championship 1R QF W 1R W W F F W W W SF SF 1R 2R SF 1R QF 2R 2R 1R 2R LQ LQ 1R 1R QF 2R 1R 1R 1R 6 / 29
UK Championship QF W W QF F W W W W SF F F 2R SF QF 2R 1R 3R 2R QF 3R 2R 2R 3R 2R 3R F QF 1R 1R 6 / 30

Performance Table Legend
LQ lost in the qualifying draw #R lost in the early rounds of the tournament
QF advanced to but not past the quarterfinals SF advanced to but not past the semifinals
F advanced to the final, tournament runner-up W won the tournament
A did not participate in the tournament

Notes and references

External links

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