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British Open
Including British Gold Cup, Yamaha Organs Trophy and Yamaha International Masters
World Ranking Event since 1985

Brief History of the British Open
(Formerly British Gold Cup, Yamaha Organs Trophy and Yamaha Organs International Masters)
 
The British Open is one of the oldest ranking events having been a regular feature of the circuit since 1985. Its beginnings however go back a few years earlier.
 
It all started with the British Gold Cup, a sixteen-man event held at Derby’s Assembly Rooms in 1980 with the players split into four groups played on a round robin basis with four group winners going into the semi-finals. Alex Higgins was the winner.  The following year sponsorship was obtained and it became the Yamaha Organs Trophy. Played at the same venue it retained the same format as the Gold Cup.  Then, in 1982, under the new title of the Yamaha Organs International Masters, the top eight from the first round contested two further groups with the winners meeting in the final. Steve Davis won both of these titles. The field was enlarged to 27 in 1984, split into 9 groups of three. The winners played in three semi-final groups and then those winners went into a three-man round-robin final. On of the finalists was John Dunning who, at nearly 57, became the oldest person to reach a major final. Steve Davis won again to make it three out of four of the Yamaha events.
 
When the WPBSA wanted to increase the number of ranking events in 1984/5, Dulux Paints stepped in as sponsors following the withdrawal of Yamaha, and the British Open was born. There have been many different venues and sponsors over the years but the event has continued ever since. Derby remained the venue until 1993 but that first running provided quite an upset. Silvino Francisco of South Africa beat Kirk Stevens in the final and was one of the lowest ranked players to have won a major event. Dulux continued with their sponsorship for two more years which saw Steve Davis and Jimmy White emerge as the winners. Then in 1988, MIM Britannia took over as sponsors for one year only and Stephen Hendry took the title for the first time. Anglian Windows became another one-off backer in 1989 and Tony Meo, who had dropped to 31 in the rankings, was the surprise winner. Canada’s Bob Chaperon was another unlikely champion in 1990 when Pearl Assurance began a three-year sponsorship and FA Cup style draws were introduced for each round from the last 32 onwards.
 
1992 saw the event’s first maximum by James Wattana. He had no sooner completed the break than he was told of the death of his father. To his credit he carried on all the way to the final but Jimmy White was the eventual winner. Wickes Home Improvements stepped in to support the last British Open at Derby in 1993, which Steve Davis won and Wattana was runner-up again.
 
Plymouth Pavilions was the new venue but no sponsor could be found in 1994. Wattana was runner-up yet again with Ronnie O’Sullivan taking the title for the first time. Castella were sponsors for 1995 and 1996 when John Higgins and Nigel Bond were the winners but then followed five unsponsored years. In 1995 David McDonnell made a maximum in the qualifying rounds. Hendry reached the final in both 1997 and 1998 but first Mark Williams and then John Higgins prevented him getting his third win in the event. Ireland’s Fergal O’Brien beat Anthony Hamilton to take the title in April1999. There was a maximum from Graeme Dott and another from Jason Prince in the qualifiers in what was the last occasion that the event was held in the spring. It then moved to September so Fergal only held it for five months.
 
Stephen Hendry finally got that third win in the September 1999 event and made a 147 as well in the final against Peter Ebdon. The event moved to only its third venue in eighteen years in 2001 when, with backing from bookmakers, Stan James, it was staged in the Telewest Arena in Newcastle, John Higgins gaining his third victory, and then it moved again for 2002 to Telford, once again without any sponsors. Yet another change of venue, the Brighton Centre, provided Stephen Hendry with his fourth victory in 2003 and John Higgins gained his fourth a year later. The event was dropped from the calendar in 2005/6

 

Roll Of Honour 

Season Venue Sponsor Winner
Runner Up Score 1st Prize
1977 BRITISH GOLD CUP
1979/80 Assembly Rooms, Derby none Alex Higgins Ray Reardon 5-1 £4,000
1979 YAMAHA ORGANS TROPHY
1980/1 Assembly Rooms, Derby Yamaha Steve Davis David Taylor 9-6 £10,000
1979 YAMAHA ORGANS INTERNATIONAL MASTERS
1981/2 Assembly Rooms, Derby Yamaha Steve Davis Terry Griffiths 9-7 £11,000
1982/3 Assembly Rooms, Derby Yamaha Ray Reardon Jimmy White 9-6 £12,000
1983/4 Assembly Rooms, Derby Yamaha Steve Davis Dave Martin # £20,000
1979 BRITISH OPEN
1984/5 Assembly Rooms, Derby Dulux Silvino Francisco Kirk Stevens 12-9 £50,000
1985/6 Assembly Rooms, Derby Dulux Steve Davis Willie Thorne 12-7 £55,000
1986/7 Assembly Rooms, Derby Dulux Jimmy White Neal Foulds 13-9 £60,000
1987/8 Assembly Rooms, Derby MIM Britannia Unit Trusts Stephen Hendry Mike Hallett 13-2 £60,000
1988/9 Assembly Rooms, Derby Anglian Windows Tony Meo Dean Reynolds 13-6 £70,000
1989/90 Assembly Rooms, Derby Pearl Assurance Bob Chaperon Alex Higgins 10-8 £75,000
1990/1 Assembly Rooms, Derby Pearl Assurance Stephen Hendry Gary Wilkinson 10-9 £75,000
1991/2 Assembly Rooms, Derby Pearl Assurance Jimmy White James Wattana 10-7 £75,000
1992/3 Assembly Rooms, Derby Wickes Home Improvements Steve Davis James Wattana 10-2 £50,000
1993/4 Plymouth Pavilions none Ronnie O'Sullivan James Wattana 9-4 £36,000
1994/5 Plymouth Pavilions Castella John Higgins Ronnie O'Sullivan 9-6 £60,000
1995/6 Plymouth Pavilions Castella Nigel Bond John Higgins 9-8 £60,000
1996/7 Plymouth Pavilions none Mark J. Williams Stephen Hendry 9-2 £60,000
1997/8 Plymouth Pavilions none John Higgins Stephen Hendry 9-8 £60,000
1998/9 Plymouth Pavilions none Fergal O'Brien Anthony Hamilton 9-7 £60,000
1999/00 Plymouth Pavilions none Stephen Hendry Peter Ebdon 9-5 £62,000
2000/1 Plymouth Pavilions none Peter Ebdon Jimmy White 9-6 £62,000
2001/2 Telewest Arena, Newcastle Stan James John Higgins Graeme Dott 9-6 £92,500
2002/3 Telford International Centre none Paul Hunter Ian McCulloch 9-4 £52,000
2003/4 Brighton Centre none Stephen Hendry Ronnie O'Sullivan 9-6 £52,000
2004/5 Brighton Centre none John Higgins Stephen Maguire 9-6 £30,000

   # 1983/4 final was decided on a 3-man round robin basis. The third finalist was John Dunning.


Maximum Breaks
Final Stage
James Wattana 1991/2 Last 16 v. Tony Drago
Graeme Dott 1998/9 Last 64 v. David Roe
Stephen Hendry 1999/0 Final v. Peter Ebdon
John Higgins 1993/4 Last 32 v. Michael Judge
Qualifying Rounds
David  McDonnell 1994/5 Qual Rd 4 v Nic Barrow
Jason Prince 1998/9 Qual Rd 5 v. Ian Brumby


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©Chris Turner 2008