World snooker champions will be in line for million-dollar pay days if Barry Hearn's masterplan to revive the sport hits its targets.
That was the message from the World Snooker supremo who was responding to Ronnie |O'Sullivan suggesting that such money would never come into the sport.
Sitting to Hearn's right at the launch event for this season's Betfred.com World Championship, which starts on April 17 and offers a top prize to the winner of £250,000, O'Sullivan initially gave his assessment on where snooker might go under Hearn's leadership.
“To think we'll be paying one million dollar prizes like in golf, I don't think that's ever going to be achievable,” O'Sullivan said.
“But if you look at what's happened with darts (since Hearn became involved in its promotion), if snooker could compete at that level then it will have become a success. I don't think we can dream of earning the kind of money tennis players, golfers or footballers get.”
Hearn then stepped in to say: “I disagree with Ronnie. In the early 1980s snooker was bigger than European Tour golf so something went wrong.
“We've got to throw away the baggage of yesteryear and ignore all the mistakes that have been made — and there have been millions of them over the years. The lunatics have been running the asylum.
“I believe we can go to where golf is and we can have million-dollar prizes and I think the first million-dollar prize will be at the World Championship.
“I don't see any restrictions on us if we work as one instead of what's gone on with niggling, whingeing, moaning, mediocrity.”