Ronnie O’Sullivan beat Neil Robertson 13-11 to edge a tense Tour Championship final in Llandudno.
The 43-year-old becomes world number one for the first time since 2010 after an 89 in the final frame cancelled out Robertson’s comeback.
O’Sullivan led 5-3 overnight, but Robertson enjoyed a strong morning session, levelling things at 8-8.
However, ‘The Rocket’ always seemed in control, not letting the Australian lead at any point.
“To get to number one probably playing half the events some other guys do is probably one of the best achievements across sports,” said O’Sullivan.
“I’ve never been driven by number one as if I was I’d probably enter a few more tournaments.”
The Wordsley born perfectionist now overtakes Mark Selby at the top of the world rankings.
The result also equals Stephen Hendrie’s record of 36 ranking titles, a record that could be bettered with victory at the World Championships in Sheffield, starting on April 20.
“Congratulations to Neil – him and Judd Trump have been the two best this season along with myself,” he added. “If one of us doesn’t win the World Championship I’ll be surprised.”
It’s been a good month for O’Sullivan, who became the first man to reach 1000 centuries earlier in March.
O’Sullivan is now favourite to win the World Championship next month with most bookies offering odds as low as 11/4 for victory. Judd Trump is second favourite at 9/2 after his recent run of good form.