The snooker world rankings are the official system of ranking professional snooker players to determine automatic qualification and seeding for tournaments. They are maintained by the sport's governing body, the WPBSA. As of 22 January 2009, the number one-ranked player is Ronnie O'Sullivan.
Since the world rankings began in 1976 only seven players have held the number one position: Ray Reardon, Cliff Thorburn, Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, Mark Williams and Ronnie O'Sullivan – although Alex Higgins would have been ranked #1 in 1982/83 if he had not had ranking points deducted for disciplinary reasons. Additionally, it has been eighteen years since any player other than Hendry, John Higgins, Williams or O'Sullivan has held the top spot.
The rankings for a given season are based on ranking points accumulated by players in the two seasons prior to the current one. For each ranking tournament, players score ranking points based on the round they reached. Seeded losers receive half the ranking points for that round. Ranking points are totalled after each World Championship to determine final rankings for the next season.
The highest-ranked players automatically qualify for the final stages of certain tournaments, whereas lower-ranked players have to play a series of qualifying rounds. In particular, the top 16 players automatically qualify for the final stages of the World Championship and the Masters. For other tournaments, the top 32 players qualify automatically. Therefore, as well as interest in who will be number one, towards the end of a season there is typically a lot of interest in which players are likely to maintain or acquire "top 16 status".
|Snooker world rankings|
|Rankings explained • Ranking Tournaments • World Number Ones • Top 16 Players|
|1976/77 1977/78 1978/79 1979/80
1980/81 1981/82 1982/83 1983/84 1984/85 1985/86 1986/87 1987/88 1988/89 1989/90
1990/91 1991/92 1992/93 1993/94 1994/95 1995/96 1996/97 1997/98 1998/99 1999/00
2000/01 2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11