|Born||January 17, 1970|
|Highest ranking||3 (1994/95)|
James Wattana (Thai: เจมส์ วัฒนา; born January 17, 1970, as วัฒนา ภู่โอบอ้อม Wattana Pu-Ob-Orm, then renamed รัชพล ภู่โอบอ้อม Ratchapol Pu-Ob-Orm in 2003) is a Thai former professional snooker player.
A professional between 1989 and 2008, and from 2009 to 2020, Wattana reached his highest ranking position – world number 3 – for the 1994–95 season. He has won three ranking tournaments, the 1992 Strachan Open and the Thailand Open in 1994 and 1995, and has finished as the runner-up in a further five ranking events. He twice reached the semi-finals of the World Snooker Championship, in 1993 and 1997. When he was defeated in the semi-finals in 1993 by Jimmy White, it was only Wattana's second appearance in the final televised stages at the Crucible Theatre, his first being the previous year when he lost in the second round to the eventual winner Stephen Hendry.
Having received two year invitational tour cards in 2014, 2016 and 2018, Wattana fell off the main tour at the end of the 2019/2020 season.
Wattana won his first major tournament, the Thailand Masters, in 1986, aged only 16. As an amateur, he won the Asian Snooker Championship twice and the £6,000 first prize for winning the 1988 Kent Challenge in Hong Kong. He turned professional in 1989, after winning the 1988 World Amateur Championship. His career peaked in the mid-1990s, when he twice won the Thailand Open and rose to number three in the world rankings. Prior to Wattana becoming a professional, snooker had been dominated by British (and to a lesser extent Irish, Canadian and Australian) players.
He was the eighth professional player to earn more than £1 million in prize money, and with three maximum breaks he is one of only eighteen players to have scored more than two maximums in competition. He scored his first one in 1991 at the World Masters and the second at the British Open, which was then, at seven minutes and nine seconds, the fastest ever made.
With the help of his PR team fronted by Yorkshire business tycoon Ed Clark, Wattana's success caught the imagination of the Thai public, and he became the most admired sportsman in his home country. He helped raise the profile of the game in the Far East, and has been followed into the game by many players from Thailand, Hong Kong, and China, the most successful being Marco Fu and Ding Junhui. He is a Commander Third Class of the Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand, only the second sportsman to receive the country's most prestigious civilian honour.
He reached the semi-finals of the World Snooker Championship in 1993 and 1997, losing narrowly in the latter to Stephen Hendry. After a strong 2004–05 season, he returned to the top 32 of the world rankings, despite being the first player since 1992 to experience a whitewash at the World Championship when he lost 0–10 against Ali Carter in the final round of qualifying at the 2005 tournament. By 2007, his continued poor form meant that he dropped off the main tour in 2008. He continued to play, however, and in 2008 he entered the World Amateur Championships in Wels, Austria, where he lost to eventual champion Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the last 16. He won the 2009 Asian Championships in Tangshan, China, after beating Mei Xiwen 7–3 in the final.
His position on the current provisional rankings received a huge boost with a run to the venue stage of the China Open thanks to four straight qualifying victories.
The 2011/12 season proved to be relatively good, managing to qualify in 2 of the 8 ranking events, the Shanghai Masters losing to Ronnie O'Sullivan 1–5 and the German Masters, beating Stephen Hendry 5–1 in the qualifiers, but then losing to Graeme Dott in the first round. At the end of the season he finished ranked 63, just inside the top 64.
In 2014, he lost his place on the professional snooker circuit, as he finished outside the top 64 on the official world rankings list at the end of the 2013/2014 season. However, he was one of three players awarded an invitational tour card for the next season – alongside Hendry and Steve Davis – and has since competed fairly regularly in tournaments as an amateur. In 2015, he lost in the first round of the qualifiers for the World Championship 3–10 to Jimmy White. In 2016, he lost in the first round of the qualifiers for the World Championship 6–10 to Peter Ebdon.
Performance and rankings timeline
|Ranking[nb 1]||[nb 2]||[nb 2]||[nb 3]||32||20||7||5||3||5||12||12||15||22||27||32||32||34||33||32||25||33||[nb 2]||[nb 3]||66||67||63||63||[nb 4]||123||[nb 4]||73||[nb 4]||82||[nb 2]|
|Riga Masters[nb 5]||Tournament Not Held||MR||A||A||A||A|
|International Championship||Tournament Not Held||LQ||2R||LQ||LQ||3R||LQ||1R||A|
|China Championship||Tournament Not Held||NR||A||LQ||LQ|
|English Open||Tournament Not Held||2R||4R||1R||1R|
|World Open[nb 6]||A||A||SF||LQ||1R||2R||2R||3R||3R||QF||2R||1R||3R||1R||1R||3R||3R||QF||1R||RR||LQ||A||A||1R||LQ||LQ||2R||Not Held||WR||LQ||LQ||LQ|
|Northern Ireland Open||Tournament Not Held||1R||1R||1R||1R|
|Scottish Open[nb 7]||A||A||2R||Not Held||2R||F||1R||1R||2R||2R||1R||2R||2R||1R||2R||LQ||Tournament Not Held||MR||Not Held||1R||1R||1R||3R|
|European Masters[nb 8]||A||A||LQ||2R||1R||1R||QF||2R||1R||SF||NH||1R||Not Held||2R||LQ||1R||2R||1R||LQ||NR||Tournament Not Held||LQ||LQ||LQ||A|
|German Masters[nb 9]||Tournament Not Held||2R||1R||2R||NR||Tournament Not Held||LQ||1R||LQ||LQ||A||LQ||LQ||A||A||A|
|World Grand Prix||Tournament Not Held||NR||DNQ||DNQ||DNQ||DNQ||DNQ|
|Welsh Open||Tournament Not Held||QF||SF||SF||1R||1R||3R||1R||QF||3R||LQ||1R||LQ||1R||LQ||QF||1R||LQ||A||LQ||LQ||LQ||LQ||3R||A||1R||1R||3R||2R||2R|
|Shoot-Out||Not Held||NR||Tournament Not Held||Non-Ranking Event||A||2R||1R||A|
|Players Championship[nb 10]||Tournament Not Held||DNQ||DNQ||1R||DNQ||DNQ||DNQ||DNQ||DNQ||DNQ||DNQ|
|Gibraltar Open||Tournament Not Held||MR||1R||A||A||A|
|Tour Championship||Tournament Not Held||DNQ||DNQ|
|Six-red World Championship[nb 11]||Tournament Not Held||SF||QF||3R||NH||2R||2R||2R||2R||2R||RR||QF||RR||2R|
|Former ranking tournaments|
|Classic||A||A||LQ||3R||SF||Tournament Not Held|
|Strachan Open||Tournament Not Held||W||MR||NR||Tournament Not Held|
|Dubai Classic[nb 12]||Not Held||2R||2R||2R||SF||2R||1R||2R||1R||Tournament Not Held|
|Malta Grand Prix||Tournament Not Held||Non-Ranking Event||LQ||NR||Tournament Not Held|
|Thailand Masters[nb 13]||Non-Rank.||F||2R||2R||QF||W||W||QF||2R||2R||2R||LQ||LQ||1R||NR||Not Held||NR||Tournament Not Held|
|British Open||A||A||2R||3R||F||F||F||SF||2R||1R||2R||1R||3R||2R||1R||1R||LQ||LQ||Tournament Not Held|
|Irish Masters||Non-Ranking Event||LQ||LQ||LQ||NH||NR||Tournament Not Held|
|Northern Ireland Trophy||Tournament Not Held||NR||2R||1R||A||Tournament Not Held|
|Wuxi Classic[nb 14]||Tournament Not Held||Non-Ranking Event||LQ||LQ||A||Not Held|
|Australian Goldfields Open[nb 15]||Tournament Not Held||Non-Rank.||Tournament Not Held||LQ||LQ||LQ||A||A||Not Held|
|Shanghai Masters||Tournament Not Held||LQ||A||LQ||LQ||1R||LQ||LQ||LQ||LQ||LQ||LQ||Non-Rank.|
|Paul Hunter Classic[nb 16]||Tournament Not Held||Pro-am Event||Minor-Ranking Event||A||A||A||NR|
|Indian Open||Tournament Not Held||1R||LQ||NH||1R||LQ||A||NH|
|China Open[nb 17]||Tournament Not Held||NR||1R||LQ||LQ||LQ||Not Held||LQ||2R||1R||LQ||A||1R||LQ||LQ||LQ||2R||LQ||1R||LQ||LQ||2R||NH|
|Former non-ranking tournaments|
|Pontins Professional||A||A||SF||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||Tournament Not Held|
|European Grand Masters||Not Held||QF||Tournament Not Held|
|World Masters||Not Held||SF||Tournament Not Held|
|London Masters||NH||A||A||QF||Tournament Not Held|
|European Masters League||Tournament Not Held||F||Tournament Not Held|
|Thailand Masters||RR||W||Ranking||2R||Ranking Event||A||Not Held||A||Tournament Not Held|
|Hong Kong Masters[nb 18]||A||A||NH||W||F||Tournament Not Held||A||Not Held|
|Indian Challenge||Tournament Not Held||1R||Tournament Not Held|
|Belgian Challenge||Tournament Not Held||1R||Tournament Not Held|
|Pot Black||A||A||A||A||A||F||A||Tournament Not Held||A||A||A||Tournament Not Held|
|Kent Classic||NH||A||A||A||NH||QF||Tournament Not Held|
|Belgian Masters||Not Held||A||A||W||Not Held||A||Tournament Not Held|
|Nescafe Extra Challenge||Not Held||F||NH||F||Tournament Not Held|
|World Matchplay||Not Held||A||A||A||W||Tournament Not Held|
|Top Rank Classic||Tournament Not Held||RR||Tournament Not Held|
|King's Cup||Not Held||F||NH||F||W||SF||Tournament Not Held|
|Scottish Masters||A||A||A||A||A||SF||1R||QF||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||Tournament Not Held|
|Irish Masters||A||A||A||A||A||QF||QF||QF||QF||A||A||A||A||A||A||Ranking Event||NH||A||Tournament Not Held|
|Superstar International||Tournament Not Held||RR||Tournament Not Held|
|China International||Tournament Not Held||SF||Ranking Event||Not Held||Ranking Event|
|Super Challenge||Tournament Not Held||RR||Tournament Not Held|
|Premier League[nb 19]||NH||A||A||RR||SF||RR||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||RR||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||Tournament Not Held|
|Euro-Asia Masters Challenge||Tournament Not Held||W||RR||Not Held||F||Tournament Not Held|
|World Champions v Asia Stars||Tournament Not Held||RR||Tournament Not Held|
|Masters Qualifying Event[nb 20]||Not Held||F||QF||MR||A||A||A||A||A||A||3R||1R||1R||3R||3R||NH||A||A||A||A||3R||Tournament Not Held|
|Shoot-Out||Not Held||WD||Tournament Not Held||A||1R||A||A||A||A||Ranking Event|
|Performance Table Legend|
|LQ||lost in the qualifying draw||#R||lost in the early rounds of the tournament
(WR = Wildcard round, RR = Round robin)
|QF||lost in the quarter-finals|
|SF||lost in the semi–finals||F||lost in the final||W||won the tournament|
|DNQ||did not qualify for the tournament||A||did not participate in the tournament||WD||withdrew from the tournament|
|DQ||disqualified from the tournament|
|NH / Not Held||event was not held.|
|NR / Non-Ranking Event||event is/was no longer a ranking event.|
|R / Ranking Event||event is/was a ranking event.|
|MR / Minor-Ranking Event||means an event is/was a minor-ranking event.|
|PA / Pro-am Event||means an event is/was a pro-am event.|
- From the 2010/2011 season it shows the ranking at the beginning of the season.
- He was an amateur.
- New players on the Main Tour don't have a ranking.
- Players issued an invitational tour card began the season without ranking points.
- The event was called the Riga Open (2014/2015–2015/2016)
- The event run under different names as Grand Prix (1990/1991–2000/2001 and 2004/2005–2009/2010), LG Cup (2001/2002–2003/2004), the World Open (2010/2011) and the Haikou World Open (2011/2012–2013/2014)
- The event run under different names as International Open (1986/1987–1996/1997) and Players Championship (2003/2004)
- The event run under different names as the Malta Cup (2004/2005–2007/2008)
- The event run under different name as German Open (1995/1996–1997/1998)
- The event run under different name as Players Tour Championship Grand Finals (2010/2011–2012/2013)
- The event run under different names as Six-red Snooker International (2008/2009) and Six-red World Grand Prix (2009/2010)
- The event run under different names as Thailand Classic (1995/1996) and Asian Classic (1996/1997)
- The event run under different names as Asian Open (1989/1990–1992/1993) and Thailand Open (1993/1994–1996/97)
- The event run under different name as Jiangsu Classic (2008/2009–2009/2010)
- The event run under different names as Australian Open (1994/1995) and Australian Masters (1995/1996)
- The event was called the Grand Prix Fürth (2004/2005) and the Fürth German Open (2005/2006–2006/2007)
- The event run under different name as China International (1997/1998–1998/1999)
- The event was also called the Hong Kong Challenge (1990/1991–1991/1992)
- The event run under different names as Matchroom League (1986/1987–1991/1992) and European League (1992/1993–1996/1997)
- The event was also called the Benson & Hedges Championship (1990/1991–2002/2003)
Ranking finals: 8 (3 titles)
|Outcome||No.||Year||Championship||Opponent in the final||Score|
|Runner-up||1.||1989||Asian Open||Stephen Hendry||6–9|
|Runner-up||2.||1992||British Open||Jimmy White||7–10|
|Winner||1.||1992||Strachan Open||John Parrott||9–5|
|Runner-up||3.||1993||British Open (2)||Steve Davis||2–10|
|Runner-up||4.||1994||International Open||John Parrott||4–9|
|Winner||2.||1994||Thailand Open||Steve Davis||9–7|
|Runner-up||5.||1994||British Open (3)||Ronnie O'Sullivan||4–9|
|Winner||3.||1995||Thailand Open (2)||Ronnie O'Sullivan||9–6|
Non-ranking finals: 17 (7 titles)
|The Masters (0–1)|
Pro-am finals: 3 (2 titles)
|Outcome||No.||Year||Championship||Opponent in the final||Score|
|Winner||1.||1990||Kuedos Invitational||Troy Shaw||5–3|
|Runner-up||1.||2007||Asian Indoor Games||Mohammed Shehab||3–4|
|Winner||2.||2022||Southeast Asian Games||Lim Kok Leong||4–2|
Amateur finals: 7 (5 titles)
|Outcome||No.||Year||Championship||Opponent in the final||Score|
|Runner-up||1.||1986||British Under-19 Championship||Barry Pinches||0–3|
|Winner||1.||1986||Asian Snooker Championship||Gary Kwok||8–1|
|Runner-up||2.||1987||Asian Snooker Championship||Udon Khaimuk||6–8|
|Winner||2.||1988||Asian Snooker Championship (2)||Kenny Kwok||8–7|
|Winner||3.||1988||World Amateur Championship||Barry Pinches||11–8|
|Winner||4.||2008||Thailand Amateur Championship||Issara Kachaiwong||5–1|
|Winner||5.||2009||Asian Snooker Championship (3)||Mei Xiwen||7–3|
- "James Wattana". wst.tv. Archived from the original on 17 January 2023. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
- Turner, Chris. "Maximum Breaks". cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. Archived from the original on 10 February 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
- Hodgson, Guy. "O'Sullivan aims to realise maximum potential". The Independent on HighBeam Research. Archived from the original on 25 January 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2012. (subscription required)
- Hodgson, Guy (1993-04-18). "Snooker: A storm coming in from the East:... James Wattana might just become one". The Independent. Retrieved 1 Mar 2015.
- "Ranking History". Snooker.org. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
- "Wattana fends off Chan bid". South China Morning Post. 23 July 1988. p. 20.
- "Wattana snooks them yet again". The Straits Times. 24 July 1988. p. 27. Retrieved 12 October 2022.
- "Midlands Masters title for Shilton". Sandwell Evening Mail. 26 December 1990. p. 27.
- "Sport in Brief". Leicester Mercury. Leicester. 15 May 1986. p. 46.