Terry Griffiths

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For the Australian politician, see Terry Griffiths (politician).
Terry Griffiths
Born (1947-10-16) 16 October 1947 (age 69)
Llanelli, Carmarthenshire
Sport country  Wales
Professional 1978–1997
Highest ranking 3 (1981/82)
Career winnings £1,209,054
Highest break 140 (1983 Hong Kong Masters)
Century breaks 86
Tournament wins
Ranking 1
Non-ranking 17
World Champion 1979

Terrence "Terry" Griffiths, OBE[1] (born 16 October 1947) is a retired Welsh snooker player and current snooker coach and pundit. He won the World Championship in 1979 at the first attempt, and reached the 1988 final. He also won the Masters in 1980 and the UK Championship in 1982, making him one of ten players to have completed snooker's triple crown. He was known for his slow, highly cautious style of play.

Early years[edit]

Griffiths was born in Llanelli. A former postman,[2] insurance salesman, miner and bus conductor, he had a long amateur career, winning the Welsh Amateur Championship in 1975 and the English Amateur Championship in 1977 and 1978 before turning professional.


In his first professional match, at the 1978 UK Championship, he lost 8–9 to Rex Williams after leading 8–1.[3] However, he could hardly have expected what would come in the 1979 World Championships. After qualifying he beat Perrie Mans and Alex Higgins. Interviewed after beating Eddie Charlton in a long semi-final, it suddenly dawned on him what he had done, and he said "I'm in the final now, you know! Ah fresh breath." in his broad Welsh accent.[4] He went on to beat Dennis Taylor 24–16 in the final, becoming world champion at the first attempt.[5] In the same year he was part of the Welsh team that won the inaugural World Cup of snooker: he, Ray Reardon and Doug Mountjoy beat England 14–3 in the final. But at the end of 1979, he lost 13–14 in the UK Championship final to John Virgo.

1980 started well for Griffiths as he won the Masters, beating Alex Higgins 9–5 in front of 2,323 spectators at the Wembley Conference Centre. It was his first appearance at the Masters and turned out to be his only win there. He then won the Irish Masters also at the first attempt, beating Doug Mountjoy 9–8, but the Crucible Curse struck at the World Championships that year, as he lost his second-round match (which was then a 'first round' for the top eight players, who had byes) to the up-and-coming Steve Davis.

He retained the World Cup later on in 1980 for Wales and again won the Irish Masters in 1981 before losing to eventual winner Steve Davis again in the World Championship.

He also lost 3–16 to Davis in the UK Championship final in 1981, beginning a six-month period in which he and Davis faced each other in almost every major tournament final. Although Davis had the better of their exchanges, Griffiths triumphed twice, in the Classic in early 1982 and later the Irish Masters (becoming the first player to win three consecutive titles) beating Davis on both occasions (the Classic 9–8 and the Irish Masters 9–5). Unsurprisingly, after Davis was sensationally beaten by Tony Knowles in the first round of the World Championship that year, Griffiths was immediately installed as the bookmakers' favourite for the title. However, a second surprise followed as Griffiths was beaten, also in the first round, by Willie Thorne. At the end of 1982, he won the UK Championship, beating Alex Higgins in a classic 16–15 final. It was still a non-ranking event at that time.

He never again won a ranking event, although he won several major invitational events; the 1984 Malaysian Masters, where he topped a round robin group (Tony Meo was the runner up), the 1984 Singapore Masters, where also topped a round robin group (Davis was runner up), the 1985 Hong Kong Masters, where he beat Davis 4–2; the 1986 Belgian Classic, where he beat Kirk Stevens 9–7 in the final, in an event featuring 8 of the top 9 in the year's rankings.

He did take the Pot Black title in 1984 and the Welsh Professional Championship between 1985, 1986 and 1988. He reached the final of the World Snooker Championship again also in 1988, but he lost to old rival Steve Davis 11–18. During the final session of the championship, he accidentally knocked over a globe on the Crucible set, denting part of it with his foot: he was awarded the globe at the end of the match. He achieved the notable feat of reaching at least the quarter-finals of the World Championships for nine consecutive years between 1984–1992.

By the 1990s he began to struggle in the rankings but he still reached the semi-final of the 1992 World Championship, with victories over Bob Chaperon, Neal Foulds and the young Peter Ebdon, losing to Stephen Hendry. Having lost at the Crucible in 1996 against his old rival Steve Davis (whom he never beat at the Crucible in 7 attempts) in the last 16 (after beating the young Scottish player Jamie Burnett in a final frame decider 10–9 in the first round, having trailed 0–6 and 5–9), he immediately announced his retirement from the game.

Unusually for a snooker player Griffiths retired whilst still inside the top 32 and 23rd in the rankings.[6] This was despite only entering the 1997 qualifiers in his final season as a professional.[7] He won this match and qualified to play at the Crucible one last time. He lost that match to fellow countryman and debutant Mark Williams, in another final-frame decider, 9–10. This meant that he played a total of 999 frames at the Crucible.[8]

Coaching career[edit]

Griffiths is well known as a coach and has coached many top players. Having retired from professional play in 1997, he currently coaches top players such as Mark Williams, Marco Fu, Mark Allen, Ali Carter, Joe Perry and Barry Hawkins, and in the past has coached Stephen Hendry and Stephen Maguire. He is the Director of Coaching at the South West Snooker Academy.[9] He also frequently commentates on snooker for the BBC.

World Championship finals: 2 (1 title, 1 runner-up)[edit]

Outcome Year Opponent in the final Score in the final
Winner 1979 Northern Ireland Dennis Taylor 24–16
Runner-up 1988 England Steve Davis 11–18

Tournament wins[edit]

Ranking wins: (1)[edit]

World Championship – 1979

Non-ranking wins: (17)[edit]

  • The Masters – 1980
  • Irish Masters – 1980,1981,1982
  • The Classic – 1982
  • UK Championship – 1982
  • Pot Black – 1984
  • Hong Kong Masters – 1985
  • Belgian Classic −1986
  • Welsh Professional Championship – 1985, 1986, 1988
  • Pontins Professional – 1981, 1985, 1986
  • Malaysian Masters – 1984
  • Singapore Masters – 1984

Team events[edit]

Trickshot events[edit]

Performance timeline[edit]

Tournament 1978/
UK Championship 1R F SF F W SF 1R QF 2R QF SF SF 1R 3R 1R QF 3R 2R A
World Championship W 2R QF 1R 2R QF QF QF QF F QF QF QF SF 2R 2R 2R 2R 1R
Performance Table Legend
LQ Failed to qualify #R Lost in the early rounds
QF Lost in the quarter-finals SF Lost in the semi-finals
F Lost in the final W Tournament winner
A Did not participate in the tournament NH Tournament was not held


  1. ^ "Terry Griffiths receives an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours". Retrieved 16 June 2009
  2. ^ "1979: Griffiths creates miracle". BBC. 12 April 2002. Retrieved 15 July 2008. 
  3. ^ "Where are they now? – Terry Griffiths". Wayback Machine. Archived from the original on 15 August 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2008. 
  4. ^ "Hall of Fame – Terry Griffiths". BBC. Retrieved 14 July 2008. 
  5. ^ "A Profile for Terry Griffiths". Terry Griffiths Snooker. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  6. ^ "Still POTTY after all these years. – Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "Interview with Terry Griffiths (part 1 of 2) " Snooker Island Blog". Snookerisland.com. 25 November 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  8. ^ "Crucible 2008 – some potential milestones". BBC. 11 March 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  9. ^ "Coaching". South West Snooker Academy. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 

External links[edit]