Which snooker personalities want to go into space, swim with sharks or meet a Tai Chi master?
We asked them to name a few things they would like to do before kicking the bucket…
Dafabet Masters champion
Place I’d like to go I’d love to go to the Masters golf at Augusta. Not just to watch it, but to have a go at playing the course. I watched it for the first time on TV in 1996 when Nick Faldo came from six shots behind to beat Greg Norman – and been hooked ever since. There’s something very special about the place. Unfortunately, invites to play the course are extremely rare. The other big one on my bucket list is to go into space on one of the commercial trips. To see the Earth from above would be an incredible experience. Sporting event I want to attend I had a chance to go to the Olympics in London and regret not going. Hopefully one day snooker might have a place in the Olympics. The NFL Superbowl would be a great one to go to. Person I’d like to meet I love playing the piano so I’d like to meet Gary Barlow or Elton John to get some tips. I’ve tweeted Barlow a few times but he tends to reply to tweets about a cat stuck up a tree rather than offering advice about music! Perfect meal My favourite food is Chinese – but the Western version rather than the traditional restaurants in China. I’ve got a few favourite restaurants in Manchester, and also in New York which is a city I really enjoy visiting. Car I’d like to drive Snooker has given me some great opportunities and a few years ago I was able to buy my dream car: an Aston Martin, though I have since got rid of it. One day I want to have a go in a DB5 Aston Martin which was the one Goldfinger drove in the James Bond movie.
Former World Champion and current BBC pundit
Place to visit This year I went to Florence for the first time and that was beautiful, so I’d love to go back and spend more time there, particularly in the galleries where some of the great renaissance art is kept. I’ve always wanted to see Ayres Rock in Australia and Vancouver in Canada. And I want to go on a cruise around Alaska to see whales and the other wildlife there. I’m not someone who enjoys holidays in the sun, and as you can see from my skin, the sun doesn’t like me either. I much prefer going to see wildlife or history. And I want to go on safari in Africa. I guess I better get started! Sporting event One of my sporting events was ticked off this year as I went to the men’s final at Wimbledon. Nicko McBrain, the drummer from Iron Maiden who came to the Crucible last year, had a spare ticket so he invited me. That was amazing. I’ve also been to a Champions League final. I’d love to see the US Open tennis final at Flushing Meadows, and go to the World Cup. Person to meet Roger Federer, he’s one of my biggest sporting heroes. Perfect meal I’d have dinner in the restaurant at the top of the Eiffel Tower. I love Paris and I wanted to go to the restaurant last time we were there but it was too long. Car to drive An Aston Martin DB9. Golf course to play Augusta would be special, or maybe St Andrews Old Course, for the history.
Snooker’s Master of Ceremonies
Place to visit I’ve been lucky enough to visit many incredible places, including East Africa the home of distance running, and the Caribbean, which I had always wanted to go to. Some of my favourite novels involve people surviving at sea, like Unbroken by Louis Zamperini. I’d love to retrace the route of Henri Charriere, who wrote Papillon after surviving the penal colonies in French Guiana and Venezuela, and see all the places he landed at when he was escaping from incarceration. It’s an incredible story. Sporting event The one thing I haven’t done purely as a spectator is to watch the Olympic men’s 10,000 metre final. I’ll be commentating on that in Rio, but I haven’t yes had a chance to be there as a fan. Person to meet Mohammed Ali. I’ve read a few books on him and I admire everything about the man. He’s just an icon and I’d love to have met him before his current health issues and have a good talk with him. Car to drive A Bentley. I love the idea of driving a car in which every component is handmade. Race to run There are two running events I want to do. One is the Comrades Marathon, a 56 mile race in South Africa. Steve Cram told me it’s one of the best things he’s ever done. The other is the Marathon de Sables, an ultra-race through the Sahara Desert where you run a different distance each day. Only around 1,000 people do it each year and apparently it can leave experienced marines on their knees, weeping in agony because they can’t go any further.
Former Grand Prix and Australian Goldfields Open champion
Place to visit I have always wanted to go to the Swiss mountains. I skied as a child in Canada but not since I was 13, so I would like to do some skiing in the Swiss Alps. I can imagine the scenery would be incredible. I also want to go to African on safari and see animals like elephants and lions close up. Person to meet Michael Jordan, as I have always been a huge basketball fan. Sporting event The men’s final at Wimbledon. I love watching tennis on TV and actually I live pretty close to Wimbledon now but I’ve never had the chance to go, and I know it would be very tough to get tickets to the final. But to be there and experience that atmosphere would be amazing, especially if Roger Federer was playing as he’s one of my idols. Perfect meal A Chinese meal at home with my wife, who is a great cook.
Two-time ranking event winner and world number 8
Place to visit The Terracotta Army in China’s Shaanxi province, I’d love to go to see that. Unfortunately it’s a flight away from anywhere we go in China for tournaments. I enjoy going to see historical sites. The first time I went to China I went to the Great Wall with Paul Hunter and I remember it well. I’ve also been to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Car to drive I’d love an Audi R8. When I used to practise with Ronnie O’Sullivan he used to turn up in one and I always felt it would be a dream car to have. Sporting event The Masters golf. Every year when I see it on TV I want to be there. The fact that I falls just before our World Championship means that I’ll probably never be able to – until I stop playing snooker! Golf course to play Definitely Augusta. I know it’s incredibly difficult to get on. I think they let a few of the journalists play it just after the Masters and everyone who hasn’t played it before four-putts half of the greens. I would just love to see how fast those greens really are. It would be similar for a casual snooker fan to find out how fast the cloths we play on are. If I could play Augusta I’d be very happy to break 90! Person to meet Someone like Roger Federer, Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy at the top of their sport, just to see if I could pick anything up from them. One more thing I’d like to do sky-dive, to raise money for charity. I haven’t got the guts to do it yet but maybe one day.
Xuzhou Open champion
Place to visit I’d love to go to Fiji. Every time I see it on TV it looks amazing. I like the idea of being somewhere out in the middle of the ocean. And I’ve always wanted to swim with sharks, maybe go to Australia and get up close to the Great Whites. I’d want to be inside a very strong cage though. Car to drive Something fast and sporty – a Ferrari or Lamborghini. Sporting event The Masters golf at Augusta, it looks like an incredible atmosphere. And of course I’d want to play the course as well. Person to meet Mike Tyson. I was a huge fan of him when he was in his prime. If I could meet him when he was in the right mood and ask him about his childhood and early days in boxing, it would be fascinating.
Former World Champion, now a leading coach
Place to visit Home – it’s the best place in the world. I always felt like that, especially when I was travelling everywhere as a player. Sporting event Snooker’s World Championship, you can’t beat that. Though, when I was young it was my ambition to play rugby for Wales at Cardiff Arms Park. Just to experience the atmosphere of walking into the arena with tens of thousands of fans cheering. I can’t imagine anything like it. Person to meet I’d like to meet a Tai Chi master. I’ve read a lot about the philosophy of it. Some of them go into the jungle and survive on their own for years. I also enjoyed Dr Steve Peters’ book, the Chimp Paradox, he’d be an interesting guy to talk to. Car to drive I’m a BMW man so I’d like a brand new M6. The engines in them are unbelievable. Perfect meal Italian, with a nice glass of wine. Maybe ravioli, followed by espresso ice cream. Beautiful.
Former World Champion and current BBC commentator
Place to visit I’ve been to a lot of places around the world, but one I have not visited, and always wanted to, is Mauritius. Sporting event I’ve been to the Masters golf twice and that takes some beating. Once year, Cliff Thorburn and I went with Ian Woosnam and we all stayed in the same house. Woosie missed the cut but Cliff and I still had use of his white Cadillac so we were driving it down Magnolia Drive into Augusta! I’ve never been to the Olympics so that would be special. Person to meet Mohammed Ali. Car to drive I’d like to have a McLaren road car, just for a year or so. Golf course to play Augusta – both times I went there the course just looks wonderful. I’ve played some of the great courses, including Loch Lomond, Royal County Down and Royal Portrush.
Place to visit I’d like to see Moscow and New York. They are both cities I’ve heard a lot about, but never had the chance to go. A couple of years ago I was stuck in Chengdu in China after a tournament because I had deep vein thrombosis and couldn’t fly. I looked into getting the Trans-Siberian Express train back through Asia and Europe, which would have been an amazing experience. But in the end I was able to fly back. Since then I have read more that journey. My wife is Belarusian and she speaks Russian, so maybe one day we will make that trip. Sporting event Seeing the Netherlands play at the World Cup. I love football and tennis but I have never been to Wimbledon or the World Cup. My ultimate sporting dream would be for snooker to get into the Olympics and to referee the gold medal match – that would be something else. Person to meet I’d like to have dinner with Bill Clinton. I always found him a fascinating character when he was President. Car to drive I’ve never had any desire for cars. I enjoy cycling so I’m happy with my bike. Perfect meal I love Indonesian food and there are loads of great restaurants in Holland, because Indonesia used to be a Dutch colony.
Four-time ranking event winner and world number 7
Place to visit I’d like to do more travelling if I had the time. I have been to a lot of countries through snooker and holidays so I have been lucky, but there’s a lot more of the world I’d like to see. The two cities I’d most like to visit are Miami and Sydney. Car to drive Pagani or Bugatti. Sporting event To go to a Floyd Mayweather fight would be incredible. Person to meet Floyd Mayweather. Perfect meal I love Japanese food and my favourite dish is black cod.
Snooker journalist for The Times and other national newspapers
Place to visit South America – I’d love to take a couple of months to tour Brazil, Argentina and Peru, enjoying steak and red wine in Buenos Aires and caipirinhas on the Copacabana in Rio. Then Machu Picchu for some much-needed exercise. Sporting event I’ve always fancied doing an entire England Test series in the West Indies, but football matches at the Maracana and the River Plate v Boca Juniors derby would also do the job – plus a trip to Augusta for the Masters. Person to meet Legendary Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward – the scourge of Richard Nixon and the establishment during the Watergate scandal. Golf course to play The links courses do it for me, so I’d pick Royal Lytham and St Annes, or Royal St George’s. Perfect meal I was lucky enough to be treated to a meal at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire for a wedding present, that was different gravy (there actually wasn’t any gravy in sight). If another chance like that comes along again, maybe I’d go for Michael Caines at Gidleigh Park in Devon. Car to drive For me a car is just about getting from A to B, so all I’d want is a mild upgrade to a newer Citroen C4 Grand Picasso family bus, and to spend any surplus cash on the holiday.
Former UK Champion and current BBC commentator
Place to visit I’ve never been on a skiing holiday, because of course the snooker season always goes through winter. I’d like to go to one of those chalets with log fires, like the ones in the film Return of the Pink Panther. Sporting event I’ve already done one which I’m not sure I could ever top. I was at the Nou Camp when Manchester United won the Champions League final in 1999, to complete the treble. I don’t see how it could get better than that. Person to meet It’s a bit late for Brigitte Bardot! I’d love to meet my favourite actors Al Pacino and Clint Eastwood, to hear their stories. Car to drive I wouldn’t go in for a Rolls Royce or a Bentley, but a top of the range Mercedes would do me fine. So if anyone from Mercedes is reading this, drop me a line.