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BURNETT ON PLAYING SNOOKER’S BEST
By Stuart Fraser
Monday 26th April 2010
Sometimes you feel like you are watching a computer game when you watch the best snooker players like John Higgins and Ronnie O’Sullivan pot balls.
And Scottish No.5 Jamie Burnett says it isn’t any different when you are actually playing against these potting machines.
The Hamilton based 34-year-old is currently sitting at No.40 in the world rankings but is finding it hard to go any higher with players like Higgins and O’Sullivan kicking about.
“It’s always been tough,” says Burnett. “You’re competing against the best players in the world.
“You compete against players like Higgins and O’Sullivan who are just phenomenal. When they are playing at the top of their game, it’s like playing against a machine.
“It’s like playing against someone on the PlayStation as they just don’t miss a ball.”
Burnett is currently in the midst of the off-season break before the new season kicks off in August. Whilst the World Championships are currently taking place at the Crucible in Sheffield, Burnett’s season ended at the start of March when he failed to qualify for snooker’s showpiece event.
He passes the time though by helping run his family’s snooker club in Hamilton called Bar 147 which has been open for two years.
“I have got about three months off and it’s a bit boring,” says Burnett. “Although it would probably be a lot worse if I didn’t have this club, so I come in here and help out as much as I possibly can.
“It’s nice having a place of your own that you can come in and relax with your friends. Because I am from Hamilton, if I am going out for a drink with my mates, I will come here.”
World champion John Higgins recently called for more funding for the sport in Scotland saying that it’s always left to private club owners to help the sport along, and as a club owner, Burnett does indeed feel a responsibility to budding young Scottish players.
“I have been quite fortunate in life that the clubs I have played in, I got free time,” he says.
“There are a lot of kids out there who aren’t so fortunate and it is really tough. You need to be on the table all the time, especially when you are younger.
“I would love nothing more than a kid to come in here, take the game seriously and want to become a professional.
“I would gladly help them out as much as I possibly could, whether it be some free time or coaching.”
As for the future of snooker, Burnett is excited by the recent arrival of new snooker chief Barry Hearn who has been responsible for a huge upturn of interest in professional darts.
“The last few years have been tough,” he says. “Snooker has lost a lot of sponsorship and there have not been as many tournaments.
“I think though if there is anybody involved in sport that can do anything with snooker, Hearn is the right man.
“Darts, with all due respect, is a pub sport and he has made it massive. It sells out everywhere it goes and everybody wants to watch it.”
“I don’t know if he had anything to do with the women models walking in with the players but hopefully he does the same with the snooker.”