What's The Hardest Achievement? A Hole-In-One, Nine-Darter Or Maximum 147

Snooker players spark old debate about the hardest sporting achievement between a 147, nine-darter and hole-in-one

A hole-in-one, nine-darter and 147 in golf, snooker and darts
(Image credit: Getty Images)

They’re the stand-out achievements in their respective sports, but exactly what is more difficult to pull off between a golfing hole-in-one, a maximum snooker break of 147 or the perfect nine-dart darts leg?

It’s a conversation that’s often had and perhaps there’s no right answer, but it’s been brought up again recently during a chat at the snooker between former player Alan McManus and legend of the game Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Scottish potter McManus managed his first hole-in-one on the golf course this summer, but never managed to hit a maximum 147 break on the snooker table during a long career on the baize.

And McManus feels that the snooker achievement is the harder of the three, citing luck on the golf course and the repetitive nature of darts as reasons why.

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“I’ve never had a maximum - I had a hole-in-one this summer actually playing golf with John Higgins but there’s a lot of luck involved isn’t there,” McManus said on Eurosport.

“A hole in one there’s a lot of luck involved, darts I don’t think is all that difficult a game and every shot is kind of the same – in snooker every shot’s a little bit different. Obviously I’m going to be a bit biased but a 147 is tough.”

O’Sullivan has made 15 official maximum breaks in his career, and has turned down the chance for a few as well, so he makes it look about as easy as anyone ever has – but he says he finds darts a tough game.

“I’m terrible at darts so I’m flabbergasted at how they keep peppering the treble 20s and doubles and that,” said O’Sullivan.

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Fellow snooker player Shaun Murphy chimed in on the subject on social media, as he says he’s managed to achieve all three of the sporting landmarks, adding a nine-darter and hole-in-one to the 147s he’s managed as part of his day job.

Murphy must be in exclusive company to have managed to pull off all three of the ultimate moments in three different sports that require very different skills – with a theme of hand-eye coordination running through them.

Tiger Woods has had 20 holes-in-one in his career, but you can also hear plenty of stories of amateurs both young and old and of all playing ability managing to register an ace, while you could never see a novice stick in a nine-darter or a 147.

So is the hole-in-one all about luck then, and the easiest of the three to achieve? We’d like to hear from readers about your thoughts so let get in touch with us on Twitter @GolfMonthly and let us know.

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Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.