WORLD champion Ronnie O’Sullivan picked Joel Walker out as a 16-year-old to win a ‘Pot Idol’ style talent competition put on by Rileys almost four years ago and held in the Winter Gardens in Sheffield during the World Championships.
After ending up being the Rocket’s top choice in that ‘Future Stars’ selection process Walker, now 19 and ranked 84th in the world, turned professional two years ago,
O’Sullivan was watching in the media centre as Walker beat defending champion Stephen Maguire to reach his first ranking-event quarter-final.
He said: “I picked him in the Future Stars, he was the best of the juniors coming through and I have followed his career very closely. He did well in a PTC in Antwerp and I was actually surprised, he has improved so much in such a short space of time. He is starting to get results against good players and I am so happy for him. I think he will win tournaments now, he obviously has that love and desire for the game, he wants to play and is improving rapidly. I picked a good ‘un there, maybe I should be a scout more often.”