Steve Davis has hailed Ronnie O’Sullivan’s OBE in the New Year Honours list as long overdue.

The Rocket has almost certainly attracted more new players and more television viewers to the sport in the past 20 years than any other player.

But despite the five world titles, 56 career trophies and a host of records more formal recognition of his feats and a profile stretching way outside his own sport had been a little slow in coming.

The 58-year-old Davis, also an OBE for winning six world titles and his TV and community work, said: “It did make me laugh that Ronnie has come straight in there as an OBE.

“Some of us had to pay our dues with an MBE first and were then fortunate to be upgraded! But Ronnie is straight into the hit parade with the big one.

“But seriously, it is marvellous news. Ronnie has been the Tiger Woods of our sport for a long time.

“And it had got to the stage where you were wondering why he hadn’t got something from the powers that be. It is really nice it has happened.

“He has done enormous good for the game, and the world and all the fans who love him are desperate to see him play. It is great and well deserved.”

O’Sullivan joins Davis, along with namesakes Joe and Fred, and Terry Griffiths as OBEs on the snooker honours board.

Others associated with snooker to have been awarded MBE honours include Stephen Hendry, Ray Reardon, John Higgins, Mark Williams, John Parrott, Jimmy White, Vera Selby, Len Ganley and Ted Lowe.