Snooker and Pool legend, Donnie O'Mulligan, is returning to the fierce world of competitive snooker. The world snooker and nine-ball pool champion says that he has completely changed.
In an exclusive interview he told me, "I 'ave decided to stop acting as if the world revolves around me. I know it does, but I'll just stop finking about it," he said.
Donnie has spent the last two years trying to find himself in a Tibetan monastery, until they kicked him out for being too self-absorbed. He said, "It was great to get back to my wife and family. They missed me badly, of course."
Having played only one frame in two years, he believes that it will take at least a week before he is back on top form. Apparently, the monks begged him to teach them how to play snooker. His only reply to them was the enigmatic remark, "Become the ball." "I fink they took me too serious, cos they started painting their 'eads different colors."
Snooker fans cannot wait for Donnie's first match against Steve Quagmire. One starry-eyed supporter wants to see him repeat the maximum clearance he achieved in three and a half minutes in 2007. Others are hoping that he throws one of his tantrums. His perfectionism has caused him to behave quite oddly on previous occasions. For example, he once stormed out of a match with Steve Dendry, calling him a grumpy Scottish twit.
He has been working with his sports psychiatrist to eliminate the disappointment that he often feels with himself. I looked in on one of his training sessions where he had to miss the pots on purpose to become comfortable with a losing streak. He was obviously enjoying himself and remarked, "I'm almost as good as Steve Davis is at this."
Donnie's career has been turbulent. At ten years of age, he became the youngest world champion ever, he went through rehab for his coca-cola addiction in his twenties, and has now spent two years as a Tibetan monk. In April we will see if he is still the most gifted player the snooker world has ever seen.