Tony Drago

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Tony Drago
Tony Drago PHC 2012-1.jpg
Paul Hunter Classic 2012
Born (1965-09-22) 22 September 1965 (age 53)
Valletta, Malta
Sport country Malta
NicknameThe Tornado
Maltese Falcon[1]
The Boss
ProfessionalSnooker: 1985–2008; 2009–2016
Pool: 2000–2017
Highest ranking10 (1998/99)
Career winningsSnooker: £1,127,868[2]
Pool: 132,562.98
Highest break147:
2002 B&H Championship[3]
Century breaks132[4]
Best ranking finishRunner-up (1997 International Open)
Tournament wins
Minor-ranking1
Non-ranking1

Tony Drago (born 22 September 1965) is a Maltese former professional snooker and pool player. He reached the quarter finals of the World Snooker Championship in 1988. He won the 2003 World Pool Masters Tournament beating Hsia Hui-kai 8–6 and 2008 Predator International 10-ball Championship beating Francisco Bustamante 13–10.

Snooker career[edit]

Drago playing during the Swiss Open in 2005.

Drago's highest snooker world rankings position was number ten (in 1998). He has reached two major finals – the 1991 World Masters (losing to Jimmy White), and the 1997 International Open (his only ranking event final, and his first run past a quarter-final[5] beaten by Stephen Hendry). He reached the quarter-finals of the World Championship in 1988. He has appeared in the tournament 11 times more, most recently in 2004/2005, with five further last-sixteen runs. He lost to Matthew Stevens in three successive years – 8–13 in the last 16 in 1999, 2–10 in the 2000 first round, and 1–10 in the 2001 first round.

After failing to qualify for the 2004 World Championships, Drago entered a decline in snooker. He dropped out of the top 32 of the rankings a year later, and, after losing to Issara Kachaiwong in his opening qualifier for the 2008 World Championship, he dropped off the tour.[6]

In 2009, Drago won the EBSA International Open, which gave him the chance to return for the 2009/2010 season. He reached the third qualifying round of the Shanghai Masters, Grand Prix, and UK Championship. He then qualified for the Welsh Open, by defeating Simon Bedford (5–3), Peter Lines (5–2), Jimmy Michie (5–2), and Gerard Greene (5–2), where he played against Ryan Day in the first round, but he lost 4–5. In the China Open qualifying, Drago defeated Lee Page (5–2), John Parrott (5–2), Anthony Hamilton (5–4), and Stephen Lee (5–2), to qualify for the televised stages of the China Open. As a result of such a solid season, he got a place in the top 64 and finished 54th.

Drago playing at the Paul Hunter Classic 2012.

2010/2011 was again a good season for Drago, as he climbed 8 places to finish 46th in the rankings. However, the 2011/12 season was much worse, with only 4 qualifying wins to Drago's name. His best results were reaching the last 32 of several of the PTC events. After unexpectedly losing 7–10 to amateur Justin Astley in the 2012 World Snooker Championship qualifiers, Drago finished the season ranked 65th, not making it into the top 64 guaranteeing their place for the next season; however, he was given a wildcard for the next season as a European nomination, along with young Luca Brecel. Drago could not qualify for any of the ranking events during the 2012/2013 season.[7] He made headlines in his qualifying match against Alan McManus for the German Masters, when, upon being told he would be fined £250 for conceding the match early, he slapped himself in the face a number of times.[8] Drago finished the year ranked world number 82.[9]

His first match of the season was against Adam Duffy in the qualifying round for the 2013 Wuxi Classic; Drago lost the match 2–5. In the qualifying rounds for the 2013 Australian Goldfields Open, Drago defeated Christopher Keogan 5–2 and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 5–4, making a crucial 75 break in the deciding frame. In the third qualifying round, Drago was trailing Tian Pengfei 1–3, before winning four consecutive frames, including a 111 break, to win the match 5–3; however, he lost in the final qualifying round 3–5 to Ryan Day, despite leading 2–0 and 3–2.

Drago lost his place on the tour at the end of the 2015/16 season and he failed to qualify for the main tour in that season's Q School.

Pool career[edit]

Drago's first major pool win was the 2003 World Pool Masters, which came just a few weeks after a run to the semi-finals of that year's World Pool Championship

Drago was member of the winning European team at the 2007 and 2008 Mosconi Cup. At 2007 in Las Vegas, Drago won all of his single matches which earned him the Most Valuable Player Award.

In 2008, Drago won the Predator International 10-ball Championship, beating Francisco Bustamante 13–10.

Accomplishments[edit]

Drago is well known for the speed of his play, and holds a number of records resulting from this. In 1993 he recorded the fastest ever best-of-9-frames snooker victory by beating Sean Lanigan in just thirty-four minutes at the 2nd leg of the Strachan Challenge.[10] He also holds the record for the fastest best-of-17 match, beating Joe O'Boye 9–0 in 81 minutes at the 1990 UK Championship.[11] Conversely, he lost 4–13 against Ronnie O'Sullivan in the second round in 1996 in just 167 minutes and 33 seconds, an all-time Crucible record and less than 9 minutes per frame. In the 1996 UK Championship he made a century break in just three minutes and thirty-one seconds against John Higgins.[10] In the third round of the Fidelity Unit Trusts International he won the fifth frame 62–0 in just 3 minutes.[12] In 1995, he made a break of 149 in practice against Nick Manning in a snooker club in West Norwood, London. Drago was left snookered after a foul and potted the brown as a free ball and again as the colour, before potting the fifteen reds with thirteen blacks, a pink and a blue, and all the colours.[13]

Playing style[edit]

His combination of exceptionally fast play and emotional temperament has made him a popular character in snooker, although he was famously criticised by Steve Davis for hurling his cue at the table and storming out of the arena following his 1–5 quarterfinal defeat to Mark Bennett in the 1996 Grand Prix, with Drago later accusing his opponent of bad sportsmanship, because the latter had twice in the match suggested that Drago missed the object ball deliberately while snookered. Similarly, he became visibly angry with Peter Ebdon during their second round match in the 2003 World Championship, in which Ebdon repeatedly left the arena between frames. Drago took this as an attempt to disrupt the flow of his game, but apologised publicly when he later found out that Ebdon had been ill during the match.

Drago is known for his consistently high-speed play, similar to pool players Lou Butera of the United States and Luc Salvas of Canada, or snooker's Ronnie O'Sullivan. His style has earned him the nickname "the Tornado" and in more recent times has been known among the pool community as the "Maltese Whippet" (due to another player using the Tornado nickname in pool).

Currently Drago plays with a John Parris cue.

Performance and rankings timeline[edit]

Tournament 1985/
86
1986/
87
1987/
88
1988/
89
1989/
90
1990/
91
1991/
92
1992/
93
1993/
94
1994/
95
1995/
96
1996/
97
1997/
98
1998/
99
1999/
00
2000/
01
2001/
02
2002/
03
2003/
04
2004/
05
2005/
06
2006/
07
2007/
08
2008/
09
2009/
10
2010/
11
2011/
12
2012/
13
2013/
14
2014/
15
2015/
16
Ranking[14][nb 1] [nb 2] 37 32 20 30 30 22 24 20 16 14 15 11 10 20 26 29 28 24 22 36 51 68 [nb 3] [nb 2] 54 46 [nb 4] 81 [nb 5] 81
Ranking tournaments
Australian Goldfields Open[nb 6] Non-Ranking Event NH 1R Tournament Not Held Non-Rank. Tournament Not Held LQ LQ LQ A A
Shanghai Masters Tournament Not Held 1R A LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ
International Championship Tournament Not Held LQ LQ A A
UK Championship 2R QF 1R 1R 2R 2R QF 2R 3R 2R 2R 3R 2R 1R 2R 2R 3R 2R 2R 1R LQ LQ LQ A LQ LQ LQ LQ 1R 2R 1R
German Masters[nb 7] Tournament Not Held 2R 2R QF NR Tournament Not Held LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ
Welsh Open Tournament Not Held 1R 3R 2R 2R 2R 3R 1R 1R 2R LQ 1R 2R 1R 1R LQ LQ LQ A LQ LQ LQ LQ 1R 1R 1R
World Grand Prix Tournament Not Held NR DNQ
Players Championship Finals[nb 8] Tournament Not Held DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ
China Open[nb 9] Tournament Not Held NR 1R LQ LQ 1R Not Held LQ LQ LQ LQ A 1R LQ LQ LQ WD A A
World Championship LQ LQ QF LQ 1R LQ 1R 1R LQ 2R 2R 1R 2R 2R 1R 1R LQ 2R LQ 1R LQ LQ LQ A LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ
Non-ranking tournaments
The Masters A A A A A LQ LQ LQ LQ WR 1R WR 1R QF LQ A LQ LQ A A LQ A A A A A A A A A A
World Seniors Championship Tournament Not Held A Tournament Not Held LQ 1R 1R 1R LQ 1R
Former ranking tournaments
Canadian Masters Non-Ranking LQ Tournament Not Held
Classic LQ LQ 2R 2R 3R QF 1R Tournament Not Held
Strachan Open Tournament Not Held 2R Tournament Not Held
Dubai Classic[nb 10] Not Held NR 3R 2R 1R 1R LQ 2R 2R QF Tournament Not Held
Malta Grand Prix Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event LQ NR Tournament Not Held
Thailand Masters[nb 11] NR Not Held 3R 2R 3R 1R QF QF 1R 1R 2R 1R LQ LQ 1R NR Not Held NR Tournament Not Held
Scottish Open[nb 12] LQ 2R 1R 2R 2R Not Held 1R 3R 2R 3R F 1R 2R 1R 1R 2R 1R 1R Tournament Not Held MR Not Held
British Open 1R 1R 1R 2R 2R 3R 3R QF QF 1R 1R QF 2R 1R 1R 2R 1R 2R 3R 1R Tournament Not Held
Irish Masters Non-Ranking Event LQ 1R 1R NH NR Tournament Not Held
Malta Cup[nb 13] Not Held 1R 1R 1R 1R 3R 2R 2R QF 2R NH SF Not Held LQ 1R SF LQ LQ LQ NR Tournament Not Held
Northern Ireland Trophy Tournament Not Held NR 1R LQ A Tournament Not Held
World Open[nb 14] 3R 2R 3R 2R 1R 2R 1R 1R 1R 2R 2R QF 3R 1R 3R 2R 1R 2R 1R 2R 1R LQ LQ A LQ LQ LQ LQ LQ Not Held
Wuxi Classic[nb 15] Tournament Not Held Non-Ranking Event LQ LQ 1R NH
Former non-ranking tournaments
Matchroom League NH A A A A A RR A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A Not Held
Charity Challenge Tournament Not Held 1R 1R A 1R A A A A Tournament Not Held
Irish Masters A A A A A A A A A A A A 1R A A A A Ranking Event A Tournament Not Held
German Masters[nb 16] Tournament Not Held Ranking SF Tournament Not Held Ranking Event
Malta Grand Prix Tournament Not Held F QF F SF QF R RR Tournament Not Held
Scottish Masters A A A A A A A A A A A LQ LQ A A LQ LQ Tournament Not Held
Malta Cup[nb 13] Not Held Ranking Event NH R Not Held Ranking Event RR Tournament Not Held
Shoot-Out Tournament Not Held 2R Tournament Not Held 2R 2R A A A A
Performance Table Legend
LQ lost in the qualifying draw #R lost in the early rounds of the tournament
(WR = Wildcard round, RR = Round robin)
QF lost in the quarter-finals
SF lost in the semi-finals F lost in the final W won the tournament
DNQ did not qualify for the tournament A did not participate in the tournament WD withdrew from the tournament
NH / Not Held means an event was not held.
NR / Non-Ranking Event means an event is/was no longer a ranking event.
R / Ranking Event means an event is/was a ranking event.
RV / Ranking & Variant Format Event means an event is/was a ranking & variant format event.
MR / Minor-Ranking Event means an event is/was a minor-ranking event.
PA / Pro-am Event means an event is/was a pro-am event.
VF / Variant Format Event means an event is/was a variant format event.
  1. ^ From the 2010/2011 season it shows the ranking at the beginning of the season.
  2. ^ a b New players on the Main Tour do not have a ranking.
  3. ^ He was an amateur.
  4. ^ Players qualified through European nomination started the season without ranking points.
  5. ^ Players qualified through European Tour Order of Merit started the season without prize money ranking points.
  6. ^ The event previously ran under different names as the Australian Open (1994/1995) and Australian Masters (1995/1996)
  7. ^ The event run under different name as German Open (1995/1996–1997/1998)
  8. ^ The event run under different name as Players Tour Championship Grand Finals (2010/2011–2012/2013) and Players Championship Grand Final (2013/2014–2015/2016)
  9. ^ The event run under different name as China International (1997/1998–1998/1999)
  10. ^ The event run under different names as Dubai Masters (1988/1989), Thailand Classic (1995/1996) and Asian Classic (1996/1997)
  11. ^ The event ran under different names such as Asian Open (1989/1990 to 1992/1993) and Thailand Open (1993/1994 to 1996/1997).
  12. ^ The event previously ran under different names as the Goya Matchroom Trophy (1985/1986), International Open (1986/1987 to 1996/1997) and Players Championship (2003/2004).
  13. ^ a b The event previously ran under different names as the European Open (1989/1990–1996/1997 & 2001/2002–2003/2004) and the Irish Open (1998/1999)
  14. ^ The event previously ran under different names as the Grand Prix (1985/1986–2000/2001 and 2004/2005–2009/2010), LG Cup (2001/2002–2003/2004), the World Open (2010/2011) and the Haikou World Open (2011/2012–2013/2014)
  15. ^ The event previously ran under a different name as the Jiangsu Classic (2008/2009–2009/2010)
  16. ^ The event run under different name as German Open (1995/1996–1997/1998)

Career finals[edit]

Ranking finals: 1 (1 runner-up)[edit]

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 1997 International Open Scotland Stephen Hendry 1–9

Minor-ranking finals: 1 (1 title)[edit]

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 1993 Strachan Challenge – Event 3 Republic of Ireland Ken Doherty 9–7

Non-ranking finals: 7 (1 title, 6 runners-up)[edit]

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 1989 Pontins Professional Wales Darren Morgan 2–9
Runner-up 2. 1991 World Masters England Jimmy White 6–10
Runner-up 3. 1993 European Challenge Scotland Stephen Hendry 3–5
Runner-up 4. 1994 Malta Grand Prix England John Parrott 6–7
Runner-up 5. 1995 WPBSA Minor Tour – Event 5 England David Roe 3–6
Winner 1. 1996 Guangzhou Masters England Steve Davis 6–2
Runner-up 6. 1996 Malta Grand Prix (2) England Nigel Bond 3–7

Team finals: 1 (1 runner-up)[edit]

Outcome No. Year Championship Team/partner Opponent(s) in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 1989 World Cup Rest of the World  England 8–9

Pro-am finals: 5 (3 titles, 2 runners-up)[edit]

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 2012 3 Kings Open Belgium Bjorn Haneveer 5–3
Runner-up 1. 2013 3 Kings Open England Stephen Lee 4–5
Runner-up 2. 2014 3 Kings Open (2) Belgium Luca Brecel 4–5
Winner 2. 2015 3 Kings Open (2) Belgium Luca Brecel 5–4
Winner 3. 2016 3 Kings Open (3) Malta Brian Cini 5–1

Amateur finals: 3 (2 titles, 1 runner-up)[edit]

Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Winner 1. 1984 Malta Amateur Championship Malta Alf Micallef 7–3
Runner-up 1. 1985 Malta Amateur Championship Malta Paul Mifsud 1–7
Winner 2. 2009 EBSA International Open Netherlands Roy Stolk 5–4

Pool tournament wins[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Watkins, Janie E, (4 August 2010). "Maltese Falcon flies high in Shanghai Masters qualifiers". Times of Malta. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  2. ^ "Career-total Statistics for Tony Drago - Professional". CueTracker Snooker Results & Statistics Database. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Tony Drago". World Snooker. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  4. ^ "Centuries". Pro Snooker Blog. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  5. ^ Snooker.org: International Open 1997
  6. ^ World Snooker News – 888.com World Snooker Championship Qualifying – DRAGO DENIED
  7. ^ "Tony Drago 2012/2013". Snooker.org. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  8. ^ "Tony Drago attacks himself after defeat". Eurosport. Archived from the original on 30 June 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  9. ^ "Official World Snooker Ranking List For The 2013/2014 Season" (PDF). World Snooker. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  10. ^ a b "Chris Turner's SNOOKER ARCHIVE – Records". 2008. Archived from the original on 10 February 2013. Retrieved 2008-08-12.
  11. ^ "Top Trump". snookerscene.blogspot.com. 14 November 2006. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
  12. ^ "On this week: Fastest frame". Eurosport. 31 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-09.
  13. ^ "The tide turns at St Helen's". London: The Independent. 15 June 1995. Archived from the original on 22 December 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  14. ^ "Ranking History". Snooker.org. Retrieved 7 November 2017.

External links[edit]