God told me to give up snooker - Ronnie O'Sullivan

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Ronnie O'Sullivan says he no longer feels "trapped in a prison" after deciding that snooker is now a hobby after "conversations with God".

After cruising to a 6-0 first-round win over Boonyarit Keattikun at the UK Championship in York, O'Sullivan revealed that he had spoken with God, who told the 40-year-old to give up the sport and concentrate on his new role as a pundit.

O'Sullivan said: "This is like a bit of a hobby. Getting my cue out is a bit of a pleasure whereas before, when that's all I had to do, I felt I was trapped in a prison. Now I feel like it's a bit exciting and I treat it as a bit of fun.

"My proper job is my punditry and doing all my other bits -- that's my salary but this is a bit of a bonus now."

Hours before the match, O'Sullivan tweeted that God told him to give up the sport.

But the five-time world champion later had a positive response for his fans.

He said: "I have conversations with God and he said to me, 'Jack snooker in mate, you're better off as a pundit' and I was like, 'Hold on, we will have to have a proper conversation about that'.

"It's not my last tournament until God puts his foot down, he is the boss and I don't want to take liberties with him."

The Essex potter is not a fan of the Barbican Centre's four-table layout but was satisfied with his opening performance.

"I played all right," O'Sullivan said. "I wasn't too sure what this guy was like -- he looked good at the start but missed a couple of balls.

"It's a bit of a weird setup so I'll try not to get too serious about the tournament unless I can get to the two-table setup."

Elsewhere, Mark King, who won last week's Northern Ireland Open, was docked a frame after forgetting his cue following the interval and arriving back late as he crashed to a 6-2 defeat to Sam Craigie.

No such problems for world No. 6 Shaun Murphy, who recovered from 3-1 down to beat Itaro Santos 6-3, while three-time champion John Higgins saw off Alex Borg by the same scoreline. Last year's runner-up, Liang Wenbo, scored two century breaks in his 6-1 victory over Australian Kurt Dunham.

PA Sport contributed to this report.