|Picture by Monique Limbos|
Ronnie has always been strong-minded, never afraid to go against popular demand, but his decision to come return to the game for Sheffield is greeted with universal cheer.
Without Ronnie, this year's packed season has produced drama and quality; plenty of it. We've seen there is life after Ronnie, and he's not bigger than the sport. But the fact remains that he is still the single-biggest draw in the sport.
His inclusion at this year's World Championship adds a buzz only he can create. His participation will help snooker back into the media headlines and put a spring in the step of our biggest tournament.
Any tournament loses some of its magic without its defending champion, but snooker's grandest event without its biggest player would have been a cruel blow.
We don't have to worry about this now. O'Sullivan is back and the fans have got their man.
Ronnie returns in a position of luxury too. He has achieved greatness throughout his career time and time again on a snooker table. He has nothing left to prove. His doubters are as good as gone. Victory at the Crucible just under a year ago, when many had written him off, proved he was still the best around.
Lacking in match practice and without any notable competitive contest under his belt this season means he faces a big test on his return. Can he come back to claim a fifth world title? You can never say never with the genius.
Ronnie has always loved a big challenge and can be motivated by coming back with the chance to secure arguably his biggest ever triumph.
O'Sullivan has always been loved. Today he enhanced his romance with the fans further. Now he has the opportunity to achieve something truly special, even by his own tall standards.
Ronnie, it's great to have you back.