Not the first time to pull out of an international event, O'Sullivan withdrew from the Shanghai Masters last year as the defending champion and then from the inaugural German Masters earlier this year.
According to sources on World Snooker, Ronnie had already made the connecting flight to Bangkok but having suffered from neck and back problems on the plane he has decided to return to the UK for medical treatment rather than taking the flight to Australia.
I'm sure if Ronnie had no intent in playing in the event then he probably wouldn't have have attempted to get to Australia in the first place. The 20-odd hour flight from England to Bangkok is a stern test for anyone's patience and their back but having already suffered from neck and back problems in the last few years then the flight couldnt of helped him much.
It is of course though incredibly dissappointing for the fans that don't get to see him play live as Ronnie is one of the biggest draws in Snooker and it can't help his reputation much especially after just winning PTC1. It probably wont be as bad though as when he pulled out the German Masters as he was on the front page of a magazine and many posters in Berlin!
Graeme Dott also withdrew from the event last week citing neck problems. It is the first time in a few years that Graeme has been forced to withdraw from a major event but he has had his share of medical problems in recent times also. At least he made the effort to play in the Wuxi Classic last week but if he cannot feel he can perform at his best in Australia then it is not worth travelling over for him.
The Australian Goldfields Open starts on Monday and will be televised by the good people at EuroSport throughout. Following the withdrawal of Ronnie, the wildcard Steve Mifsud will recieve a bye to face Dominic Dale in the last 32. As Graeme withdrew the winner of the wildcard match between Dave Gilbert and James Mifsud will recieve a bye to the last 16 to face either Mark Williams or Barry Pinches.