Higgins won the World Championship memorably in 1998, beating defending champion Ken Doherty 18-12. In the 1998 Snooker World Rankings, the World Championship win put him to Number 1, ahead of Stephen Hendry, at the time a 6-time World Champion who had held the World Number 1 spot for 8 seasons. He became only the third ever Scottish World Champion, succeeding Hendry and Walter Donaldson in 1947 and 1950.
Higgins won the first three ranking events in the 1999 season, and was expected to dominate in the way that Hendry had before him. However, he became a father during that season, and he was unable to maintain his standard. Given free reign to concentrate on snooker by his wife in 2006, Higgins came back to prominence in 2007, winning both The Masters and the World Championship for the second time. He led Mark Selby 12-4 overnight, but Selby faught back to 12-10, and then back to 14-13. In the latest ever finish to a Final at The Crucible Theatre, Higgins won the last four frames to win 18-13. The match ended at 1:30 in the morning. This propelled him back to Number 1 in the 2007 Snooker World Rankings.
Higgins, 32, was "stunned" by the offer, but overall was delighted that snooker is getting recognition. He joked "Some people that have won MBEs have gone downhill a little bit afterwards; I don't know if they think I'm going downhill!"
Higgins certainly will hope to remain at the forefront of the game for many years to come.