O’Sullivan could still scoop £2,000 for the highest break at the tournament hosted by the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, but caused controversy by opting against compiling a 14th competitive maximum of his career.
Masters champion O'Sullivan had made 80 during his match-winning break in the fifth frame of his 4-1 win over world number 82 Barry Pinches in the first round when he asked the referee what the prize was for the highest break. He appeared to give a rueful smile when he learned the maximum total on offer was £12,000 (£10,000 for the maximum and £2,000 for the highest break).
Ronnie O'Sullivan turns down 147 in protest
"I could have done it, but I didn't think the prize was worthy of a 147. So I've tried to let it build up until it's worthy and then go for it," he said.
It's like going into a Mercedes garage and when they say that you can have the car for £3,000, you reply, 'No way, that's too cheap. I'm not buying it for that.
"Certain things have value, and a 147 is a special moment. I want it to feel special all round," he told the BBC.
"But the punters still got value for money today. Now they've got something more to look forward to. There's still room for improvement.
"You like to entertain your fans. It's like a film. You want them to come back and watch the next one."
O’Sullivan and Pinches shared the first two frames before ‘The Rocket’ sealed the third on the black.
A clearance of 64 saw O’Sullivan open up a 3-1 advantage, and the five-times world champion got his hand on the table first in what turned out to be the final frame of the match.
Faced with the penultimate red – and still on for a perfect score – O'Sullivan selected to play for the pink rather than manoeuvre the cue ball towards the black.
It prompted a few murmurs in the crowd and a few boos at the end, with O’Sullivan smirking as he duly cleared the rest of the table for a 146.
It predictably provoked a response on social media:
And while some suggested the money could have been donated to charity, it is unlikely his antics will prompt a rethink from snooker's rule makers, who were forced to make the maximum a rolling prize because it became too costly to insure against them such was the regularity of maximums being made in the sport.
Neil Robertson rolled in the last televised 147 earning £44,000 at the UK Championship in December with the prize money dropping back to £10,000, a rolling prize that increases by £5,000 at each ranking tournament without a maximum break.
O'Sullivan had to be encouraged to pot the final black by referee Jan Verhaas to make a 147 break against Mark King at the World Open back in 2010 after a similar incident when asking the referee about the prize on offer for a maximum.
O'Sullivan will face Tian Pengfei or Ashley Hugill in the last 64.
First round results
Stephen Maguire (Sco) 3-4 Martin O'Donnell (Eng)
Robbie Williams (Eng) 4-3 Luke Simmonds (Eng)
Fergal O'Brien (Ire) 4-3 Noppon Saengkham (Tha)
Gary Wilson (Eng) 4-1 Jimmy White (Eng)
Tom Ford (Eng) 4-1 Jason Weston (Eng)
Mike Dunn (Eng) 4-3 Chris Wakelin (Eng)
Xiao Guodong (Chn) 1-4 James Cahill (Eng)
Mark King (Eng) 4-0 Scott Donaldson (Sco)
Mark Davis (Eng) 4-2 Zhao Xintong (Chn)
Barry Hawkins (Eng) 4-2 Lee Walker (Wal)
Ross Muir (Sco) w/o Jamie Burnett (Sco)
Marco Fu (HK) 4-0 Joel Walker (Eng)
Mark Selby (Eng) 4-0 Duane Jones (Wal)
Sam Baird (Eng) 4-2 Thor Chuan Leong (Mas)
Gerard Greene (NI) 3-4 Sydney Wilson (Eng)
Peter Ebdon (Eng) 4-0 Zhang Anda (Chn)
Matthew Selt (Eng) 4-0 Nigel Bond (Eng)
David Grace (Eng) 2-4 Peter Lines (Eng)
Graeme Dott (Sco) 4-1 Darryl Hill (Iom)
Ding Junhui (Chn) 4-1 Steven Hallworth (Eng)
Zhou Yuelong (Chn) 2-4 Mitchell Mann (Eng)
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (Tha) 4-2 Paul S Davison (Eng)
Anthony McGill (Sco) 4-3 Liam Highfield (Eng)
Ronnie O'Sullivan (Eng) 4-1 Barry Pinches (Eng)
Joe Swail (NI) 4-1 Zak Surety (Eng)
Jamie Jones (Wal) 0-4 Michael Georgiou (Eng)
Andrew Higginson (Eng) 2-4 Daniel Wells (Wal)
Robin Hull (Fin) 4-2 Hossein Vafasei Ayouri (Irn)
Liang Wenbo (Chn) 4-0 Hatem Yassen (Egy)
Luca Brecel (Bel) 4-3 Ian Burns (Eng)
Michael White (Wal) 4-3 Joe O'Connor (Eng)
Kurt Maflin (Nor) 4-3 Hammad Miah (Eng)
Rod Lawler (Eng) 4-3 Sanderson Lam (Eng)
Kyren Wilson (Eng) 3-4 Leo Fernandez (Ire)
Ricky Walden (Eng) 4-3 James Wattana (Tha)
Ali Carter (Eng) 4-1 Cao Yupeng (Chn)
Jack Lisowski (Eng) 4-2 Eden Sharav (Sco)
Mark Allen (NI) 4-0 Sam Craigie (Eng)
Mark Williams (Wal) 4-3 Lyu Chenwei (Chn)
Ryan Day (Wal) 4-0 Vinnie Calabrese (Aus)
Jimmy Robertson (Eng) 4-3 Michael Wild (Eng)
Mark Joyce (Eng) 4-0 Gareth Allen (Wal)
Robert Milkins (Eng) 4-3 Sean O'Sullivan (Eng)
Yu De Lu (Chn) 4-3 Ian Glover (Eng)