His most iconic 146 came against Barry Pinches in Cardiff when, after flawlessly potting 14 reds and 13 blacks, he suddenly switched to the pink ball to the dismay of the crowd. He went on to clear the table but passed up a £10,000 reward for a maximum.
Andy Goldstein tried to give him the benefit of the doubt on The Break, asking if the Rocket had no option but to play for the pink.
'She stripped and ran down!' - O'Sullivan on funniest moments in snooker
Watch The Snooker Vodcast every day at 2pm on Eurosport 1 and the Eurosport Player.
"I was always going to get a 146. Yeah, there was no way I was going to get a 147. No chance," said O’Sullivan.
"I didn’t even need to go round the table, I’d have just screwed it in with a little bit of side and been on the black. I think I’ve had three 146s now, which could have been maxes."
When asked whether he was bothered that he had skipped the chance to record more career maximums, O’Sullivan added: "Nah, don’t care."
#OnThisDay: Ronnie O’Sullivan’s record 147 from 1997
O’Sullivan also tried to skip a 147 at the 2010 World Open, with referee Jan Verhaas having to encourage him to pot the final black.
The 44-year-old had already asked what the prize was for a maximum – after potting just two balls in the frame.
"I knew it wasn’t a big prize, but then I also knew that if I was to say there should be a bigger prize for a 147, you get people going, 'Oh, you know, you’re ungrateful, you’re this, you’re that.'
"So I just thought, 'What’s the best way to illuminate it?] I thought, just go for the 147 and ask the ref what the prize is. Once he tells me it’s that, I go, 'Oh, alright, I’ve made a 140, that’ll do'. It just makes it much more of an interesting talking point."