The 1981 Benson & Hedges Masters was a professional non-ranking snooker tournament that took place from Tuesday 27 January to Sunday 1 February 1981 at the Wembley Conference Centre in London, England. The number of invited players had been raised to 12, which saw Steve Davis make his Masters debut and a rise in prize money. With the increase in the number of players the tournament was extended from 5 days to 6, with a Sunday finish.

Alex Higgins reached his fourth consecutive Masters final by defeating Cliff Thorburn 6–5 in the semi-finals, despite having trailed 1–5. There he reversed the result of the 1980 final against Terry Griffiths, who had himself made a dramatic recovery to beat John Spencer 6–5 in the semi-finals, after trailing 2–5 and needing two snookers in the eighth frame. Griffiths set a new tournament record break of 136 in the final. The tournament attracted 18,742 spectators in its six days, including a new British tournament record of 2,422 for the final session.

Main draw


Round 1
Best of 9 frames
Best of 9 frames
Best of 11 frames
Best of 17 frames
      Wales Terry Griffiths5 
 England Fred Davis5   England Fred Davis2 
 Canada Kirk Stevens4    Wales Terry Griffiths6 
       England John Spencer5 
      Wales Ray Reardon1 
 Northern Ireland Dennis Taylor2   England John Spencer5 
 England John Spencer5    Wales Terry Griffiths6
       Northern Ireland Alex Higgins9
      Northern Ireland Alex Higgins5 
 Australia Eddie Charlton0   Wales Doug Mountjoy1 
 Wales Doug Mountjoy5    Northern Ireland Alex Higgins6 
       Canada Cliff Thorburn5 
      Canada Cliff Thorburn5    
 South Africa Perrie Mans5   South Africa Perrie Mans4    
 England Steve Davis3 

Century breaks