Hendry to return to Snooker World Tour after eight-year retirement

Stephen Hendry retired as a seven-time world champion in 2012 Getty Images

Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry will make a return to the professional game eight years after retiring, with the Scot taking up an invitational tour card to compete on the World Snooker Tour for at least the next two seasons.

The 51-year-old announced his retirement in 2012 after bowing out of the world championship in the quarterfinals following a 13-2 thrashing by Stephen Maguire.

The World Snooker Tour confirmed in a statement that the Scot will join Jimmy White, Ken Doherty and James Wattana in being awarded an invitational tour card.

"I'm excited to have the opportunity to enter some tournaments over the coming two seasons," Hendry, who has won 36 ranking titles in his career, said.

Only Ronnie O'Sullivan, who won his 37th ranking crown at last month's world championship, has been more successful.

"I've always missed the buzz of competing and although I have no expectations in terms of performance, this felt like a good time to explore getting back to the table," Hendry added.

The first tournament that he will be eligible to play is the Sept. 21-27 European Masters.