It’s not often that Australia, New Zealand and Vanuatu play host to the final moments in the glittering career of a 16-time World Champion, but that’s exactly how the career of Phil Taylor will pan out with the man affectionately known as ‘the Power’ choosing to end his stellar, trophy-laden career down under as part of a tour through the three countries.
A career defined by success
The 16-time World Championship winner also boasts 16 World Matchplay titles, 11 World Grand Prix crowns, 6 Grand Slam wins, 6 Premier League titles, 4 Championship League wins, 5 Desert Classic triumphs, 4 European Championships, 5 UK Open wins, 3 Players Championship Finals, a 2013 Masters win and a 2016 Champions League success amongst handfuls of other trophies and triumphs across a career that spanned from 1987 and the humble days of the BDO to the foundation of Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) in 1993 and, of course, the modern day, where the great man has remained a relevant and successful competitor on the grandest stages the sport has to offer.
Taylor, twice nominated for the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, in 2006 and 2010, will bring down the curtain on his stunning career across venues including the West Point Casino in Hobart in mid-January, as well as the Gold Coast, Vanuatu, Townsville, Mackay and Wellington, New Zealand.
The news comes as a huge boost to the sport here in Australia, with the local darts community a vibrant and growing one which feeds off the easy accessibility of the sport at the highest levels through frequent tournaments and tours as well as quality television coverage and great work from local media such as Darts Down Under, who are at the coal face of promoting the sport across the country.
Local darts enthusiast and one of the key guys at Darts Down Under, Micky Brock, often better known for his football writing work and love of red wine during the winter months, said that Phil Taylor finishing in Australia is a “terrific opportunity for everyone down here to play the big boys on the big stage,” while also quickly pointing out Taylor’s consistent success on Australian shores, with the Burslem native claiming seven out of nine titles down under.
“With Phil in his retirement year, he has shown he has still got it when he took out the inaugural Melbourne title. He’s a true champion and a true gentleman.”
“You watch the sport on the tv and you see these stars and the crowds and you get in to it, having that down here (in front of Australian audiences) can only be a good thing. It can only help darts. It gives the local players the chance to play on the big stage in front of millions around the world and that can only bring darts forward in Australia and New Zealand.”
“It’s like a big party comes to town. Everyone dresses up and it’s all fun.”
Darts Down Under
When pressed on the health of the game in Australia, Brock pointed to Corey Cadby as the shining light down under, but was also quick to rattle off a number of young Aussie and Kiwi players capable of making the leap on the big stage.
“Obviously Cadyby is the shining light right now, but you’ve got other guys like Rhys Mathewson, Lucas Cameron and Codey Harris over in New Zealand. All these guys are coming through and their game is only going to get better competing against the best players on the biggest stage.”
While there are plenty of young players rising through the ranks of Australian darts looking to be tomorrow’s superstars, the reality is, the greatest player to have ever thrown a dart is drawing his stunning career to a close and the opportunity for local crowds to get out and see him, perhaps for the first time ever, is too good to pass up.
On Taylor, Brock said he’s an unbelievable talent.
“We’ll never see the likes of Taylor again. He’s the greatest player to pick up a dart and humble the oche. He’s also a true gentleman. Phil Taylor is the trail blazer who originally set the bar. Once he’d set the bar, and others caught up, he raised it again.”
Players like Michael van Gerwen who win more often than not, I don’t think, even if he played another 20 years, he’d catch up to what Phil Taylor has done. You have to go outside the sport for comparisons.Football clubs like Manchester United who have won 20 league titles, that’s the sort of player Taylor is.”
To get more of Micky Brock’s takes on Phil Taylor, Corey Cadby and the sport of darts, make sure you tune in to 2SSR 99.7fm radio via the web on Monday’s Shire Drive with Stuart Jones each week here.
Additionally, you can keep up to date with all things Darts Down Under on their Facebook page here.
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