PHIL TAYLOR is about to embark on an Elton John-style Farewell Tour as he announces plans to stop throwing competitive darts.
The Power is the most successful player in the sport’s long history but has decided he only wants to keep competing for another 12 months.Phil Taylor is retiring from competitive darts[/caption] Phil Taylor won his first world title in 1995[/caption]
Rock legend John, 76, travelled the world over a span of four years, playing his greatest hits to sell-out crowds, until retiring this summer following a goodbye tour that consisted of more than 300 shows.
But the finale of a stellar 46-year career, one that began in the smoky pubs of Stoke, will be the World Masters in Sunderland next November.
The sixteen-time world darts champion says that a failure to perform against the OAPs of the oche in recent years has been behind this decision.
He explained: “It’s hard work now at my age. My grandson Matthew doesn’t want me to retire. He wants me to carry on forever.
“But I said we’re going to set a date at the end of 2024 and I’m going to retire then from competition darts.
“When you aren’t performing like you can do, it breaks your heart.
“At one tournament, people were saying things in the crowd like: ‘Come on Phil.’ They had paid money to come and see you, and you are trying so hard.
A GLITTERING CAREER
Phil Taylor quit his day job in the ceramic industry to become a full-time darts player in 1987 and went on to establish himself as a legend of the sport.
He dominated darts for over two decades, winning 214 professional tournaments – including 85 major titles and a record 16 World Championships.
The Power won his first World Championship in 1990, three years after becoming a professional player, and clinched his second two years later.
He then won eight consecutive world titles from 1995 to 2002.
Among his incredible list of accolades are 16 World Matchplay titles, 11 World Grand Prix titles, five UK Open titles, four European Championship titles and six Grand Slam titles.
Taylor also won six Premier League titles, four Championship League titles, five Desert Classic titles. two US Open titles, a UK Masters title and a World Masters title.
His incredible achievements saw him nominated for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 2006 and 2010, finishing as runner-up in the latter year.
Taylor won his last World Championship in 2013 and now, 10 years on, he is about to embark on his farewell tour.
“There was no sarcasm involved. Nobody was nasty. They were lovely in fact. But they wanted me to win and I was trying my hardest.”
Darts fans will be well-advised to book their tickets now to make sure they catch a glimpse of Taylor at least once more in competition.
Taylor – who intends to be involved in exhibitions well into his 60s – will look to leave with silverware at the Jennings Bet World Seniors Darts Championship in February,
This will be staged at the Circus Tavern in Essex, where he won 11 of his 16 world titles.
After that, he will play the Jennings Bet WSDT Champion of Champions in Blackpool in March and the World Matchplay in York in October.
Asked how he will feel once it is all finally done in 12 months’ time, Taylor replied: “There will be relief.
“It’ll be strange that you aren’t professional anymore. I want to go out with a bang.
“There will be other things I’ll be doing with my life. I won’t be putting on my slippers and pipe.He is planning to continue playing in exhibitions[/caption] Phil Taylor celebrates a world title in 2010[/caption] Sun man Andy Dillon toasts Phil Taylor back in 2000[/caption]
“I’ll be a big part of the Seniors Tour as an ambassador.
“You do things that you regret in your life, things you could change if you had your time back again.
“But as far as my career is concerned, myself, Eric Bristow and John Lowe, we put darts back on the map.
“We gave these lads the chance to be multi-millionaires, which some of them are now.
“It has been a good journey. But it’s time now. I will be 65 in 2025. This decision is both a physical and mental one.
“How will I feel at the end? I’ll be happy. Unless – and it is a big unless – my new Target darts see me click and then I’m not retiring!
“If I start throwing nine-darters in every leg next year, then you will have to drag me away!”
Phil Taylor has been signed to Target Darts for the past ten years.
You can explore Target’s entire Phil Taylor range, as well as a number of excellent Black Friday offers, at www.target-darts.co.uk