As 16-time World Champion Phil Taylor turns 55 today, Josh’s Dartistry reflects on some of Taylor’s best victories and most memorable darting moments.
First Ever Televised 9-Darter vs Chris Mason
(Via Sky Sports)
Taylor’s 9-darter in his 2002 World Matchplay quarter-final tie against Chris Mason is one of the most iconic moments in televised darts history. It was the first live televised 9-darter on British Television, which earned Taylor an incredible £100,000. Mason’s obvious joy for his opponent simply added to the spectacle. The Power has achieved the feat a record 10 times, however this will undoubtedly go down as one of the sweetest.
Taylor hits Two-9 Darters in PL Final Victory over Wade
I am convinced that any Darts fans who witnessed this incredible Premier League final won’t forget it in a hurry. The 2010 final was originally scheduled for the 23rd of May, but due to a power-cut, it was rescheduled for the following day. Ironically, another Tungsten power-cut occurred at Wembley, but this time in welcome circumstances!
Phil Taylor produced an unprecedented feat that may never be repeated; hitting two 9-darters in one match! Taylor hit his first nine-darter in the second leg, producing a brilliant 147 finish to send the crowd wild, but his second perfect leg of the evening was incredible.
The collective silence of the crowd as they urged the final three darts in was met with rapturous cheers as he edged closer to making history. Sid Waddell’s typically inventive and animated commentary was the perfect foil for Taylor’s majestic performance. James Wade also contributed to a classic contest; as the Power only narrowly prevailed 10-8.
The Stoke-on-Trent veteran flirted with a third nine-darter, immediately after nailing his second perfect leg. He hit seven perfect darts, before his eighth dart at T17 missed by some margin. Almost incomprehensibly, we were all shocked that Taylor didn’t hit his third nine-darter of the match! That just demonstrates the immense quality he produces with such unerring regularity.
Phil Taylor 7-1 Raymond van Barneveld- 2009 World Championship Final
(Via Kenzo Fernandes)
After their clash at the 2007 World Championship final, which still remains a firm contender for the greatest game of all time, the 2009 World Championship final between Taylor and van Barneveld was fiercely anticipated. The vast majority expected a similarly absorbing tussle, although Taylor delivered an astonishing 111 average in decimating the legendary Dutchman, who did very little wrong himself, averaging a more than respectable 102.
Van Barneveld summed up Taylor’s staggering level of performance in rather humorous fashion in the post-match interview. “I played a computer on level 1,” he joked with Dave Clark, but his humorous assessment had some credence; whilst Taylor was at his merciless best, you still felt he was capable of going through the gears further.
Taylor continues Matchplay streak with MvG Massacre
Phil Taylor’s 2014 World Matchplay final victory against Michael van Gerwen has to go down as one of Taylor’s most satisfying tournament victories in recent memory. After an uncharacteristically ordinary Premier League campaign by his exceptionally high standards, people were questioning whether Taylor was capable of maintaining a consistent challenge for the top honours. However, his response at the Winter Gardens was emphatic. He edged out Gary Anderson in an epic semi-final, before thrashing World Number 1 van Gerwen 18-9 in the curtain-raiser. Taylor’s victory reduced van Gerwen to tears, as the Power underlined that he was still a force to be reckoned with.
Taylor Brushes off The Artist with World-Record Average
Poor old Kevin Painter! The Artist is often renowned for bemoaning his bad luck, but he had due justification on this occasion, as Phil Taylor whitewashed Painter 9-0 in the 2010 UK Open, producing a TV world-record average of 118.66 in the process!
The likes of Anderson, van Gerwen, Lewis and van Barneveld are all capable of producing similarly inspired bursts of form, but what separates Taylor from the other mere mortals is his ability to maintain such brilliance over a sustained period of play.
This consistency has been integral to his longevity and on this occasion, Taylor was at his relentless best. Although this wasn’t really a contest, you can only watch and admire the 16-time World Champion’s undeniable class.
Taylor beats Lewis in Grand Slam Epic
Via Professional Darts Corporation
Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis’s Grand Slam Semi-Final in 2013 is another legitimate contender for the best match in PDC history. The Stoke duo shared 32 180’s between them, which is an absolutely ludicrous figure! The astronomical standard caused Wayne Mardle to burst out laughing in sheer astonishment. They both ended on 110 averages and the only disappointing factor was that one man had to lose.
Unfortunately for Jackpot, he suffered a 16-9 defeat, as Taylor reeled off eight successive legs midway through the contest. Taylor won the tournament later that evening, defeating Robert Thornton in the final. Twelve months on, the Power stated: “The game against Lewis was the best game ever. I would definitely say that’s the best game we’ve ever seen on TV.”
Protégé beats Mentor in 1997 Semi-Final Classic
Phil Taylor’s 1997 World Championship Semi-Final clash with Eric Bristow was an absolutely captivating spectacle. It was a case of mentor vs protégé; although Taylor was favourite to beat the ‘Crafty Cockney’. Bristow suffered with dartitis in 1986, but 11 years on, he was still competing with the elite of the sport, which was testament to his mental fortitude.
However, Taylor managed to scrape through 5-4 in an epic battle. Bristow was visibly devastated to lose and although there was a lack of post-match pleasantries, there was a great deal of respect between the pair, and an acknowledgement of their respective accomplishments.
Ironically, Taylor equalled Bristow’s haul of 5 World titles when he defeated Dennis Priestley in the final, to confirm his status as the main man in the darting world. Since then, the domination he has enjoyed has been nothing short of remarkable. Love him or loathe him, there will never be another Phil Taylor.