Phil Taylor has admitted that 2017 could prove to be the final year of his extraordinary darting career. The 16-time world champion has fallen to sixth on the PDC Order of Merit and needed a wildcard to make the cut for this year’s Premier League, and Taylor admits he could call time on his career within the next twelve months.
Taylor was speaking at the PDC’s annual awards dinner at the Dorchester Hotel on Wednesday evening, and he told Sky Sports New HQ: “It’s my last year so I don’t want to put myself under too much pressure. I don’t worry about it now. I go up there nice and relaxed.
If I win, I win. If I don’t it’s not the end of the world anymore. This is my last year competitive-wise; I think whatever I earn this year will then go towards my ranking and if that qualifies me for the year after, 2018, then I’ll play. If not then I’ll bow out,” Taylor added.
The 16-time world champion won the inaugural staging of the Champions League of Darts in September, which was the first PDC event to be broadcast live on the BBC. Taylor defeated Michael van Gerwen twice in two days to scoop the title and that subsequently saw him win the Televised Performance of the Year award last night.
Nevertheless, Taylor’s last major ranking title came back in July 2014, when he defeated Michael van Gerwen at the World Matchplay. He reached the final of the Premier League and World Matchplay last year, but he was comprehensively beaten by ‘The Green Machine’ on both occasions.
The Stoke-on-Trent star was also defeated by his old adversary Raymond van Barneveld in the World Championship quarter-finals last week and there were some suggestions that this would be Taylor’s last ever World Championship appearance.
However, Taylor rejected such speculation in the immediate aftermath of his defeat, confirming: “I’m not quitting. This has made me determined to work harder and improve and I will be back next year to give it another go. I’m disappointed of course because I know I can do better than that, but fair play to Raymond.”
Despite this, Taylor will be scaling down his Pro Tour commitments even further in 2017. The world number six competed in just three Players Championship events and one European Tour event last year, although he did prevail in his solitary European Tour appearance by winning the Austrian Darts Open.
Taylor admitted: ” I can’t chase the ranking points like these youngsters do now. It’s too much for me. I think it’s worse than golf. The Players Championships are played on a Tuesday and Wednesday, then its Thursday for the Premier League, and then you’ve got Friday, Saturday and Sunday most weekends, and tournaments besides that as well.”
Nevertheless, Taylor did confirm he’d still like to participate in the 2018 Premier League, if PDC Chairman Barry Hearn’s offer of a wildcard invitation remains open. The 56-year-old said: “In 2018 I’ll still do the Premier League if I’m invited. “It’s an invitational and Barry [Hearn] said: ‘If you want to do it, then you can do it’.”
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC