Phil Taylor has finally put an end to speculation surrounding his future by announcing that he will retire from darts after the 2018 PDC World Championship. The 16-time world champion has been the subject of constant questioning over his future, particularly having scaled down his Pro Tour commitments over the last few years.
However, before his Unibet Masters first-round clash with Michael Smith on Friday evening, ‘The Power’ confirmed to ITV4 that 2017 will be his last full year on the professional circuit and that the 2018 World Championship at the Alexandra Palace will represent the final chapter of his astonishing career.
Taylor told ITV’s Dan Dawson: “2017 is the last year for me. The end of this year will be me done. The next World Championships will be the last one. I’m really looking forward to it. January 2018. That is it. No more.
“I can enjoy my darts more. I am excited. It’s strange. I have butterflies and didn’t have those before. It might do me good. I have new darts for the New Year. I am looking forward to the next 10 months.”
“It’s hard to get motivated and keep up the practice and to dedicate myself week-in, week-out. That is what takes the toll. My body cannot take the toll of 4-5 hours on the practice board anymore. It’s difficult for me. I want to go on holiday and see places I haven’t seen before. Like my own house. I haven’t seen that for months!”
Taylor has achieved unprecedented success throughout his illustrious career, winning over eighty major TV titles and amassing over £7m in ranking prize money. Taylor’s last TV title came at the inaugural Champions League of Darts in September, but his last ranking major came almost three years ago at the 2014 World Matchplay.
The 56-year-old has spoken consistently about his desire to win a seventeenth World Championship crown, but if he remains true to his word about retiring, 2018 will be his final shot at world title glory.
Taylor defeated Michael van Gerwen four years ago to win his sixteenth world title, but since then he’s appeared in just one final, when he was edged out in a deciding set by Gary Anderson in 2015.
The Stoke-on-Trent ace was beaten by his old rival Raymond van Barneveld in the quarter-finals of last month’s World Championship, which saw him drop to a career low of sixth in the world.
Nevertheless, ‘The Power’ kicked off his 2017 season in sumptuous style, with a convincing 10-6 triumph against former World-Youth champion Michael Smith in the first-round of the Unibet Masters. Taylor averaged 104.80, landed five maximums and converted 48% of his double attempts to set up a quarter-final clash with Peter Wright.
Although many darts fans were left shocked by Taylor’s retirement revelation, the 16-time world champion teased that he may still compete in invitational events in the near future, but insisted he would have to speak to PDC Chairman Barry Hearn first.
Taylor added: “The Premier League and World Series tour is what Barry has asked me to consider, so let’s see what happens in January. That’s six, seven or eight months out of the year so it wouldn’t be retiring really.
“I’m okay about it, I’ll always be involved in darts anyway. I’ve had 30 years of being top of the tree. You’ve got Michael van Gerwen who’s going to take over, and embrace him and let him be the new ambassador.”
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC