Three-time world champion John Part has returned to Team Unicorn after a seven-year hiatus, as the Canadian re-joins the biggest name in darts as a player, ambassador and mentor.
‘Darth Maple’ is undoubtedly one of the greatest players to have played the game, having won three World Championship titles- one in the BDO and two in the PDC. His most memorable triumph came in 2003, where he defeated Phil Taylor 7-6 in a gripping World Championship final.
Part also boasts a unique record of having won his World Championship titles at three different venues. His 1994 Lakeside triumph over Bobby George was followed in 2003 by his iconic win over Taylor at the Circus Tavern, before he won the first World Championship staged at the Ally Pally in 2008; beating Kirk Shepherd in the final.
Part’s only other major victory came in the 2006 Las Vegas Desert Classic, where he defeated Raymond van Barneveld in the final. However, the Canadian has also competed in the final of the World Grand Prix, the World Matchplay and the UK Open in a magnificent career spanning three decades.
Part expressed his delight to be teaming up with Unicorn once more, stating: “It’s just great to be back. I always felt very comfortable with Unicorn. A great product range, leaders in their field and they love to innovate. That’s my type of company!”
“I still have a great passion for playing, but the roles of ambassador and mentor appeal to me greatly. Darts is my life and I will be honoured to represent the Unicorn brand, get involved in helping other players and pass on years of experience,” he added.
The 50-year-old has endured a difficult few years on the circuit which saw him lose his PDC Tour Card in the latter stages of 2016. As a result, he was forced to compete at Q-School in January in a bid to regain his card.
However, he sealed his return to the Pro Tour with seven superb victories on a magical day which incredibly culminated with victory over Kirk Shepherd, in a repeat of their 2008 World Championship final clash.
The Toronto ace admitted prevailing at Q-School was vital for his belief. “That was huge for me. A really big boost for my confidence and belief. I know I can still play to a really high standard. I need more days like that. Being back at Unicorn will hopefully help me to make my mark again. It would be great to get back to the World Championship as a player and a commentator!”
Whilst Part maintains he has unfinished business on the PDC circuit, he is also joining Unicorn as both an ambassador and mentor, and his experience will be invaluable for some of the most exciting prospects in world darts.
‘Darth Maple’ insisted: “I feel it is also very important to help other players build for the future. Maybe a kind of calling for me, which is why the new partnership with Unicorn is perfect. But I definitely feel up to the challenge of playing. I am 50 now but there are still possibilities for me on the circuit!”
“I guess I’m the everyman of darts. I’m the guy who’s played everyone. I’m not a superstar, but I hope that I’m what everybody could be. My mentality hasn’t changed. I want to taste those big games and the success that goes with it.
“I love the commentary for Sky Sports. It is great to analyse. I can still be awestruck by watching a game. It doesn’t feel like a job! But I feel I’ve still got a good two or three years as a player to achieve. I’m probably the best pub player in the world to be a three-times World Champion”, Part quipped.
Unicorn Managing Director Edward Lowy is also relishing working with the legendary Canadian for the second time. “We loved working with John, Part 1, as it were, and sharing in his third World Championship win in 2008.”
Mr Lowy added: “JP 2, The Sequel, is going to be blockbusting, barnstorming good fun as we work with John on the oche, the media and use his years of knowledge and experience. Great to have you back JP!”